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Auckland Transport

What is an AT HOP card & how it works What is an AT HOP card & how it works

AT HOP card (what it is)

An AT HOP card is a reusable prepay smart card for travel on trains, ferries and buses around Auckland. Top up your card before travel and tag on and off an AT service to pay for your fare.


Benefits of an AT HOP card

It’s cheaper & faster than cash fares

Due to Covid-19 safety, cash fares are not being accepted on AT buses. You must use an AT HOP card for payment and to help with contact tracing.

Using an AT HOP card to travel provides at least a 20% discount on every single trip compared to paying cash for bus, train and ferry fares (excludes SkyBus and Waiheke ferry services).

AT HOP cards also provide an integrated fare, meaning you can transfer between AT buses, trains and ferries and pay just one fare for numerous zones you travel. Learn more about integrated fares.

Boarding is a lot faster using your AT HOP card compared to cash tickets as there is no need to queue at a Customer Service Centre, ticket machines or when boarding a bus to purchase a ticket – just tag on and off and your fare is automatically calculated and deducted from your card balance.

You can apply for concessions & discounts

You may be eligible for further discounted travel on trains, selected buses and ferries. Learn more about concessions.

You can manage your travel online

If you register your AT HOP card to your MyAT account you’ll see further benefits, including:

Find out where to buy and top up an AT HOP card.


How the AT HOP card system works

Your AT HOP card is not connected to the internet and information, such as your HOP balance and concession status, is stored on the physical card itself rather than online. This means that the card must be tagged onto HOP equipment, such as an AT HOP card reader for the card information to update.

Online transactions

Online transactions will not be instantly available for you to use. After submitting your transaction, you’ll need to wait for the transaction to be sent to AT HOP equipment, and then collect the transaction by tagging on.

Here's an example of topping up your AT HOP card online

  1. After topping up your card online, it will show pending in MyAT and the AT Mobile app. 
  2. Your top-up will be sent out to AT HOP equipment ready to be collected the next time you tag on.
    • AT HOP readers on buses are not connected to the internet, so they will download your transaction the next time the bus is at the depot. In most cases, if you submit your top-up before midnight on any day, this will be downloaded by the bus when they visit the depot overnight. It may take up to 72 hours if the bus didn’t go back to the depot or failed to download the latest update. We're working on connecting buses to the internet to make this much quicker in the future (as quick as trains and ferries). 
    • AT HOP readers or electronic gates at train stations and ferry terminals are connected to the internet, so they will download your top-up within 1 hour.
  3. When you next tag on with your card at an AT HOP reader or go through the electronic gates your card will collect your top-up.
  4. In MyAT and the AT Mobile app, the top-up is removed from pending and will be added to your card balance.

Online transaction expiry

Online transactions sit in an action list waiting (i.e. pending) for you to tag on to collect. To keep the action list manageable, online transactions expire after 60 days but if you give us a call we can reactivate it.

If your online top-up expires before you can collect it, your payment will be reversed in your bank account.

Retailer, Customer Service Centre and ticketing machine transactions

Our AT HOP retailers, Customer Service Centres and ticketing machines have the right equipment to apply transactions, such as top-ups, directly to your card so it’s available for you to use immediately.


AT HOP card balances

Because your card is not connected to the internet, viewing your balance online may not include your latest trips or top-ups.

Online Top-Ups

When you top up online, your top-up will show as pending in your MyAT and the AT Mobile app until you tag on to HOP equipment, such as an AT HOP card reader or electronic gate to collect your top-up. You’ll need to wait for the HOP equipment to download your top-up before you can collect it:

  • AT HOP readers on buses are not connected to the internet, so they will download your transaction the next time the bus is at the depot
    In most cases, if you submit your online transaction before midnight on any day, this will be downloaded by the bus when they visit the depot overnight. In some cases, it may take up to 72 hours if the bus didn’t go back to the depot or failed to download the latest update.
  • AT HOP readers or electronic gates at train stations and ferry terminals are connected to the internet, so they will download your online transaction within 1 hour.

Negative card balances

If your HOP money balance falls below zero into a negative balance, your card, including any monthly or day pass loaded on the card will not work. You will need to clear the negative balance by topping up your card.


Using an AT HOP card

Your AT HOP card must be kept separate from your other cards as the Near Field technology might communicate with the other cards and hamper your HOP card. It is best to remove your AT HOP card from your bag or wallet so your other cards won’t interfere when tagging on or off.

It's tap and go, not pay wave - hold the card flat and still in front of the reader for a second, rather than swipe or wave across the front. Find out more about how to tag on and tag off.


How long your credit lasts

Your AT HOP card will expire, and the HOP money will be forfeit if the card has not been used for a continuous period of six years. In this instance, you will need to purchase another AT HOP card and contact us to put the HOP money onto the new card.


Protecting your card balance

By registering your AT HOP card if it is ever lost or stolen, your balance is protected within 24 hours of its loss being reported to us and your balance can be transferred to a new card.

There are no refunds or balance transfers available on a card that has not been registered.


Terms of use of the AT HOP cards are available here.