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Topic # 228936 31-Jan-2018 07:25
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Seems incredibly frustrating to me - trying to manage linked kids cards. One lost his card and another started using the bus yesterday. So two new cards. Topped them up two days ago but still shows as 'pending transactions' and zero balance.

 

Try to transfer the balance of the lost card to the new card? Won't work online. Half an hour on the phone yesterday (so that's personally cost me about $75 in lost billable time) and still can't get that done.

 

Countless millions of Auckland ratepayer money has gone into this turkey and it's still utterly hopeless.


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  Reply # 1948955 31-Jan-2018 07:34
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It's not just Auckland ratepayers money. The rest of NZ contributed significantly more by way of NZTA as the NZTA control public transport ticketing.

 

 


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  Reply # 1948956 31-Jan-2018 07:41
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Yes the AT Hop system is screwed ,my partner lost her Hop card ,she can't transfer the remaining money onto my card.She has to buy another card and then put the money on that,it's basically theft.I had a verbal argument on the phone concerning my top up not showing available for over 72 hours.I wish I could use stronger language than what I have.Good luck in dealing with AT Hop my sympathy is with you.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1948962 31-Jan-2018 07:56
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Ive complained to AT multiple times about issues with their site/system but they don't care.

 

My main issues are :

 

* Put credit on account - it vanishes and takes them almost a week to track it down even with transaction details

 

* Card readers dont always work - multiple times where its beeped and gone green yet not recorded it, so I get pinged.

 

* Takes up to 72 hours for credit/pass to appear on card - yet takes them 72ms to take money off you.

 

* End up stranded because the driver input the wrong route number and it chews up all your credit. (Cost me $8 once for a 2km trip)

 

* Staff at stations cant do anything to assist when the above happens. "Sorry, go top up again" - bit hard to do when you dont have any EFTPOS or cash on you.

 

I could probably go on and on but wont mean stuff all at the end of the day.......   





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  Reply # 1949020 31-Jan-2018 08:20
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At the end of the day offering online top-ups is a big issue no matter where in the world you are. It's the reason many public transport systems around the world don't offer it, and even on some big networks (Oyster in London being a classic example) you can only use online topups for travel on trains and you have to nominate a station where you will use your card to have the top-up applied to your balance. The best way to apply credit to any prepaid card is to physically load this at a store.

 

Systems like Snapper get around this buy allowing you to top-up your card using an Android NFC phone so the balance is applied immediately to the card.

 

 


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  Reply # 1949021 31-Jan-2018 08:20
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Agree AT hop real time billing platform is a national joke of how not to setup a system

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  Reply # 1949026 31-Jan-2018 08:31
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sbiddle:

 

At the end of the day offering online top-ups is a big issue no matter where in the world you are. It's the reason many public transport systems around the world don't offer it, and even on some big networks (Oyster in London being a classic example) you can only use online topups for travel on trains and you have to nominate a station where you will use your card to have the top-up applied to your balance. The best way to apply credit to any prepaid card is to physically load this at a store.

 

Systems like Snapper get around this buy allowing you to top-up your card using an Android NFC phone so the balance is applied immediately to the card.

 

 

Why is this a problem? Online top-ups and payments elsewhere are instant. If you can NFC topup the card does that mean it's a stored balance 'smart' card? If so, then how does the card balance turn up by itself after 72 hours?

 

On ST's website they claim "If you top up your card online before 10pm on any day, in approximately 98% of cases, that top up will be ready for you to use the next day when you tag on. ". Does that mean the card reader in the bus updates the stored value on the card and that even though the online system says you have no balance, the bus has a system that knows you have a balance?

 

What a piece of cr*p solution.

 

 


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  Reply # 1949028 31-Jan-2018 08:41
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kryptonjohn:

 

sbiddle:

 

At the end of the day offering online top-ups is a big issue no matter where in the world you are. It's the reason many public transport systems around the world don't offer it, and even on some big networks (Oyster in London being a classic example) you can only use online topups for travel on trains and you have to nominate a station where you will use your card to have the top-up applied to your balance. The best way to apply credit to any prepaid card is to physically load this at a store.

 

Systems like Snapper get around this buy allowing you to top-up your card using an Android NFC phone so the balance is applied immediately to the card.

 

 

Why is this a problem? Online top-ups and payments elsewhere are instant. If you can NFC topup the card does that mean it's a stored balance 'smart' card? If so, then how does the card balance turn up by itself after 72 hours?

 

On ST's website they claim "If you top up your card online before 10pm on any day, in approximately 98% of cases, that top up will be ready for you to use the next day when you tag on. ". Does that mean the card reader in the bus updates the stored value on the card and that even though the online system says you have no balance, the bus has a system that knows you have a balance?

 

What a piece of cr*p solution.

 

 

 

 

Yes, value is stored on the cards. The machines on the bus receive the message from the web service that your card needs to be topped up next time its touched on. For some reason the communication systems on these systems are soooo slow. so it takes a while before that message actually gets there. Consequently, when the machine reads the card balance, it will send it back to the web service so you can see your balance online. Hopefully they have a system for detecting unexpected balances




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  Reply # 1949029 31-Jan-2018 08:52
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Ok, given that the card itself will get updated when used, I still can't see why the AT website doesn't display your topped up balance immediately. It doesn't matter if the card doesn't have the balance. It will get updated when used next so they should show the balance on the website, shouldn't they? 


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Reply # 1949030 31-Jan-2018 08:55
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kryptonjohn:

 

Ok, given that the card itself will get updated when used, I still can't see why the AT website doesn't display your topped up balance immediately. It doesn't matter if the card doesn't have the balance. It will get updated when used next so they should show the balance on the website, shouldn't they? 

 

 

You would think so

 

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  Reply # 1949033 31-Jan-2018 09:06
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kryptonjohn:

 

Ok, given that the card itself will get updated when used, I still can't see why the AT website doesn't display your topped up balance immediately. It doesn't matter if the card doesn't have the balance. It will get updated when used next so they should show the balance on the website, shouldn't they? 

 

 

Im guessing the machine only syncs with the servers at certain times


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  Reply # 1949038 31-Jan-2018 09:23
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kryptonjohn:

 

sbiddle:

 

At the end of the day offering online top-ups is a big issue no matter where in the world you are. It's the reason many public transport systems around the world don't offer it, and even on some big networks (Oyster in London being a classic example) you can only use online topups for travel on trains and you have to nominate a station where you will use your card to have the top-up applied to your balance. The best way to apply credit to any prepaid card is to physically load this at a store.

 

Systems like Snapper get around this buy allowing you to top-up your card using an Android NFC phone so the balance is applied immediately to the card.

 

 

Why is this a problem? Online top-ups and payments elsewhere are instant. If you can NFC topup the card does that mean it's a stored balance 'smart' card? If so, then how does the card balance turn up by itself after 72 hours?

 

On ST's website they claim "If you top up your card online before 10pm on any day, in approximately 98% of cases, that top up will be ready for you to use the next day when you tag on. ". Does that mean the card reader in the bus updates the stored value on the card and that even though the online system says you have no balance, the bus has a system that knows you have a balance?

 

What a piece of cr*p solution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mind telling me where else in the world online payments are instant? I don't think you understand how the system works based on the rest of your comments.

 

The card balance is stored on the card. it's a prepaid stored value card and this is how every prepaid public transport ticketing solution using stored cards in the world works.

 

To top up the card online requires the  transaction to be downloaded to the card at the bus and/or station readers and the new balance is applied when the card is used for the first time. Once again this is how every prepaid stored value public transport solution in the world that offers online top-ups worked, and as I've already explained above many large such systems with Oyster being the classic example will only allow this to occur at a train station where there is fixed connectivity as mobile connectivity to thousands of buses isn't possible. If you think 3G/4G to thousands of buses and trams is easy you can try asking both Sydney and Melbourne who thought it was easy (hint it isn't).

 

In Auckland card top-ups are downloaded to the buses via WiFi overnight when they return to the depot. If this process fails or a bus doesn't return to the depot and the data can't be downloaded then an online top-up can't be applied on that bus.

 

Cr*p solution? It's how every such system in the world works. If you think you have a better solution there are potentially some pretty significant (we're potentially talking billions) of dollars up for grabs to deliver your solution so I suggest you start working on it now!

 

 


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  Reply # 1949045 31-Jan-2018 09:25
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kryptonjohn:

 

Ok, given that the card itself will get updated when used, I still can't see why the AT website doesn't display your topped up balance immediately. It doesn't matter if the card doesn't have the balance. It will get updated when used next so they should show the balance on the website, shouldn't they? 

 

 

You clearly missed the huge story last year about online top-ups and credit not being returned when people didn't tag on to apply it? This is a system change as a result of that.

 

The updated balance should not show on the AT HOP site until the top-up is applied to the card because it's not the balance of the card at that point in time. The old way it worked (showing the balance immediately) was one of people's biggest issues with the system as they didn't understand how it worked.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1949077 31-Jan-2018 09:45
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The website only updated the value when you tag on next and the reader updates the card.

 

Otherwise the payment sits in their pending queue waiting for the next tag on. If you don't tag on for 60 days it then refunds the money.

 

(Thats the theory behind it). I have been quite lucky, 100% of my top ups before 10pm have been ready to go by the morning for the bus.

 

I heard somewhere that trains/ferries which have fixed terminals are faster as they don't rely on batch loading over wifi when the buses go back to their base or a major bus station.


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  Reply # 1949104 31-Jan-2018 10:37
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Snapper get around the limitation that the value is stored on the card with their 'snapper feeder' ($25), which is a USB dongle you plug into a computer.

 

I've never bothered with it.  I just top up via my phones NFC.  Too easy.





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  Reply # 1949107 31-Jan-2018 10:40
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sbiddle:

 

Mine telling me where else in the world online payments are instant?

 

 

Everywhere, outside of stored balance cards. Regardless of the on-card balance, the balance visible online at AT's website should be updated immediately. No excuse for taking people's money and not showing it in their balance immediately.

 

 

I don't think you understand how the system works based on the rest of your comments.

 

The card balance is stored on the card. it's a prepaid stored value card and this is how every prepaid public transport ticketing solution using stored cards in the world works.

 

 

Ah, yeah. I just said pretty much that in a previous post. I don't think you've read the "rest of my comments".

 

 

To top up the card online requires the  transaction to be downloaded to the card at the bus and/or station readers and the new balance is applied when the card is used for the first time.

 

Once again this is how every prepaid stored value public transport solution in the world that offers online top-ups worked, and as I've already explained above many large such systems with Oyster being the classic example will only allow this to occur at a train station where there is fixed connectivity as mobile connectivity to thousands of buses isn't possible. If you think 3G/4G to thousands of buses and trams is easy you can try asking both Sydney and Melbourne who thought it was easy (hint it isn't).

 

 

There's only 500 buses. Mobile connectivity can't be done? Really? There are millions of personal mobile devices churning through TB of data every day. Can't update 500 buses once an hour or so with relatively small packets of transactional data? Tag-ons and tag-offs are inherently up to date on the card. The only thing missing is topups so the transactional volume of those is *tiny*. Come on. And they can't even reliably update them once a day - hopeless. Auckland is much smaller than Sydney and Melbourne and has great mobile data. Not  comparison.

 

 

In Auckland card top-ups are downloaded to the buses via WiFi overnight when they return to the depot. If this process fails or a bus doesn't return to the depot and the data can't be downloaded then an online top-up can't be applied on that bus.

 

 

How often does a bus not return to the depot overnight? 

 

Actually the hard part is the time it takes at tag-on time to recognise the card, find any matching topups and update it onto the card before the passenger gives up and walks past. 

 

They should update the buses if not immediately then at least frequently over mobile networks instead of when the bus returns.  

 

 

Cr*p solution? It's how every such system in the world works. If you think you have a better solution there are potentially some pretty significant (we're potentially talking billions) of dollars up for grabs to deliver your solution so I suggest you start working on it now!

 

 

No need to be sarcastic.

 

Just saying "its the same everywhere else" is a cop-out. Auckland's transport scale is minuscule. Saying it can't do stuff because Sydney, Melbourne or London can't do it doesn't cut it.

 

Time to stop making excuses and demand a better system. 

 

I've been developing software involving networks and transactions for over three decades. I'm only too aware of the practicalities of reliability, availability, scale and distribution. None of it is insurmountable but there has to be demand driving improvement not mute acceptance and excuses.

 

 

 

 


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