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|Manager||Public Transport Victoria|
|Credit expiry||Does not expire
(Card expires after 4 years but balance is transferable)
|Auto recharge||Available for registered cards|
|Unlimited use||myki pass|
myki (// MY-kee) is a reloadable contactless smartcard ticketing system used on public transport in Victoria, Australia. The system is promoted by Public Transport Victoria and is valid on most public transport services in Melbourne and regional Victoria. The system was developed by Kamco (Keane Australia Micropayment Consortium). The initial 10-year contract was worth approximately A$1.5 billion, described by The Age as "the [world's] biggest for a smartcard ticketing system".
- 1 Usage
- 2 History
- 3 Issues and criticisms
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Myki fares are based on the time and zone fares used under the previous Metcard system (with zones expanded to cover the V/Line commuter belt), with the exception of the single trip "City Saver" fare which was not made available under the Myki system.
After purchasing a rechargeable Myki card, passengers need to add value onto the card, in a process called "topping up". The value stored on the card is called "Myki money". At the start of a trip, the passenger validates the card at a Myki reader by holding their card over a Myki reader, a process called "touching on". At the completion of a trip, a passenger validates their Myki card again in a process called "touching off", at which point a fare is assessed as required. The Myki card, if placed correctly in a wallet, does not need to be removed to be validated. However, because wallets often contain multiple cards with smart chips capable of being interpreted by the reader system in place by Myki, regardless of their applicability to transport, simply placing a wallet containing a Myki card against a reader proves problematic as the card-reading technology is incapable of consistently distinguishing between Myki and non-Myki smart card chips.
A Myki card can be used for travel on:
- Metropolitan train, tram and bus services within Myki ticketing zones 1 and 2, including SmartBus but not Skybus services
- V/Line trains travelling within the V/Line commuter belt (between Melbourne and Seymour, Traralgon, Wendouree, Waurn Ponds and Eaglehawk stations)
- Buses within Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Latrobe Valley, Seymour and Warragul
There are Myki cards for full-fare, concession, child and Victorian seniors passengers. A $6 fee is charged for the issue of a Myki card, with concession cards costing $3.
A Myki card can be either "anonymous" or "registered". Registered Myki cards have some information held about the passenger by Public Transport Victoria, primarily to protect against loss of the Myki card itself (in which case the card is replaced free of charge). Passengers with registered Myki cards also can view their travel history, detailing exact touch on and off times, as well as the service used, the zones travelled in and the fare charged.
A disposable ticket was originally intended to be part of the Myki system, as a single use option intended for occasional users. The ticket was to be issued in two-hour and daily variants, similar to the options available under the Metcard system preceding Myki. These tickets were issued on regional bus networks which accepted Myki, with the original intention to be introduced into suburban Melbourne. However, it was announced in 2011 that these tickets would be abolished, in a reduction of the scope of the Myki system. Short term tickets were abolished on regional bus services in March 2013, requiring all passengers on these buses to have a Myki card prior to travel.
Prior to January 2015, Myki cards were issued with a green front, with various designs on the back of the card. However, it was announced by Public Transport Victoria that a new uniform Myki card design would be rolled out in early 2015. The new design, which allowed for passengers to purchase concession Myki cards at ticket machines for the first time, is predominantly black.
A "Myki Visitor pack", intended for use by interstate and overseas visitors, as well as for users from outside metropolitan Melbourne. Full-fare packs cost $14 and child, concession and seniors packs cost $7. The pack includes a Myki card pre-loaded with one day's worth of travel in Zone 1 ($8, or $4 for concession passengers), vouchers for discounts at 15 tourist attractions, ranging from Puffing Billy to the Melbourne Aquarium, instructions on how to use Myki, and a protective Myki wallet. Users can reclaim any unused money on their Myki when they no longer need it, but they cannot reclaim the $6 or $3 purchase price. The pack is sold from locations such as Tullamarine Airport, hotel concierge desks, backpacker and bed & breakfast accommodation facilities, tourist information centres, Station Pier, Melbourne, Southern Cross station and other selected outlets.
Card purchase and top-up
- online, on the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) Myki website,
- using Myki card vending machines (CVMs), located at metropolitan and regional commuter belt train stations, selected tram stops, bus interchanges and shopping centres,
- by phone,
- at PTV Hub at Southern Cross railway station, Westfield Geelong & Bendigo Marketplace,
- at Premium stations in Metropolitan Melbourne, as well as staffed V/Line railway stations within the commuter belt,
- at retail outlets across Melbourne and regional Victoria (including all 7-Eleven stores),
- at selected regional city post offices,
- on some local Myki-enabled bus services – using small amounts of cash to pay the exact top up – with little or no change given as the preferred transaction (purchases being subject to availability of cards, top-ups being subject to the ability for the driver to give change if required).
- using BPAY.
A registered Myki account can be linked to a bank account or credit card to automatically transfer top-up funds onto the Myki card when the stored value on the card drops to a level nominated by the cardholder. This is known as “auto top-up”. However, a top-up can take up to 48 hours before the card is updated. The inability to top-up or purchase a card does not excuse the traveler from the need to travel with a valid ticket.
Fare calculation and default fares
Melbourne's public transport ticketing uses a multi-modal fare and ticketing system. Fares are based on a zonal system. Metropolitan Melbourne is divided into two zones, forming concentric rings based around Melbourne CBD, with Zone 1 comprising Melbourne's inner suburbs, and Zone 2 covering the remainder of metropolitan Melbourne. Outside of Metropolitan Melbourne, a further ten zones exist, as a continuation of the Metropolitan Melbourne zones. Zone overlap areas exist on the borders of the zones, with tickets for either zone being valid for travel. Higher fares are assessed for all travel involving Zone 1 than for all other travel. Originally, fares for 2-hour and daily use were charged at lower rates than previous 2-hour and daily Metcards, due to the fact that Myki fares were set based on value Metcard fares.
The Myki system calculates the cheapest fare for a traveller depending on the amount of use on a given day, and the number of fare zones travelled in, with fares being assessed on the basis of a two-hour fare and a daily fare. Longer periods, of 7 days or 28–365 days, can be pre-loaded into the card as a Myki pass prior to travel. If a 365-day pass is purchased, the days above 325 are free of charge.
If a Myki card is not touched off at the completion of a journey the system will charge a default fare, to protect against fare evasion. The default fare usually is equal to the most expensive journey that could have been undertaken by a passenger, based on the location of touch on.
Prior to the introduction of Myki a separate fare and ticketing system existed for V/Line (country) services. However, since April 2006 holders of V/Line tickets to Melbourne have had access to both Zone 1 and 2 without needing to purchase another ticket. V/Line tickets to Zone 2 stations are valid for Zone 2 only. Fares in most towns just outside Melbourne were also aligned to Zone 2 prices. This system still operates on V/Line services that run outside of the commuter belt area.
A Myki card has a limited validity period, but the expiry date is not imprinted on the card. The card expires four years after the date on which it is first loaded with money. If the card is registered, the holder can see online the date on which the card expires. PTV also contacts the registered card holder shortly before the expiry date to remind them of the card's imminent expiry. Holders of anonymous cards must use a card vending machine or Myki Check machine to find out when their card will expire.
An expired or expiring Myki card can be replaced for free at staffed metropolitan railway stations, Myki-enabled V/Line stations, or a PTV Hub, with any balance from the expired/expiring card being transferred to the new card instantly. Alternatively, users can mail their expired/expiring Myki card to PTV and wait up to 10 working days for a new card to be posted to them. If the expired/expiring card was registered, the replacement card will be automatically registered. Auto top-up will not be transferred to the new Myki and, if required, needs to be set up again. To obtain a replacement for a personalised Myki card, users must mail their card to PTV.
An expired card cannot be reused and, to avoid misuse, can be destroyed and disposed.
Myki replaced the Metcard ticketing system in metropolitan Melbourne and several ticketing systems used by buses in some major regional cities. After field testing, the Melbourne metropolitan roll-out of Myki began on 29 December 2009, with Myki becoming valid for travel on Melbourne metropolitan train services. On 25 July 2010, Myki coverage was extended to cover Melbourne metropolitan bus and tram services, and on 29 December 2012, with the switching-off of Metcard, it became the only form of ticket valid on Melbourne public transport. A limited implementation onto 'commuter' rail services to regional centres began in July 2013. Myki replaced paper tickets on V/Line services across selected services in Victoria on 23 February 2014. It was intended that the Skybus Super Shuttle Melbourne Airport service (with its own, premium fares) would also accept Myki once the system was fully operational, however this did not eventuate.
Work on a replacement of the Metcard public transport ticketing system in Victoria commenced in late 2002. In June 2003, the Transport Ticketing Authority (TTA) was established to procure and manage a new system.
Selection of operator
The tender for the new ticketing system opened in July 2004 and closed in October. Ten tender offers were received from six bidders, and four bids were short-listed in December. By March 2005, two companies had been short-listed for the final stage of the tender process: the Keane Corporation (with Ascom and Downer Engineering) and Manta.T (with ADI Limited, MTR Corporation and Thales).
On 12 July 2005, the Kamco consortium was selected to develop the system, winning a $494 million contract, due for completion by 2007. The consortium was made up of Keane Inc, Ascom, ERG, and Giesecke & Devrient Australasia.
The tender process was the subject of a number of probity concerns in December 2007, with the Victorian Auditor-General requesting police to investigate a leak of tender documents. Draft reports from the Auditor-General's investigation referred to backdated documents and inconsistent treatment of bidders, but independent reports by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Avanti Consulting in 2005, as well as the Victorian Auditor-General found that the integrity of the tender process had not been compromised. In 2007, serious probity concerns were raised when it was revealed that TTA boss Vivian Miners, who owned shares in the winning bidder, had also become the highest paid bureaucrat, earning A$550,000 a year. Further probity issues were raised when it was revealed the new Myki boss Garry Thwaites was married to the probity auditor for the original tender. Conflict of interest was denied by public transport minister Lynne Kosky.
Beginning of the roll-out
A pilot program was due to begin in early 2007, but was delayed by approximately a year. In the meantime, more than 20,000 pieces of equipment had been installed, with civil engineering works continuing.
In February 2008 Victorian Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky announced that the full roll-out of the system would not begin until the end of the year. By March the same year, the minister said that the system would not be operational until 2010. In April 2008, the Transport Ticketing Authority (TTA) announced that it had stopped paying service payments to the Kamco consortium after April 2007, because the project had not been delivered on schedule.
The first field trial of Myki was held on the Geelong bus network in late 2007. The trial identified problems with 'front office' computer software. In May 2008 Kamco conducted 'Regional Bus Pilot 1' in Geelong, after which it announced that ninety percent of tests had been passed. According to Kamco's report, Regional Bus Pilot 1 showed that: "Essential onbus activities such as scan on and scan off, top up Myki, purchase of short-term tickets using cash or Myki money, driver log on / off, route and shift selection and GPS connectivity and accuracy performed well. Back office processes and operational procedures such as end-to-end data transaction flows, generation of reports, training, communications, installation and commissioning were generally good. The operator (McHarry's Buslines) was pleased with the NTS training, performance and ease of use of the Myki solution."
Further field tests across other transport modes were planned during the second half of 2008, including an additional test on regional buses.
In August 2008 testing began on the Melbourne suburban train and tram networks. The train tests involved Kamco staff at East Camberwell, Canterbury, Chatham and Mont Albert stations. On trams, special services on route 86, not open to normal fare-paying passengers, were used. These tests were all single mode, with multi-modal trips to be tried at a later date.
On 12 December 2008, Myki went on sale to the general public on four bus routes in Geelong, and on 2 March 2009 all bus routes in the Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula area were completely switched to Myki.
In April 2009 all bus services in Ballarat, Bendigo and Seymour were converted to Myki. In May 2009 all bus services in the Latrobe Valley towns of Moe, Morwell, Traralgon and Warragul were operating with Myki equipment, making it the last regional bus system to be converted.
In May 2009, installation of Myki readers began in metropolitan Melbourne trams, and in June 2009, the first Myki vending machines appeared at metropolitan rail stations, with buses to follow. 17,000 pieces of equipment were to be installed as part of the rollout, with up to 23 pieces being installed per tram, and 2,700 pieces to be installed across the train network's 217 stations.
From 29 December 2009, Myki became valid for travel on all metropolitan train services (but not trams and buses), in a politically driven move to meet a promise by Transport Minister Lynne Kosky and Premier John Brumby to have the system working by the end of 2009.
The limited rollout was said to be due to reliability problems with the equipment on Melbourne's trams and buses. It was reported that the use of Myki on trams was being halted by signal drop-outs, related to the heavy steel construction of the trams, which was hindering the wireless communications required; the overhead electrical systems may possibly have had a detrimental effect on performance. The new Transport Minister, Martin Pakula, stated that another major problem still affecting trams was "canyoning", in which trams regularly drop out of remote communication with a central server because of tall city buildings. One source close to the Myki project said the government had considered installing remote devices on tall CBD buildings to improve communications with all devices in the city centre.
After the initial launch, tickets could only be purchased online, or from six regional cities where Myki was already in use, further limiting the number of travellers able to use the system. 24 hours after the launch, over 14,000 commuters had registered online for their free Myki.
On 25 July 2010, Myki became available for use on Metropolitan and suburban buses and trams.
In May 2014, the first Myki electronic gates with the touch screen were implemented, the first station to have them being Mitcham Station.
Further roll-out halted
In July 2010 then Opposition leader Ted Baillieu had said that the Opposition was "considering its legal options" with regards to Myki and would look at dropping the system if it won the next Victorian state election.
Having won the state election in November 2010, the new Liberal/National coalition government announced on 28 December 2010 that it would halt any further rollout of Myki, including V/Line usage, card top-ups by bus drivers, and the introduction of sales at retail shops, until an independent audit had been completed on the state of the current system.
A decision was to be made to either scrap Myki and continue with Metcard, modify the Myki system, scale back the roll-out, or continue the roll-out as initially planned. In June 2011, the government confirmed that Myki would continue operation. However it was announced that short-term tickets would not be introduced in metropolitan Melbourne, and would be abolished on regional city bus systems, where they have been in use since Myki's introduction. With the Myki system to be retained, users have asked that Myki be improved before it becomes the only ticketing system for Melbourne. A survey conducted by the Transport Department found that people like Myki's ease of use, but some complained about the time taken to touch on and off, and the inadequate provision of information about the Myki system. A survey conducted by the RACV found that users like Myki's ease of purchasing, but the time taken to touch on and off was a major disadvantage. The most requested improvement was for more flexibility in the system. Specifically, users want to be able to purchase single-use tickets.
Final Melbourne implementation
During 2012 the government progressively shut down the Metcard system.
- from the start of 2012, yearly Metcards became unavailable
- from 26 March 2012, monthly and weekly Metcards became unavailable
- from 30 June 2012, "value" Metcards, such as 10x2 hour, 10xEarly Bird, 5xDaily, 5xWeekend Daily, 5xSeniors Daily, 10xCity Saver, Sunday Saver and Off-Peak Daily became unavailable. Only single-use 2 hour, Daily, City Saver and Seniors Daily Metcards continued to be available.
All Metcard ticket vending machines on railway stations were removed or switched off. The only Metcard vending machines still in operation were on trams. The limited remaining range of Metcards could only be purchased from staff at premium stations, from bus drivers, and from PTV Hub.
On 13 September 2012, Public Transport Victoria and the TTA announced that Myki would become the only ticketing system on public transport from Saturday 29 December 2012. On that date all Metcard equipment remaining on the system became inoperative. In the meantime, the sale of Metcards at premium (staffed) Metro railway stations was progressively phased out, and ceased entirely during October.
Metcard validators commenced to be removed from railway stations on 12 November 2012, and all were removed or became inoperative by the end of December. Also from November, passengers with unused Metcards were able to transfer the value onto a Myki card as Myki money at premium Metro railway stations.
Myki came into use on regional "commuter" (short-haul) rail services in mid-2013, in a staged process: between Melbourne and Seymour on 24 June, on the Traralgon line on 8 July, the Bendigo line on 17 July, the Ballarat line on 24 July, and the Geelong-Marshall line on 29 July. Family paper tickets are available to families travelling within the Myki zone with children below 17 years of age. On 10 November 2013, Myki was introduced on Wallan and Kilmore town buses.
After February 2014, paper tickets for passengers on commuter services were abolished, and passengers were required to use Myki. Paper tickets remain for travel outside the Myki zone, such as to Warrnambool, Bairnsdale, Swan Hill, Shepparton or Albury. Passengers with Myki Pass who want to travel beyond the Myki area can purchase paper "extension tickets" to cover the rest of their journey.
In July 2016, the Myki contract with the renamed NTT Data (formerly Kamco) was extended for another seven years. The renewed contract is worth A$700 million.
Issues and criticisms
The Myki ticketing system has been criticised on a number of grounds:
- Necessity: critics, such as the Public Transport Users Association, questioned why a new ticketing system was needed, when Melbourne already had an adequate one. The Metcard validating equipment already had built-in support for a contactless ticket (the yellow circles on the front of the former Metcard validators, as well as on Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs).
- Its total cost of $1.5 billion.
- The project has taken far longer than originally planned. It began in May 2005 with a scheduled delivery date of March 2007. As of the start of 2013, the implementation of Myki had still not been completed, with V/Line regional services yet to become part of the system.
- No short-term ticket: The unexplained decision not to proceed with the planned introduction of short-term tickets in Melbourne, and to abolish them on regional city bus services, means that Myki is now one of the world's only ticketing systems on which visitors and occasional users cannot buy a short-term ticket. 50 million stored short-term tickets, costing $15 million, were pulped.
In November 2012, the Public Transport Users Association launched an online petition calling on the state government to reverse its decision not to make any form of short-term ticket available under Myki.
- There will be no Myki ticket machines on trams, an option which was available under Metcard. The machines that were previously planned to be put on trams would have sold short-term tickets and allowed topping up Myki cards using coins and notes.
- As of 2018, there is still a lack of locations to buy or top up Myki cards on the tram network, notably in the outer suburbs and after hours where Myki retailers (except 7-Eleven) have closed while trams can still be running for up to eight hours following the store's closure, for instance at a newsagent whose trading hours are 9AM to 5PM whereas the last tram is after midnight.
- Inadequate card reader response times: The time it takes readers to respond to a Myki card is variable and frequently too slow, and the situation has not improved noticeably since the introduction on regional buses in 2009. Users often compare Myki unfavourably to other smart-card ticketing systems in this regard.
- Privacy: In 2010 the Victorian Liberal Party while in Opposition expressed concern over the data collection and sharing used by Myki, claiming that the Government was breaching its own Information Privacy Act.
- Julian Burnside has compared the on-the-spot 'penalty fares' for myki users, introduced in August 2014, to a "standover racket", saying people with a valid case should be able to contest their fines without feeling pressure to pay a lesser on-the-spot penalty.
- On 29 December 2009, the reputation of Lynne Kosky, the Public Transport Minister at the time, was put into question when Kosky was unable to recall the phone number for commuters to buy a ticket, and a computer error resulted in over 1,600 people receiving new Myki cards with their name incorrectly spelled or printed as 'anonymous'.
- Due to Myki's protracted introduction, the government had to continually extend payments for the existing Metcard system alongside Myki. This was done to ensure commuters had a chance to switch over to Myki, before Metcard was removed from the transport network.
- Newsagents initially refused to sell Myki cards, because lower commissions were being offered by the government in comparison to Metcard.
- Controversies over the tendering process. A staff member of the Transport Ticketing Authority (TTA) left a USB flash drive in a room with representatives of one of the bidders. The TTA claims that this was an accident and that there was no secret information on the flash drive. Also, the company hired by the TTA early in the process, to give it technical advice, is part of the winning consortium. In late December 2007, it was revealed that investigators in the Auditor-General's office had uncovered serious probity concerns in the awarding of the contract to American IT firm Keane's Kamco consortium. However these concerns were not included in the Auditor's report to Parliament, as they were said to be unsupported by the evidence.
- Increased dwell times: role play tests, commissioned by the Government in 2007, detailed longer stationary times for trams compared to the Metcard system, because of touch on and off delays, when boarding and disembarking. However this was resolved by removing the touch off requirement on trams when Myki was made available on trams in 2009.
- Potential for a higher fare charge if a user forgets to touch off: the final cost of a trip, after which the user has not touched off (deliberately or accidentally), may be higher than the best fare. For regional town buses the default fare may be as much as a two-zone fare. The default fare for Melbourne Metropolitan Train trips is a '2 Hour Zone 1+2' fare, unless touching on a tram which results in a '2 Hour Zone 1' fare.
- Disability Access: Disability groups claimed that several elements of the Myki program would be problematic for users with a disability (particularly those who are in wheelchairs, have cognitive problems or who lack dexterity) due to the placement of several pieces of equipment. On low-floor trams, validators have been installed at various heights to cater for this. The state government has introduced a Free Access Travel Pass for users who are unable to use Myki ticketing equipment.
- Faulty cards: A number of Myki cards have had to be recalled. About 23 tertiary student Mykis failed to activate.
- A number of Mykis were sent to deceased war veterans, and to war veterans who were eligible for free travel.
- Rules covering faulty cards: The Transport Ticketing Authority originally stated that passengers who had a faulty Myki card would need to buy a short-term ticket or buy a replacement Myki card if they wanted to travel. This replicated the rule for faulty Metcards. However short-term tickets have not been introduced on the system, users are now able to go to a premium or staffed trainstation to have their faulty Mykis replaced on the spot.
- The online top-up system: Users reported that money paid via the Myki website was taking a long time to appear in users accounts, or was not appearing at all.
- Auto top-up failure problem: Originally, when the auto top-up feature of Myki failed due to a payment problem, the card was blocked and had to be mailed to Myki to be reactivated. This has since been changed. The auto top-up request is removed from the card, and the original top up amount is reversed from the Myki.
- Ticket vending machines receipt issuing: Topping up a Myki using EFTPOS or credit card displays a screen asking the user if they would like a receipt to be printed. If "no" is selected, an EFT transaction record is printed anyway, which did contain the credit card user's full name, expiry date and 9 of 16 credit card digits. This has since been changed to show only the last four digits of the credit card, the expiry date and card holder's name are no longer printed.
- Vandalism: There have been widespread reports of damage to Myki equipment—with up to 60% of machines being targeted by vandals. Damage to display screens on fare payment devices and card vending machines has been caused by heavy objects being used to smash them, often rendering the displays unusable. The most common form of vandalism is through marker pens obscuring screen elements and off-screen instructions or by scratching the screens with sharp objects. In mid 2013 it was reported that Myki machines at some railway stations had been broken into, using portable power tools, in order to raid their cash boxes. While Myki readers will often still work despite surface vandalism, passengers might not be able to read the information displayed on the reader's screen.
- Hundreds of Victorians found problems with the accuracy of their Myki bills by using the site mykileaks.org. That site has reported that errors were found in over a third of the 2700 statements that were checked on their site. In October 2011, 13% of the statements submitted to the site showed overcharges.
- On 11 June 2015 a Melbourne commuter found that they owed MYKI A$2,684,350 erroneously, while trying to load more funds onto their card.
- List of smart cards
- Opal card – Sydney's smartcard ticketing system
- Translink go card – South East Queensland’s smartcard system
- SmartRider – Perth's smartcard system
- Metrocard (Adelaide) – Adelaide's smartcard system
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