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Auckland Transport

Free child weekends double patronage on public transport

The number of young Aucklanders using public transport at the weekend has increased by more than 120 per cent since Free Child Weekends fares for under-16s were introduced at the beginning of September.

Auckland Council proposed free weekend fares for children as part of Auckland Council’s 2019/20 Annual Budget, which came into effect on 7 September.

In the three weekends since Auckland Transport started offering free weekend fares, 22,945 children travelled, up from 10,377 in the same period last year.

In total, 65,457 trips were made over the three weekends, an increase of 37 per cent.

Mayor Phil Goff says the increase in children and adults using public transport reflects Aucklanders’ willingness to embrace car-free travel. “Free public transport for under-16s aims to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and use our public transport network, as well as to encourage the next generation of public transport users.”

Colin Homan, Group Manager for Integrated Network Enablement says that Auckland Transport is encouraged by the results and will continue to work to promote the initiative. “In the next year, we estimate that an additional 990,000 trips will be added to our yearly patronage because of Free Child Weekend fares. We’re excited for young Aucklanders to explore their city using buses, trains and ferries.”

Over the last three weekends, AT’s Transport Officers and station teams have also handed out 400 free AT HOP cards to families travelling on paper tickets, to further encourage the Free Child Weekend fares.

This is in addition to the Te Ara Haepapa schools programme, where to date, four Hui’s at schools have been held and approximately 184 of the new Maori designed AT HOP cards have been given out, with 74 (40%) being used for travel already.


  • 22,945 registered child passengers (aged 5-15) who travelled, up from 10,377 in the same period last year (over a 120% increase);
  • 65,457 trips have been made (47,745 in the same period last year) – an increase of 37%.

Read more information on Free child weekend fares.

Read about Te Ara Haepapa.