Zoning system ‘simpler’
TRAVEL zones are set to replace stages on Auckland buses and trains in a move to simplify the system and encourage people to pay by AT HOP card.
The majority of card users will pay less or the same amount for their travel under the new Simplified Zone Fare system, AT Metro general manager Mark Lambert says.
‘‘Ninety-six per cent of all AT HOP card users will have either the same fare to pay, even though they are potentially taking different modes, or they will have a fare reduction.’’
The current system is too complicated and in some cases results in different fares for similar trips, he says.
‘‘What we’re proposing is you can travel through any number of zones using up to three bus or train trips to complete your journey and you’ll only be charged the one fare. Some big winners will be people travelling across the isthmus, he says.
For example, the 007 bus service from Pt Chevalier to Glen Innes is proposed to fall within a single zone.
‘‘When you travel across the city, but maybe don’t go through the inner city where there’s higher congestion, we think you should pay less.’’
But because of a current anomaly, Orakei train users will see their fares go up.
The one-stage train trip currently costs $1.70 from Orakei Station to Britomart. The bus trip, which is two stages, costs $3.
Under the proposed system, Orakei will fall within the boundaries of a two-zone fare, which is priced between $3 and $3.30.
That disadvantages users going north to the city but people travelling south between Orakei and Otahuhu will benefit from travelling within just one zone.
The price difference between paying in cash and by card will also increase.
At the moment using the AT HOP card is 20 to 25 per cent cheaper. Under the new system there will be a discount of up to 33 percent.
The goal is to get as many people using the AT HOP card as possible, Lambert says.
‘‘It certainly reduces the dwell time for buses if people are simply swiping their card as opposed to rustling around trying to find cash.’’
A single all-day pass for all zones will cost $18 and a monthly pass will be from $200 to $210.
Phase two of the proposal will look at introducing an AT HOP card daily spend cap and potentially moving towards a cashless bus sys- tem, Lambert says.
Puketapapa Local Board member David Holm said last year that an exact change or cashless system would disadvantage some members of the community ( Central Leader, October 17).
He is pleased the proposal has been put on hold and, if implemented, won’t come into effect until at least 2016.
‘‘People should be able to catch a bus and use cash.
‘‘We can make exceptions for things like express buses because people are in a real hurry at the peak hour.’’
People with limited English language skills would find the card system confusing and school students can’t top up easily, Holm says.
‘‘Our board has suggested that one of the big campuses, like the Mt Roskill campus, which services primary, intermediate and secondary schools, might be a good place to put an outlet,’’ he says.
The proposed Simplified Zone Fare system is out for public consultation until June 5 and is expected to be implemented in mid-2016.
Meadowbank train station.