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Getting started with AT HOP

An AT HOP card is a smart card you can add money to, so you can pay for bus, train or ferry fares in Auckland. Top up your card before you travel, then tag on and off our public transport services to pay as you go.

You need an AT HOP card to travel on buses — cash is not accepted. You can use cash to buy a paper ticket for train or ferry travel from a vending machine at the station or terminal.

Benefits of using AT HOP

  • Get at least 20% off every single trip, compared to paying cash for train and ferry fares.
  • Easily transfer between bus, train and ferry services.
  • Pay just one fare as you travel between zones.
  • Load applicable concessions on your card for further travel discounts.
A public transport user is on a bus shown to hold their AT Hop card against the onboard card reader to tag off or on.

Tagging on and tagging off

Use the card reader on buses, at train stations and at ferry wharves to tag on and off when you travel. That way, we’ll charge you the correct fare. 

  1. To tag on, hold your AT HOP card flat against the card reader.
  2. Wait for the beep and a green light, then you’re ready to go.
    • 2 beeps plus a green and amber light means you are travelling on a concession fare.
    • 3 beeps plus a green light means your HOP card is not registered.
  3. When you’ve completed your journey, tag off by holding your card against the reader as you exit the bus, train station, or ferry terminal.

Your AT HOP card may be checked once you are on board the train, ferry or bus.

If you change your mind and decide not to board the service, just tag off within 20 minutes and you won’t be charged for the trip.

If you forget to tag on or off

If you forget to tag on or tag off, you will be charged the default fare, which will be automatically deducted next time you tag on.

If this default fare puts your card balance below $0, you will be unable to tag on until you top up your AT HOP card.

If you are unable to tag on or tag off

If your card isn’t allowing you to tag on or tag off, it could be one of the following:

  • Your card has a negative balance: You must top up your card before tagging on again.
  • Incorrect tag-on: You may have tagged on at the wrong reader or withdrawn your card too quickly. If there’s no beep and green light, please try again.
  • Device error or faulty card: You’ll need to visit an AT customer service centre, where your card will be examined and replaced free of charge if there’s a technical fault.
  • Fraudulent use: If we detect fare evasion or fraudulent behaviour, we may cancel your card. If your card is registered, we will try to contact you first.

Note: Even if your HOP card isn’t working, you must still have a valid ticket for travel. You can buy a paper ticket from a ticket office, vending machine or bus driver. 

Paying for someone else

If you’re travelling on a train or bus with someone who doesn’t have a HOP card, you can use your HOP credit to buy a paper ticket for them. Full cash fares apply.

  • To pay for more than one person, simply tag on as usual, then ask the bus driver to charge your HOP card for each passenger.
  • To pay for more than one person on the train, use your HOP card to buy a paper ticket from a vending machine.

Lending your card to others

You can only lend your HOP card to someone else if:

  • it does not have discount concessions loaded
  • it is not a gold AT HOP card.

How much you pay with AT HOP

To find out how much it costs to travel with a HOP card, visit Fare zones & calculating how much you pay.

If you think you’ve been charged an incorrect fare, you can query your transaction

How much the default fare is

The default fare may be more expensive than your normal fare.

For the train or bus, the default fare is equivalent to 3 zones on your card, including any discounts or concessions you may have.

The default ferry fare is equivalent to the highest fare for any service that leaves through your tag-on point. 

Find out about fares for bus, train and ferry.

If we detect fare evasion or fraudulent behaviour, we may cancel your card. If your card is registered, we will try to contact you to discuss the problem.

Journeys will appear in your transaction history as:

Missing tag-off - The card was tagged on but not tagged off.

Missing tag-on - The card was tagged off but not tagged on.

Other ways to pay for public transport 

Pre-purchased tickets

You can pay for the train or ferry with cash, but you must have a valid pre-purchased ticket before boarding. Remember, you cannot pay for the bus with cash. 

You can purchase single-trip paper tickets from the ticket and top-up machines or Customer service centre at all stations and terminals before boarding the bus, train or ferry.

Contactless payments

We are investing in technology that will allow customers to pay for public transport with a credit, debit or digital card later in 2024.

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