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Auckland Transport

Simpler Fares

To support the new, more connected public transport network being rolled out across Auckland, we redesigned the fare stage system and introduced a simpler fare system.

A new simpler fares system started for all bus and train services (excludes SkyBus services) on 14 August 2016.


Project status: Implemented 
Project zone: Auckland public transport network


Project background

In the past we were told the current stage based system is difficult to understand and there are inconsistent fares for similar trips including relatively high fares for longer distances. 

Simpler Fares is also included as a proposed variation to Auckland’s Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP)


Summary of feedback

The public consultation for “Simplified Zone Fares” (now called “Simpler Fares”) was undertaken from 11 May 2015 to 5 June 2015. The purpose of this consultation was to:

  • Inform people of the changes.
  • Consult to fine tune zone boundaries and fare products.
  • To encourage participation in the consultation.

The key aspects included in this consultation were:

  • The new zonal map.
  • The journey concept (3 trips within 2 hours).
  • Proposed zonal fares (a range of fares).
  • Proposed zonal products.

Responses and key themes

1,563 responses were received during the consultation period. The key themes in the responses were as follows:

Proposed zones (map)

  • General consensus for the proposed zones.
  • Good to have flexibility between bus and train.
  • Zones are geographically logical.
  • Concerns with travelling between 2 zones when only a short distance is travelled.

Proposed products

  • Easier to anticipate costs.
  • Support for the family offering.
  • Concerns over removal of single zone monthly passes.
  • Concerns over increasing fares.
  • Concerns of customers who travel more than 2 hours or more than 3 trips as part of their journey.

Analysis completed

After the consultation a substantial amount of analysis was completed of a range of options to mitigate concerns raised by customers during the consultation. This included:

  • Identification of options to address each concern
  • Review of the technical capability of AT’s systems to handle proposed changes
  • Modelling fare revenue and patronage impacts of potential changes

Changes made as a result of the consultation

AT has made a number of key changes to the Simpler Fares solution as a result of the public consultation as follows:

  • Zone overlaps have been increased to minimise the number of customers that will have a fare increase from their current fare. Overlaps were increased for the following boundaries:
    • Upper / Lower North Shore
    • Waitakere / Huapai
    • Isthmus / Manukau North at Otahuhu
    • Manukau North / Manukau South
  • Journey time increased from 2 hours to 4 hours to ensure customers who travel longer journeys are not penalised
  • Number of trips within a journey increased from 3 to 5 to ensure customers who take multiple services as part of their journey are not penalised
  • Fares chosen near the bottom of the consulted range to ensure the majority of AT HOP customers will have either the same or cheaper fare under Simpler Fares

Items not changed as a result of public consultation

Based on analysis of options, a number of concerns raised by customers were not addressed as follows:

Concern - Removal of single zone monthly pass

  • Under the new zonal fares most passengers purchasing a single zone pass will pay a 2-zone fare ($3.10) and would have to do more than 45 journeys a month to spend $140.
  • Recommendation for most passengers – use AT HOP money instead of having to buy a monthly pass. Benefit from auto top-up without ever having to buy a pass.

Concern - Not enough time between each trip in your journey (30 mins)

  • Based on our analysis, 30 mins should be adequate for majority of passengers to benefit from the journey fare.
  • After launching Simpler Fares, Auckland Transport will monitor this.

Concern - Short trips across zone boundaries

  • Main focus is simplicity. Would be complex to combine short trip and zonal fares.
  • Zone boundaries mainly aligned to stage boundaries, so existing passengers will pay the same fare (2 stage the same as 2 zone fare). Existing passengers are not penalised by the zone boundary.

Concern - Why not use distance-based fares

  • Distance based fares does not work well for cash fares.
  • Passengers won’t be able to work out fares in advance – a barrier to new passengers coming to public transport.

For more information

Contact Auckland Transport