Myki (// MY-kee) is a reloadable credit card-sized contactless smart card ticketing system used for electronic payment of fares on most public transport services in Melbourne and regional Victoria, Australia. Myki replaced the Metcard ticketing system and became fully operational at the end of 2012.
|Manager||Public Transport Victoria|
|Credit expiry||Does not expire|
(Card expires after 4 years but balance is transferable)
|Auto recharge||Auto top-up|
|Unlimited use||Myki pass|
|Website||Official website |
The system was developed by Kamco (Keane Australia Micropayment Consortium) and is promoted by Public Transport Victoria. 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". The Myki contract was extended in July 2016 for a further seven years.
Passengers need to purchase a rechargeable Myki card at 7 Elevens or Railway Stations; cards cannot be bought on a tram or bus. A Myki card costs $6, with concession cards costing $3.
After acquiring a Myki card, the passenger needs to add value onto the card, in a process called "topping up". The value stored on the card is called "Myki money". You can top up on a bus with a maximum value of $20 onboard.
At the start of a trip, the passenger must "touch on" the card at a Myki reader, and at the completion of a trip (except for a tram trip that is solely within zone 1), a passenger must "touch off" the Myki card again, at which point the appropriate fare is assessed and deducted from the stored value on the card. 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 can prove problematic as the card-reading technology is incapable of consistently distinguishing between Myki and non-Myki smart card chips. Passengers do not need to touch on or off in the “free tram zone”, which covers essentially the Melbourne CBD, but need to do so if they will continue to travel beyond the zone. Official Myki pouches can be acquired for free at railway stations.
A Myki card can be used for travel on:
- Melbourne metropolitan train, tram and bus services, 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.
Prior to January 2015, Myki cards were issued with a green front, with various designs on the back of the card. Since then issued Myki card have had a uniform predominantly black design. The change allowed concession Myki cards to be sold at ticket vending machines for the first time, but it is not possible to readily distinguish between full-fare and concessional cards.
A "Myki Visitor pack" is available, 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 the $6 or $3 purchase price isn't refundable. 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 outlets.
A Myki card can be "registered" with Public Transport Victoria, which protects the card holder against loss of the card and enables passengers to view their travel history online. It also enables “auto top up” to be set up, enables the card holder to view the card expiry date online and enables PTV to contact the registered card holder of an imminent card expiry date.
- online, on the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) Myki website
- using the Mobile Myki Google Pay Card through the app.
- 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 Hubs 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 Myki-enabled bus services – using upto $20 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), or
- 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
The Myki system calculates the cheapest fare for a passenger based on the time and zones travelled in on a given day. Fares are assessed on the basis of a two-hour fare or 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. 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.
Myki is a multi-modal fare and ticketing system based on zones. Metropolitan Melbourne is divided into two zones. Outside of Metropolitan Melbourne, there are ten zones. Zones overlap on the borders of the zones.
If a Myki card is not touched off at the completion of a journey the system will charge a default fare, which is usually equal to the most expensive journey that could have been undertaken by a passenger, based on the location of touch on. Passengers need not touch off when alighting a tram unless they're in zone 2
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.
It’s also necessary to ensure that an expired card isn’t used. There’s a hefty $270 fine if one is inadvertently used.
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, Metcard was switched off, and Myki 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. On 12 July 2005, the Kamco consortium was awarded the $494 million contract to develop the system, with the completion date being 2007. The consortium was made up of Keane Inc, Ascom, ERG, and Giesecke & Devrient Australasia.
A pilot program was due to begin in early 2007, but was delayed by approximately a year. In February 2008 Public Transport Minister 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 TTA announced that it had stopped making 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, which identified problems. In August 2008 testing began on the Melbourne suburban train and tram networks.
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.
The Melbourne roll-out began in May 2009 with the installation of Myki readers. Myki became valid for travel on all metropolitan train services, but not trams and buses, from 29 December 2009, though purchasing cards was still cumbersome. On 25 July 2010, Myki could be used on metropolitan and suburban buses and trams.
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. 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. 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.
On 29 December 2012, Myki became the only ticketing system on public transport. On that date all Metcard equipment remaining on the system became inoperative.
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.
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.
- Myki valid for trips between Melbourne and Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon or Seymour
- Myki valid for regional town bus trips in Ballarat, Bendigo, Eaglehawk, Epsom, Geelong, Kangaroo Flat, Kilmore East, Moe, Morwell, Seymour, South Geelong, Traralgon, Wallan and Waurn Ponds
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