I read the herald article today regarding the penalty charge for users of te "HOP" card that do not tag off the bus.
I guess that this functionality is to solve the problem of bus users paying for one stage and taking a 4 stage ride.
I do not know how prevalent this problem is (although some simple statistics of what percentage of North Shore to City commuter’s bus passengers have a ticket for less than 3 stages would give an idea of the potential)
Of course, a significant percent of each passengers fare is covered by government subsidy in any case.
I am all for a solution to the problem of fraud but I do have a number of other issues listed below.
1. If an honest commuter forgets to tag off (or the tag is not successful) then that commuter is charged a penalty which may double the cost of commuting.
2. People trying to get back onto a bus to tag off causes a danger to themselves.
3. Tagging off slows the flow of passengers from the bus.
People concerned by the above may choose to pay cash. This has the effect of:
1. Not being able to catch fraud as was the goal above.
2. Slowing entrance onto the bus as cash payment is slower.
3. Make commuting by bus less convenient
In addition there is a macro Economic view.
The biggest issue related to Auckland transportation in my opinion is the congestion of our roads.
A very successful way of reducing traffic congestion is to promote public transport.
The primary obstructions that I see to increased public transport are:
1. Lack of park and ride parking spaces. (Particularly in relation to the Northern busway.)
2. Cost of bus tickets versus vehicle running costs.
3. Bus atmosphere
4. Commute time (affected by the time taken to get on and off.)
(The move to tagging off may be working against this)
Are we focussed on the right issue with Tag Off?