June 19 2013

Myki: The Costly Implementation of Melbourne’s Transport Ticketing System

MYKI ran concurrently with the Metcard system (Green machine in the background) from 2010-2012. (TheAge,2012)

Why does it seem that sometimes the more advanced we get, or the more available technology becomes, the less effective we become?

This is the case with Public Transport in Melbourne. Up until the 1990’s Trams were controlled by aged conductors, dressed classically and ever approachable. They were employed to make sure everyone who came on paid for a ticket, and through their appearance, one would always generally feel safe when commuting.

Unfortunately, with the development of the Metcard Ticketing System, the conductors were replaced with ‘Ticket Inspectors.’ Their now occasional sighting on trams not only made it easier for commuters to fare evade but also decreased the surveillance available on trams.

The latest development in Melbourne Public Transport has been the development of MYKI. MYKI was created to simplify Melbourne’s ticketing system by providing a durable, re-usable, and sustainable smart-card that stores value for all public transport fares. However, its initial 6 months has been nothing short of a debacle.

The issues that the contemporary card has endured since its inception in January 2013 includes the following:

  • A $1.5 Billion development cost that has been rumored to be the world’s costliest for a ticketing system;

  • Consumers having to pay for their initial cards as a separate fare from their travel (thus tourists wanting to spontaneously take a tram would have to plan their journey by buying a card and then topping it up with adequate funds for their journey);

  • If you wish to top up your MYKI online, your payment won’t be processed on the same day;

  • New evasion techniques have already been found (ie: If user goes from Zone 1 to Zone 2 area (more expensive than just Zone 1 travel) and doesn’t check off upon his arrival to his Zone 2 destination then he would be charged as if he only travelled within Zone 1); and

  • The ability to fare evade has remained, as no physical barriers or increase in the amount of ticket inspectors have been associated with the systems implementation.

Ticket Inspectors have recently been under the spotlight due to physical confrontations with fare evaders. (Herald Sun, 2011)

How has the introduction of technology assisted how ticketing functions in your city?

Credits: The Herald Sun, 2011; Images and data linked to sources.

Steven Petsinis

Steven Petsinis is an Urban Planning graduate from Melbourne, Australia. He has been involved in Urban Research and Development projects in Medellin, Colombia and Saigon, Vietnam and is currently pursuing his masters in Melbourne, Australia. His main interests lie in land use and social planning, sustainability, as well as studies involving globalization and it's effect on third world communities. He has recently spent one year travelling throughout North and South America, as well as Europe, where he has gathered material and inspiration for his upcoming blogs for The Grid.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 at 9:09 am and is filed under Infrastructure, Social/Demographics, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “Myki: The Costly Implementation of Melbourne’s Transport Ticketing System”

  1. Christie Says:

    Public transport should just become free. That way it would encourage people to get out of their cars, and hence the cost of maintaining roads would be reduced – pollution, traffic, etc.
    The paper ticketing system where you could purchase a ticket on the tram or at a convenience store was perfectly fine. In my view, they should have skipped the Myki card altogether and developed a smart phone App whereby you can swipe your ticket and don’t need to carry another card around with you. It seems like this card is a complete nuisance – the system in japan is friendlier as the card allows you to purchase a number of items and is convenient.

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