A genuine benefit of Myki: Auto topup, set and forget
Myki has well-known problems. It’s been an incredibly long saga to get it running, and to the point now where it’s pretty reliable and the government is confident enough to push ahead with phasing-out Metcard. The cost to taxpayers has been huge. Touching on and off can be fiddly, particularly in a crowd and particularly when the readers are dodgy. And who knows what chaos will result when single use/short-term (2-hour and daily) tickets can’t be bought.
But somewhere in amongst the doom and gloom there are some genuine benefits from the system.
Here’s one: occasional users can set up a Myki card and then forget about it.
My kids, who use PT once or twice a week, have cards. They know how to touch-on and touch-off, and I’ve set up auto topup on their accounts.
Thus, they can travel as they please and not worry about buying tickets. I don’t need to keep stocks of the old mix of 10×2 hour and Weekend tickets to ensure we get the best value. And I don’t need to keep giving them money for fares which might get lost. None of us ever need to queue at a ticket machine or counter again.
They don’t even have to know how the fare system works. It just works.
There is a caveat: I need to make sure my credit card details remain valid, because there’s currently a flaw in the system whereby if an auto topup fails, the card gets blocked and needs to be sent into Myki HQ to be reset. Whoever decided that’s how it should work needs their head examined, and hopefully it’ll be fixed soon.
But other than that, that’s a pretty good system for people who don’t travel every day, and a genuine improvement over Metcard.
(Those that do travel every day would be better off on Weekly/Monthly/Yearly Passes, which unfortunately Myki does not automatically upgrade you to. I travel every weekday and some weekends, so I’m on a Yearly Pass, bought at a discount through the PTUA Commuter Club.)