This post is both a bit of a bouquet and a brickbat. Auckland Transport appears to have quietly introduced some new rail monthly passes that will come into effect as HOP rolls out later this Saturday. The positive thing is that they finally acknowledge that not everyone travels to Britomart so gives people more options, the problem though is the pricing doesn’t seem to provide a lot of value in many situations and the graphics on the sign can be a little confusing. First though, here are the current monthly pass options:
Here are the signs that are now adorning the top up machines on platforms:
As mentioned it is good to see the additional zones added in but my concern is that they aren’t really priced correctly. Take the western line for example, the vast majority of people going to New Lynn from the west will likely be getting on between Swanson and Fruitvale Rd as not that many people use Waitakere station at all. For them it is either a one or two stage trip that with HOP money will cost either $1.62 or $3.06. That means to get any value out of it you will have to take quite a few trips each month, the numbers of how many are below:
Most months have between 20 and 22 working days in them so even if you lived in say Swanson, you would pretty much need to catch the train every single working day just for the pass to be worthwhile. If you happened to be sick and not go to work for one day then it might actually work out more expensive for you. If you live only one stage away, like at say Henderson, then even two train trips per day including the weekends would still work out more expensive.
So all up I do like the idea of new monthly passes for other parts of the network but perhaps AT need to do a little work on the pricing to actually make them an attractive or even practical option as at this stage I can’t see anyone realistically buying some of them.