I have having a discussion on Twitter with Snapper’s CEO, Miki Szikszai, regarding Auckland’s HOP card. A comment that came out of this conversation is somewhat confusing, and really does worry me slightly.
Below is the conversation had. For your reference, @googleismygf is me, @TeamSnapper is Snapper’s official Twitter feed, @_HOP is the HOP card’s official Twitter feed and @mikiszikszai is the Snapper CEO. Click on the name to go to the actual tweet, assuming Mr Szikszai doesn’t delete any of these tweets.
Me: Seriously, I am really looking forward to having a real @_HOP card, rather than the @TeamSnapper rubbish we’ve got right now…
Miki: @googleismygf@TeamSnapper what’s the problem? We are happy to help
Me: @mikiszikszai@TeamSnapper No problem. I just think it’s just stupid that they’re saying we have integrated ticketing when really we don’t
Miki: @googleismygf@TeamSnapper I hear you. Rail, ferry and other bus integration is on the plan. Lots of moving parts to corral
Me: @mikiszikszai@TeamSnapper But let’s be honest, @_HOP right now is just a Go Rider card, not the beginning of integrated ticketing at all.
Miki: @googleismygf@TeamSnapper@_Hop I disagree (naturally!) but would love to know what you think is the beginning of integrated ticketing
Me: @mikiszikszai@TeamSnapper@_Hop As you would haha. Once we get the actual HOP card (the Thales one), that will be the start. What we have..
Me: @mikiszikszai@TeamSnapper@_Hop ..right now is a different card, branded as HOP because Auckland Transport got scared.
Miki: @googleismygf@TeamSnapper We see it differently. The combination of Snapper, Thales and AT ultimately gives AK more than one on its own
Me: @mikiszikszai@TeamSnapper To me, all it does is confuses people. If there’s more than one HOP card, but one is for all services and…
Me: @mikiszikszai@TeamSnapper …another for all services, we have a situation designed to confuse people.
Miki: @googleismygf@TeamSnapper our joint goal is for a product that supports all services.
Me: @mikiszikszai@TeamSnapper No, Auckland Transport’s goal is. Snapper isn’t going to be involved with a product for all services, only NZ Bus
Miki: @googleismygf@TeamSnapper I can assure you that Snapper is
Me: @mikiszikszai@TeamSnapper So Auckland Transport has changed it’s mind on using the Thales card over the Snapper card?
Miki: @googleismygf@TeamSnapper Think of this as “and” as opposed to “or” Too early for anything more specific
Me: @mikiszikszai@TeamSnapper I must say, that’s worries me more than it assures me…..
Mr Szikszai’s last tweet there does worry me a bit. It is highly cryptic, which I am not blaming him for – there are probably contracts and embargoes involved, so he can’t say anything more than he has. But there is a couple options as to what that could mean…
- The Snapper HOP is going to be able to be used on all services as well as the Thales HOP.
- The final HOP card will contain technology from both Snapper and Thales.
- This is just a bluff to make us think the Snapper HOP is worth more than it is.
I don’t see the first one there being likely. I do not see Auckland Transport wanting to get involved with two products.
The second option is the one that I fear the most. If Auckland Transport puts Snapper and Thales technology into the final HOP card, that would most likely mean that you have one card that you top up with Snapper credit for NZ Bus services and Thales credit for all other services. Unfortunately, this is what I believe is going to happen, and I believe it is a decision that has just been made recently. The reason I say this is the HOP Timeline
has now changed. Originally, there were three stages to the HOP timeline. The first stage was what we now have. The second stage was the new Thales HOP card being used on trains, some ferries and NZ Bus services, which would occur in Quarter 3 this year (before the Rugby World Cup). The third stage was all services using the Thales HOP card which would occur Quarter 2 2012. Now, it seems nothing more will be done before the Rugby World Cup, and the final card involves Auckland Transport, Thales and Snapper.
The third option is a possibility, however given the changes to the HOP website, I would suggest it’s not.
I will be contacting relevant Ministers, Councilors and people from Auckland Transport, as well as attempting to speak to the Prime Minister about this. I’ll update you when I know more.