Posted by: Gregory | April 9, 2015

Mana/Newlands Smartcard Expiry

This service note from Metlink caught my eye today:

If you have a Mana/Newlands smartcard that was purchased in 2006 it will expire this year and will no longer be able to be used.

Mana/Newlands smartcards automatically expire after 10 years.newlands smartcard
Mana/Newlands Coach Services will issue you with a replacement smartcard free of charge and transfer the outstanding balance from your old card.

I was surprised to see that there’s an automated expiry on the Mana/Newlands smartcard. The wording of the message implies that the expiry is based on the purchase date, rather than a manufacture date. With more than half the year remaining, there’s plenty of time to get the message out to card holders.

While it’s good to see that there will be no charge to the customer, there’s a level of inconvenience that people shouldn’t really have to deal with. Presumably, there will be a reasonable stream of passengers who are affected by this until the new single-card integrated scheme rolls out, which means that those long-time passengers will have to do it all over again in another year.

Update: Since I was curious, I decided to check with Snapper.

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Responses

  1. I also wonder how long it will take them to do the exchange. While Mana are a good company in many ways (much better bus driving behaviour for example) their ticketing system is painfully slow. Which means their buses in the peak also hold up other buses that are queuing for a stop.

    • The service note said that the exchange can be done at the office or by post. Luckily, the drivers won’t be doing the exchange.

      • With the exchange being done only at the Mana office, during normal office hours only, passengers will either have to make a special trip or be without their card for several days, neither option being particularly user friendly. I wonder why they’re not setting up a more central exchange point, such as the Customer Service office at Wellington Station, which every Newlands bus passes nearby?

        And re the Snapper response, their original card specification has changed, with more recent ones having a “+” sign on the front. As I understand it the older cards can’t do all the things the more modern ones can, so one of these days users with older cards may need to upgrade…

      • I think there’s plenty of time for a second exchange point to be set up, but since it’ll effectively be a rolling replacement, it will require full-time staffing for a year or so.

        My understanding of the change to Snapper cards was a newer processor on the card, which handles the NFC spec. This allowed for smartphone top-ups. The bus and store-based readers handle both RFID and NFC versions of Snapper cards.

  2. Well my card just expired. I found out when I tried to use it.
    On the plus side, the driver let me travel for free (which is good as I don’t normally carry cash).

    On the minus side:
    * it will be difficult for me to replace it by visiting their office in Newlands as I work in town
    * it will be difficult for me to replace it by posting it in as must I pay full fares while it is being replaced and I must even pay postage. Also what if NZ Post loses it the card as it has over $70s on it !
    * there is no information other than a plain A4 page taped to the inside of the bus window. There is nothing about the issue on either the Mana Coach or Newlands Coach web sites.

    I agree that this could be a major issue that Newlands needs to get onto. Are they really going to refuse to carry long term commuters who will find it difficult to update their cards ? The suggestion that some arrangement to upgrade the cards should be setup at the Wellington Railway Bus Terminal.

    There should be more pro-active publicity (News-story, Scoop Wellington etc) before they get slammed with negative publicity.

    • I’d like to know why your card expired before year end. I’m guessing that the wording was misleading and that manufacturing time starts the 10-year clock.
      Reporting this to Metlink is probably a good idea. If they’re the customer-facing agency, they should be working on this problem.


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