I think this can only really be described as a bit of an own goal by Auckland Transport.
So you are a regular train user, you’ve seen all of the promotional material about the new AT HOP card that can be used on the trains from 27th October so you go and buy one as soon as they go on sale. As a regular user you even decide to put a monthly pass on it. Like me you you probably find the card very easy to use and welcome train tickets finally being brought out of the stone age and up to a 20th century standard (lets not push for the 21st century just yet). A week after the launch of the card you are meeting some friends in town and decide that you will use PT to get there as it allows you to have a few drinks and not have to worry about driving drunk, so far so good. However due to upgrade works for electrification the network is shut down meaning trains aren’t running on the line you use and rail replacement buses are being run instead. It is at this point things start to become unstuck leaving you frustrated and shaking your head at AT.
You see it isn’t that the network is shut down or that you have to catch a rail bus that is the problem (although they often aren’t a great experience due to them taking an incredibly indirect route to keep next to the rail line). It is this sign that current can be found on rail platforms and on the trains themselves.
You can just see it at the bottom so here it is a bit closer.
So after just rolling out the new AT HOP cards, people can’t use them on the service that is put in to replace the train that would normally run. This means that essentially your monthly pass or even the HOP money you just loaded on the card is is completely invalid and you need to purchase a full priced fare. I guess you could walk to the station ticket machine first to buy a paper ticket and while that might not sound too bad but the reality is not all bus stops are located close to rail stations. Here is my local station. It is a roughly 330m walk from the location of the ticket machine to the citybound bus stop, that is quite detour if you are coming from north of the station.
I do realise that HOP hasn’t been rolled out to buses yet but seriously having people with valid tickets (as in the case of monthlies) having to pay an additional cash fare is ridiculous. Come on AT, you need to do better than this, these two weekends won’t be the only network shut down between now and when the system rolls out to buses. A backup process is something you should already have nailed down. I know that if I need to travel on that weekend, I definitely won’t be considering the train bus.