Auckland Transport: AT HOP

Auckland Transport is the organisation responsible for Auckland’s transport services. From roads and footpaths, to cycling, parking and public transport their focus is to bring transport choices to Aucklanders.


For AT HOP, the key focus is delivering a great customer experience for all users of the Public Transport network. Their goal is to make public transport accessible, easy and affordable – for all users.

AT HOP identified the need for a programme designed specifically for their accessible customers – in particular those with visual impairments. As a longstanding UbiQuity platform user they knew they had a trusted partner who would be able to help them bring this project to life.

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“This project was a huge challenge for us, not just in terms of working through the data, but also ensuring the email templates and language use was right. The team at Qrious were great at working through these challenges with us, asking the right questions to get the right results. And the customers are just thrilled with it.” - Kash Chitniss, Campaign Manager, AT HOP

The challenge

People from all walks of life and abilities use Auckland’s public transport services. While the AT HOP card has made using and paying for transportation a lot easier, some customers find it hard to read the digital displays on buses and trains, or to use the online portal. Users are often unsure how much money is left on their card, or whether they’ve tagged on or off successfully.

With AT HOPs focus on delivering a great experience for all their customers, they enlisted the help of Qrious and the UbiQuity platform to develop an automated programme that would easily communicate travel and balance details to their accessible customers.

To achieve this AT HOP needed to bring their various sources of data into a centralised database from where user and travel data could be sent to the UbiQuity platform. As the data contained both personal and monetary information, the data needed to be encrypted to ensure the privacy of each customer.

The email template, and language used in both the email and text communications also needed careful attention so that it would make sense when read out loud by a screen reader.


The solution

The various sources of AT HOPs customer and travel data were first centralised in ATs data warehouse. This data – in particular the AT HOP card number is encrypted using cipher block chaining before being sent between the two databases via API. This allows the unique ID to be stored in UbiQuity without exposing the full number.

Travel or account activity data is then used to populate the dynamic content in the email or text, showing the recipient their most recent travel information or AT HOP balance. Logic was built into the email template ensuring that only copy relating to the available data was sent to each customer.

Accessible friendly templates
As screen readers read all available text in an email – whether body copy or alt text sitting behind images - the template needed to be stripped back of most of its design and branding. Scripting language was used within the email code to ensure that the screen reader could read the email in a way that was contextually relevant and easily understood by the recipient.

The preference form also needed to meet accessible guidelines, with customers able to navigate through the form exclusively using their keyboard, whether this was tabbing to the next field, or using the space bar to make selections.

The results
Consistent data flow
The integration between the Enterprise Data Warehouse and the UbiQuity marketing database ensures a constant flow of data between the two. This enables the information to be sent to AT HOP customers when it’s most accurate and most relevant to them. Engagement and preference changes are sent back to ATs data warehouse, which acts as the single source of truth for their customers.

Preferences and variations
When an accessible customer loads their concession onto their AT HOP card an email is triggered to invite them to opt-in to this programme. They can choose whether they receive information via email, text, or both and whether they receive this every day or only when they have travelled.

Full personalisation
The logic built into the email template accounts for several different types of data, with content reflecting only the latest activity data related to the account. Missed tags, recent top-ups or purchases made trigger different variations of the copy, as does missing data or data that doesn’t follow normal conventions. This means each email is unique and fully personalised to each customer.

A great customer experience
For accessible customers using the Auckland Public transport network keeping on top of their AT HOP balance and journeys is now a lot simpler. The information they need is delivered straight to their fingertips in a format that is easy for them to understand – and nothing else.

Getting help or changing their subscription is just as simple. The only link in the email template calls customer service who are empowered to easily make changes as required for the customer.

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