For a number of months earlier this year the Auckland Transport Board Reports included the following lines.
Testing of a new AT HOP Day Pass is underway for targeted introduction by April 2014 across bus, rail and ferry. The pass will offer greater flexibility through three separate geographic zones compared with the existing and to be withdrawn paper Discovery Day Pass
Testing of a new AT HOP Day Pass is underway for targeted introduction by May 2014 across bus, rail and ferry. The pass will offer greater flexibility through three separate geographic zones compared with the existing and to be withdrawn paper Discovery Day Pass. Existing Discovery Day Pass will remain in market until at least 31st May, to ensure customers still have access to multi-modal travel product
April and May came and went with no sign of a daily pass and in the May meeting the references to it disappeared completely. Reader Nigel Jones decided to try and find out what had happened with the day pass so lodged an LGOIMA request with AT to find out. He’s now had the results back and has written about it here. This post will be largely based on his post.
As part of their response to Nigel, Auckland Transport have confirmed the primary issue has been related to technical issues
However going through the responses Nigel found more detailed information on the issues AT were having. These include:
- Machines having taking up to 10 seconds to read the cards.
- Issues with apportioning revenue to operators – a great example of why we need to get the new PTOM contracts rolled out so AT don’t have to worry about this stuff.
- Inconsistent treatment of how the passes are sold depending on the channel
- Trouble with purchasing different zone products on the same card- i.e. if you have a monthly pass for one zone but want a daily pass for travel to another zone it won’t work on the same card
Some potential mitigation options for the issues were listed as
- Delay the daily pass implementation – something that had had already been done twice
- Reduce the number of pass options from 6 originally proposed.
- Setting up different processes to account for the apportionment issue.
- Accept the limitations and try to explain them in the comms process.
All up it seems like a pretty messy affair although one not all uncommon with technology development. However I can’t help but think the whole thing is something that they should have been on to much much sooner. I’m also concerned that are implementing a daily pass option which is something you have to know you want to purchase at the start of the day rather than developing a more customer friendly daily cap which effectively allows for free travel after you’ve spent a certain amount.
AT’s most recent board report states that the pass will be available in July/August and I understand the official roll out date will be 1st July with RadioNZ reporting passes will cost between $16 and $22