1.2 million Hop users face penalty fares
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.
Last year there were 1.2 million missing tags, the majority were tag offs.