Auckland Transport recently introduced free child weekend fares, making travel on public transport free for children between 5 and 15 years old with a registered AT HOP card.
To put the new fares to the test, OurAuckland's Jess set out on a family adventure to MOTAT.
And OurAuckland has something to give away. Find out more at the end of the story.
So, this weekend we took up the challenge of a car-free trip from our place in Sandringham to MOTAT with our 8 and 5-year-olds holding tightly to their HOP cards and getting excited about our wee adventure. I figured that it would be a stress-free way to travel without worrying about traffic or parking, and I was right - but also it was a lovely experience in other ways.
Although we had downloaded the AT Mobile app in preparation for the journey, the buses arrived so quickly that we didn’t need to use it to check for the next one. The trip was quick and the bus dropped us off right outside MOTAT itself. We also felt a bit more like we were part of the community as we greeted the very friendly bus drivers and the people who were waiting at or walking past the bus stop.
Once we got there, it was easy too. We managed to get around all the different MOTAT sections within a few hours. The highlights for us were the old-fashioned street (especially the jail), the Get Smart exhibit with interactive photography, and the car driving experience at the Accelerate Driving NZ display.
As well as the bus we tried a few other modes of transport as we also had a ride in a horse-pulled carriage and caught the vintage tram to the planes displayed in a surprisingly huge hangar along the road. We spent ages there checking out the planes, using the binoculars and learning about Jean Batten’s life and flying achievements.
By the end of the outing, we were all happily worn out. The kids concluded that the bus was much more fun with the highlight being not having to be strapped into a car seat. They also really loved the responsibility of waving down the bus, choosing the best spot to sit and getting to swipe their own HOP cards like grown-ups. To set up the free travel, it’s really easy – all you have to do is buy an AT HOP card, create a MyAT account, register the card and it’s all sorted.
Now we have done it once, I’m determined to make a habit of car-free days. As well as the kids riding for free, it’s better for us and the environment and this gave the travel a real feel good factor, plus the kids just loved it.
*Excludes SkyBus services and Waiheke Island ferry services.