One Warkworth will cease to offer HOP card and Gold HOP card services at the Warkworth Information Centre, after failing to secure more money from Auckland Transport (AT) to pay for them.
One Warkworth chair Mark Macky says One Warkworth has been providing the services on behalf of Auckland Transport for the last two years at a cost of thousands of dollars, which the organisation can no longer afford to absorb.
The HOP card is a reusable prepay smart card for travel on trains, ferries and buses around Auckland. A Gold HOP card provides concessions for senior citizens.
Mr Macky says repeated efforts by One Warkworth to get financial support from AT to provide these services have been rejected, and the Warkworth Information Centre will stop providing them from December 31.
After December 31, the closest place people in Warkworth can physically purchase HOP and Gold HOP cards is Orewa. New Gold HOP cards will need to be registered in Albany.
Mr Macky says One Warkworth had been optimistic that AT would see the importance of financially supporting the services, but it received correspondence on December 7 saying that a “funding model for a provider like the Warkworth Information Centre was not possible”.
Mr Macky says with buses no longer accepting cash fares, this outcome is “hugely disappointing”.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause the local community, but we have exhausted our reserves,” he says.
One Warkworth believes that the Warkworth Information Centre is the only outlet in Auckland providing Gold card services without paid AT staff doing the work. It is also the last seller of HOP cards in the Mahurangi area.
AT spokesperson Mark Hannan says AT pays One Warkworth for the HOP services it provides, but cannot meet its request for more money.
“We have been trying to find a solution with One Warkworth for more than a year, but budgets are tight. We can only offer them the same contract as other HOP providers,” he says.
He added that AT was working on other solutions to provide HOP services to the Warkworth community.
“We are hoping to have something sorted in the next few weeks.”
Online purchasing and top-up of HOP cards remains unchanged. Online purchases take about 10 working days to process and mail out. Online top-ups can take up to 72 hours to be credited to a HOP card.