Is Myki actually going to be replaced at all?
Most of the coverage of the proposed changes seem to me to suggest extending the existing system to allow people to use their phone instead of carrying a Myki card (but still using all of the other associated Myki infrastructure). Does anyone know if there is actually any plans to replace the Myki system (as opposed to Myki cards)?
Brenton, there are always comments like this when it comes to Myki:
Myki is an unmitigated disaster.
which are usually unsubstantiated.
The reliability of the Myki system when it was initially rolled out was significantly worse then it is today. This was at it's worst around 2012-13 (which was also when the system was being introduced to Melbourne, regional areas having had it a few years earlier). Back then the Myki machines would not be working (all Myki readers on the bus showing a red light and a message telling you to use another reader) every 2nd or 3rd trip. Since then the system has improved considerably (although it is by no means flawless).
However most people's (especially in Melbourne) first experiences of using Myki largely coincided with the time at which the reliability of Myki was at it's worst. Unfortunately, poor first impressions tend to stick, and when people expect the system not to work, even a minor failure (such as a card wearing out) will reinforce this expectation. Community expectations are made worse by the fact that there are still several major limitations due to either government cutbacks from the original project, or excessive bureaucracy.
No short term ticket option (You have to purchase a $6 Myki and load a minimum of $2 credit before you can travel, and you also have to find somewhere that will sell you a Myki). Myki did originally have a short term ticket, this was a blue cardboard ticket (plain white on the back) with a message encouraging people to save some money by geting a Myki next time (The fares for short term tickets were a little higher then for Myki money), and a some squiggly lines that were supposed to be some sort of art???. There were several different designs of these, and they were the same size as a standard Myki card. The cardboard was a little thicker than a Metcard, and there was no print on the reverse. When making additional trips before expiring, they could be touched on at a Myki reader the same as a normal Myki card could be. When Myki was first introduced to regional town buses, passengers were able to buy these short term tickets from the driver (available in either 2 hour from the next hour, or daily). I believe that short term tickets were also planed for Melbourne, which would also have been available from bus drivers, or from vending machines on board trams. I am not sure if they were intended to be available from train stations or not.
Due to cutbacks by the previous government, short term tickets were never rolled out in Melbourne, and they were withdrawn from regional areas a few months after Melbourne switched off the Metcard system. This left us with the ridiculous situation where a visitor, or occasional traveler, or someone who's Myki has been lost/left behind/malfunctioned now has to purchase a new Myki for $6 + minimum $2 credit to be legally allowed to travel. And good luck doing that if you are travelling by tram, as there is no way to buy a ticket on board.
There are too many tram stops and even train stations where there is nowhere to purchase a Myki. This is especially bad considering that you can't buy a Myki on board a tram....
Then there are the times when the system fails to calculate the correct fare. Whilst this has never happened to me, there are enough reports of this still happening (see the above post by @BrentonGolding
) for me to believe that this is a real problem. Furthermore, when things do go wrong, the bureaucracy that one has to go through to sort this out is another problem
The time it took to cover the State was appalling.
In truth, the rollout still isn't finished. V/Line busses (sorry coaches
) and long distance train services are still using paper tickets, however these were also supposed to have got Myki
Myki was way over budget, and way over time.
Interestingly enough one of the original reasons for the state developing Myki itself was that it would be cheaper (over the lifetime of the system) then continuing to pay OneLink for the right to use Metcard, or acquiring some other existing system. There would be a substantially higher initial development cost, to be offset by a lower annual cost. Obviously with the cost overruns when Myki was first developed, it will take a longer period of time for the initial investment to pay off.
It would be interesting to find out how the total cost of Myki compares to what the cost of continuing to run the Metcard and paper tickets would have been.