Public transport for kids and teens in Auckland

Public transport for kids and teens in Auckland

Train by Tamaki Drive in Auckland - Photo by Auckland for Kids

Children aged 5 to 15 years old are eligible for a child fares on Auckland Transport and kids under 5 years old travel for FREE with a paying adult. Kids will need an Auckland Transport (AT) HOP card to travel on a bus as cash is no longer accepted on buses.  For ferry rides or train rides kids can either pay using cash or use a prepaid AT HOP card. To receive discounted child fares and get FREE weekend rides on Auckland Transport your children and teens will need to have their own registered AT HOP card.

Where can I buy an AT HOP card for my kids?

You can buy a blue AT HOP card online for delivery to your New Zealand address or you can go into a local retailer to purchase one.

Once you have your child’s AT HOP card you will need to create a MyAT account and register the AT HOP card before they can start using it.

Make sure you have the AT HOP card number for you child handy when you are ready to set up the MyAT account you will use when managing. You can choose to manage their account by either:

  • creating a new account on behalf of your child; or

  • use your own MyAT account to create a linked account for managing your child/rens’ card.

Once you have a MyAT account you are then able to register the AT HOP card. If your children are under 16 years of age, a child concession will be applied automatically when you register the AT HOP card with their date of birth. After registering it may take 24 to 72 hours for the child concession to be available on the AT HOP card. You will need to use your AT HOP card for a ride at least once within the first 60 days to activities the child concession for your child, otherwise the child concession will expire.

Secondary school students aged 16 to 19 years are eligible for discounted fares after they get an Auckland Transport approved student ID card from their school to prove your eligibility.

How do you use an AT HOP card?

You tag on holding your AT HOP card flat and still at the AT card reader before getting on your train or ferry and then tag off when you finish your trip.

Wen catching a bus you get on the bus at the front door and then tap the AT HOP card in front of the reader. When you get off the bus at the exit door (which are usually at the rear of the bus) you will need to tap the AT HOP card to swipe off.

How much is an AT HOP card?

A blue AT HOP Card is $15 and includes $10 card cost and $5 HOP Money. The cost of the card is non refundable. If you buy an AT HOP card online delivery is free and your HOP card will be sent by standard NZ post.

Do children travel FREE on Auckland Tranport?

Only children aged under 5 years travel FREE at any time when accompanied by an adult paying full fare. Children under 5 years old do not need to use an AT HOP card.

Children aged 5 to 15 years can get a discounted fare when paying by cash or on AT HOP cards.

Kids travel FREE on WEEKENDS and PUBLIC HOLIDAYS when using a registered AT HOP card on buses, trains and participating ferry travel. This excludes Waiheke Island ferry services and SkyBus services.

Do school children need to carry student ID cards when using public transport?

Secondary students need to carry their Auckland Transport approved student ID card with them to show if requested. Student ID cards are not required for primary and intermediate children.

Do you save money by using an AT HOP card?

According to Auckland Transport you save at least 25% discount off single trip cash bus, train and ferry fares.

How much does it cost for children to travel on public transport in Auckland?

Cash fares are $0.50 in the City Link and range from $2 for 1 zone up to $6 for 5 zones.

AT Hop fares are $0.33 in the City Link and range from $1.10 for 1 zone and up to $4.50 for 5 zones.

Fares are based on the number of zones you travel through. You can transfer between buses, trains and ferries in Auckland and pay just one fare your journey with an AT HOP card, as long as you do not have more than 30 minutes between each part of your journey and your juorney is less than 4 hours.

Can you pay cash on Auckland buses?

No, from 23 March 2020, cash fares are no longer accepted on Auckland’s buses.

Can you pay with cash for the train?

You need to have a valid ticket before boarding a train in Auckland. You can use cash to buy a single-trip paper ticket from the ticket machine at the station before you board. The single-trip paper train ticket must be used within 2 hours or purchasing the ticket for the journey specified on the ticket.

Can you pay for the ferry with cash?

Yes, you can purchase your ferry ticket with cash, Eftpost and credit cards from ticket agents or on some ferries.

How do you put money onto an AT HOP card?

You need to top up your AT HOP card with HOP money before your child want’s to travel. You can top up their card online or in person at an AT Customers Service Centre, local Retail Agent.

Secondary students need to visit an AT customers service centre to load the concession onto their AT HOP card and need to show their Auckland Transport approved student ID card.

When you top up your child’s AT HOP card online before 10pm those funds should be available on their card the next day. However as top-ups can take up to 72 hours to show, it pays to make sure your child carries enough cash with them to pay for their fare just in case.

If you top up online and then your child does not tag on within 60 days, top up will expire and the payment will be reversed to the credit or debit card you used to top it up.

What do you do if you lose your AT Hop card?

You can cancel it online or call the AT HOP call centre on 09-366-4467 to cancel it so it cannot be used and your account balance will be protected. You will then need to buy a replacement card.

Can 2 children use one HOP card?

Two children can’t use the same HOP card to tag on and off public transport.

However you can pay for others using the HOP Money on the card to buy a paper ticket for a train ride.

Can I take a pram on public transport in Auckland?

Prams are permitted on trains and buses and usually permitted on ferries. Find out more information here about taking prams on buses, trains and ferries.

Can I use my HOP card in other cities in New Zealand?

No your child’s AT HOP card can only be used on Auckland Transport routes and can not be used on public transport throughout New Zealand.

This information is up to date at 29 July 2020. For the latest information see Auckland Transports website.

Reader Interactions


  1. If a child loses their hop card, do I understand correctly that their friend cannot pay for their bus ride home? There is no longer an option to pay with the emergency cash my child keeps. This causes stress and the system is unacceptably cruel. My son panicked upon losing his card after school this week and having checked the new rules, I had to drive over to rescue him.

    • Hi Maree,
      Auckland for Kids is run by Auckland Mums and is not part of Auckland Transport so you would need to check them them. We agree though if one of our children lost their hop car, then a friend should be able to swipe them on their one to get them home given the buses won’t accept cash any more. Did the bus driver turn you son away when we explained he had lost his card?

      Auckland for Kids’ Mums

  2. Are your buses wheelchair accessible?

    I’m planning a small trip for me and my son at the moment but unsure if it’ll be suitable for him to do that. He’s4 years old and has cerebral palsy spastic quadriplegic.

    • Hi Joseph,

      Auckland Transport says on it’s website that “All bus services welcome passengers accompanied by service dogs or disability assist dogs. Around 91% of Auckland buses have super low floors and the ability to kneel to meet the curb, or have wheelchair ramps fitted to allow easy access for wheelchair users. New buses are being introduced regularly to increase the number of wheelchair access buses in service. To ensure that there will be a wheelchair access bus on your bus route at the time you wish to travel, we recommend you contact the operator the day before you travel.” Find a list of contact numbers here:

  3. I want to take my child for a one-off bus trip. He is severely autistic so we don’t usually use buses. Am I right in saying that to do this we both have to purchase hop cards even though we may not use them again? If so, can we get a refund on them after using them just the once? This cashless system doesn’t appear to be very well thought out…

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