1.2 mil­lion Hop users face penalty fares

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ANUJA NADKARNI

An Auck­land man who was over­charged for an er­ror on his Auck­land Trans­port Hop card says it could in­di­cate a glitch in the sys­tem.

Of the 90 mil­lion ferry, train and bus trips last year, nearly 1.2 mil­lion Hop card trips ended with pas­sen­gers be­ing charged penalty fares for not tag­ging off.

The man, who asked not to be named, was charged the $4.85 penalty fee when the sys­tem failed to recog­nise he had al­ready tagged off.

Af­ter strug­gling to get Auck­land Trans­port (AT) to re­fund the fare, the dis­grun­tled cus­tomer filed an Of­fi­cial Information Act re­quest ask­ing how many more peo­ple might have suf­fered a sim­i­lar un­earned penalty.

AT told him there had been 1,188,610 missed tags, three quar­ters of which were tag-offs.

The max­i­mum charge on the Hop card is $7.50.

The pub­lic trans­port agency said its data did not show how many of the missed tags were on pur­pose or by mis­take.

‘‘Ini­tially [AT] re­fused to re­fund the $4.85 to my Hop card un­til I reg­is­tered the card.

‘‘AT fi­nally agreed to re­fund the amount at one of their kiosks in per­son, but not un­til I had pro­vided my driv­ers li­cense as ID. I can walk into any other re­tailer or ser­vice provider and ex­pect a re­fund on a wrongly billed item sim­ply with proof of pur­chase. I have never once been re­quired to pro­vide ID.’’

When mak­ing re­funds, AT does in­clude the in­ter­est that users’ bal­ances ac­crue in re­funds.

Ear­lier this week AT came un­der fire for its 60-day rule that ze­roes the bal­ance on a card if it has not been used within six weeks since be­ing topped up on­line. The 60-day rule has ex­isted since the in­tro­duc­tion of the Hop sys­tem in 2012.

Last year $342,000 was wiped from Hop cards.

The agency’s spokesman said that it would make the word­ing of the 60-day rule clearer but it was not go­ing to change it for the time be­ing.

But he said in the fu­ture it would adopt Lon­don’s pub­lic trans­port method that lets users pay di­rectly with their credit cards.

There are over one mil­lion Auck­land Trans­port Hop cards in cir­cu­la­tion, with peo­ple able to use them to pay for all forms of Auck­land trans­port - ferry, trains and bus.

PHIL DOYLE/STUFF

Last year there were 1.2 mil­lion miss­ing tags, the ma­jor­ity were tag offs.

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