The removal of short term tickets will bring four distinct hurdles to casual public transport use

From December 29th, a month from today, basically all metropolitan public transport will require a Myki card, following the government decision in June 2011 to not implement short term tickets.

I expect regular users will adapt. Most of them already have. It’s the occasional users (and that includes locals as well as tourists) who will have four significant barriers to using the system.

Tram signage: No ticket sales on trams from 29th December / Myki is the only ticket you can use from 29th December

Confusion

As with any big change, there will initially be confusion due to out-of-date information floating around. Take for instance the widely regarded Lonely Planet, which until a couple of days ago, said on its “Getting Around” page for Melbourne:

Metcards allow you to travel on any and all Melbourne bus, train and tram services, even if you transfer from one to another. Tickets are available from Metcard vending machines and counters at train stations, on board trams (tram vending machines only take coins and only dispense City Saver, two-hour and daily tickets), from retailers displaying the Met flag (usually newsagents and milk bars) and the Met Shop. You can purchase tickets directly from the driver on bus services.

Obviously in time this information will get updated — just in the last few days Lonely Planet has updated the page with the latest information, including removing references to the Met Shop at the Town Hall, which closed last weekend, in favour of the new PTV Hub at Southern Cross.

(In contrast, the official Tourism Australia page on transport in Melbourne is hopeless. Its top link is some obscure coach company called Transport Network Australia, and there is no mention at all of PTV, Metro, Yarra Trams, Myki or even older entities such as Metlink. Meanwhile, Wikitravel is out of date, but not hopelessly so. Rough Guides mentions nothing but Metcard. Frommers is pretty much up to date, but with last year’s prices.)

But even if you do look at the official Myki info, can you figure out what to do?

Adapting from a system where you say up-front when and where you want to travel, and buying a ticket for precisely that, to one where you get a re-usable card, load money onto it, then use it up, is a big change, and even if you know precisely how the system works, it’s difficult.

For instance, you’re arriving in Melbourne for a day. You know to buy a Myki, and can find somewhere to do so. How much do you load onto it so you don’t have too much left over when you leave?

Let’s say it’s a Saturday. The maximum weekend fare is $3.30. So, you should load $3.30, right?

Well, no. For a Myki (using Myki Money) to touch-on, the balance must be above zero. So for travel for the day, you’d need to load $3.40 (at a machine, because they don’t take 5 cent coins — at a retailer you might well be able to load $3.35.)

This is not super-simple to understand.

Queue at Flagstaff for Metcards (after Metcard machines were removed)

Cost

Then of course there’s the cost of the cards. $6 for an adult/$3 for concession. It may not seem like much, and I suppose it isn’t… for one person.

But if you’re travelling in say a family of four, you’re suddenly looking at $18 plus the fares. For a short visit, or for locals who only use public transport once-a-year, this is a not insignificant outlay.

And if you load up too much money on the card/s, it’s a hassle to get the balance back — the only way to get a refund is by cheque, taking 21 days — next to useless for international travellers.

(I have Go cards from a trip to Brisbane last year which still have about $8 on them, for this reason, even though their refund system is a little easier to use.)

Availability

The third hurdle is availability.

While Myki cards and topup are widely available (moreso than in Perth), there are some significant gaps.

You can only buy buy only full-fare Myki cards at railway station/tram stop vending machines. To get a concession Myki you have to order it online or find a Premium station or retail outlet.

On trams, you won’t be able to buy or topup a Myki card at all. There will be no options to legally ride a tram unless you already have a loaded card.

This presents an enormous barrier to occasional users who want to catch a tram.

Tram ads: Myki is the only ticket you can use from 29th December

Psychological

Finally, something which I think gets forgotten…

Even if you figure out what you need to do, get over the cost issues, and it’s possible to find the card(s) you need…

I think there’s a psychological barrier to buying a re-usable card when you only want to use it once, or once in a blue moon. (No, the balance does not expire after 90 days.)

I know people who visit Brisbane and are happy to pay the much higher fare for paper tickets, knowing that Go cards are cheaper. So it is too with Myki at the moment, while Metcards are available.

Not everybody wants that kind of souvenir of Melbourne. Not every local or regular visitor will be able to tuck it away in the drawer and trust themselves to be able to find it again when they need it.

Conclusion

I’m sure the government would like every single Melburnian to have a loaded Myki card in their wallet, ready for use, and for every visitor to buy one too. The reality is somewhat different.

Encouraging new customers to use your product — initially occasionally, perhaps, with the hope they’ll switch more regularly — means it has to be easy to obtain.

I think there’s a real concern that the removal of all short term ticket options (particularly from trams) will make it too hard for new users to (legally) jump on board.

Already I know of one dedicated motorist who, looking for any reason to stick to his car, is using the “you can’t buy a single ticket” excuse — even though it’s not quite true yet.

How this plays out after December 28th is anybody’s guess. It will be fascinating to see what happens.

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37 thoughts on “The removal of short term tickets will bring four distinct hurdles to casual public transport use

  1. What I find hard to swallow about the lack of short term tickets being used is that it comes down to the expense of manufacturing the cards $0.40 cents per card or something. Firstly, why can’t this expense and then some simply be added to the fare, thus encouraging regular users to switch to a reusable card. Secondly, even if the cost is not added to the fare cost, I’m fairly confident the extra fare evasion from casual users who don’t want to jump through the various hoops will be larger than the costs saved from manufacturing the cards.

    All in all, it was a stupid move by the Baillieu government to scrap short term tickets and it will bite the taxpayer in the arse.

  2. Excellent post which highlights the ability of any government to make PT as unappealing as possible, even at a glacial rate. It also proves that those making decisions are very distant from the coal face.
    I’m constantly being asked if there is a one-way ticket by tourists, a basic, universal and easy to understand concept for us mere mortals. Nope. We had the two-section short trip, then the city-saver, neither of which were useful. A one-way ticket would be easily adapted and restore this utterly infuriating imbalance.

  3. Another well researched article, thanks, Daniel.
    I googled “Melbourne public transport” and got the PTV site as first hit. So hopefully interstate and overseas visitors (who understand English!) will be able to learn how PT and myki works before coming to Melbourne. Hopefully….

  4. It boggles the mind that the government doesn’t remember the outcry when Metcard was first introduced and you couldn’t buy *daily* tickets on-board trams. It was constantly raised and debated until eventually they had to give in and re-program the machines a few years later.

    And they think they will get away with providing *no* ticket at all now. I think there is going to be an absolute outcry and that this will damage the government’s chances of re-election quite significantly.

  5. Heading home from Adelaide today, having just made a few days use of short term ticket systems in Perth and Adelaide which work fine in conjunction with touch on touch off stored value cards, and across three modes (Perth ferry, Adelaide tram). While the Perth short term tickets are only visually checked, the Adelaide card readers make Metcard look very tired.

    Didn’t see any in Perth, but in Adelaide their ticket checkers have clearly NOT been hired for thuggishness, being older and helpful and not causing an immediate chill through their very presence. (Strangely those I saw were overwhelmingly fair haired.) Working alone at night, they were accompanied by a private security person who had no role in ticket checking and again wasn’t there to intimidate.

  6. Julian, I don’t think it is just the 40c cost of the card. It is also the huge cost of having people travelling around refilling the card dispensing hoppers in the machine and physically maintaining the machinery which requires working parts. It is easier to maintain machines with no moving parts. No myki card dispensing slot means one less hole to shove chewing gum into.

    As well, the government accumulates an enormous revenue selling all these cards which will be used once and then probably lost or mislaid, and keeps the unused balances on them.

    Melbourne’s system has always been rather obscure. If you buy a metcard at a station, you have to validate it. On a tram, you don’t. In Sydney it is the exact opposite of both of these.

  7. @roger – Why should tourists have to research how public transport tickets work before they get here? I can’t think of any time where I’ve felt it necessary to check how ticketing worked before I’ve visited a city, I just assume its fairly rational and deal with it when I get there. I’ve also never been anywhere where short term tickets aren’t an option!

    @enno – The vending machines are already equipped to dispense short term tickets (presumably they drop into the same space where change and receipts come out, so no chewing gum) as these were purchased when short term tickets were going to be available. Additionally, it is already necessary to send people out to machines in order to collect cash, so I see no reason why short term tickets can’t be restocked at the same time, adding no significant cost. Your point about moving part and maintenance is true to an extent, but how much extra will it cost to maintain one extra part of a machine that already must be serviced and maintained?

    If vending machines were installed on trams that would add significant overhead, as you’d have to deal with a lot more vending machines. However the Baillieu Government decided to scrap the tram vending machines before it decided to completely do away with short-term tickets: “Short-term myki tickets will still be available from some outlets, but not on trams.“; so this is a separate issue.

    Finally, if I’ve missed something significant and there really are significant extra costs, just incorporate them into the short term ticket price. Make a short term ticket $1.50 more than the reusable card equivalent.

  8. We did it right in Adelaide imo. The MetroCard and paper tickets working side by side. Not unlike Melbourne where it is/was two separate systems (Metcard and myki) barely working in unison.

    Using an off the shelf system made it easier but it was also so much cheaper. All validators are now dual mode. It also allows for easier transitions to new systems or the addition of new features (ie NFC).

    Paper tickets available are now only single trips (same as a 2 hour Metcard) and day trips (unlimited validations until early the next morning). The MetroCard replaced Multitrips (same as a 10 x 2 hour Metcard) so the prices are the same on the MetroCard (but you’re paying per trip as you go, you’re not buying 10 in advance). In the future its possible we will have longer term ticket options on the MetroCard (ie Monthly) – it is certainly possible.

    Also worth noting that paper tickets here are now more expensive. $4.90 for a regular single trip, or $3.10 on a regular MetroCard (old multitrip pricing). You also don’t need to carry a separate ‘interpeak’ ticket to get cheaper fares during 9:01am-3pm M-F (for Senior Card holders, interpeak is free and their new Seniors Cards double as MetroCards)

    The old Crouzet system was breaking down (no more parts) and was effectively full with no new ticket options being made simply because the Crouzet system had no more space for new ticket types.

    Tony Smith: thats normal here. While there may not always be a ticket inspector (they’re usually on in early mornings and late afternoons) trams and trains have private security at night.

    Meanwhile we will keep laughing at Melbourne and myki. We still have the issue of the cost of buying a MetroCard ($5/regular $3.50/concession plus compulsory minimum $5 top up at purchase of either card) but then its up to you to decide whether it is worth buying a MetroCard or sticking to single/day trip paper tickets

  9. Julian
    yes, fair point! My wife and I research every minute detail before we go on an interstate/overseas trip. Yes, not everyone wants to do this (or should need to do this).
    I hope the lasting memory of people visiting Melbourne isn’t being rugby-tackled by a ticket inspector.

  10. enno makes a good point, there’s a lot to consider and it’s never as straightforward as one simple thing. I’m sure a govt wouldn’t take this decision lightly.

  11. The frustrating thing for me, being a regular commuter, is the odd time I realised I’ve left my myki in a pocket or in another bag. Having to shell out $6 plus zone 1&2 fare is darn annoying and I end up with a collection of myki’s! I think I have three or four at home. Sure I should be more careful, but it just seems absurd not to have a short term ticket readily available.

  12. By the way, there are other cities where PT tickets can’t be bought on-board trams and buses. Rome (and other Italian cities) spring to mind:

    http://www.rome.info/transportation/ “Public transportation Tickets must be purchased in advance from tabacchis, newsstands, bars, or vending machines (exact change only!) at metro and major bus stops.”

    However, I’m not aware of any cities where there isn’t some kind of single use ticket option. Anybody know of any? (Singapore single tickets are apparently smartcard-based and include a S$1 deposit fee, but this is fully refundable.)

    PS: Just launched, a petition supporting single use tickets: http://mykisingles.com/

  13. I signed the petition but when I went to post the link on Facebook the subtitle “for those not wedded to public transport’ at first glance seemed anti public transport. There must be a clearer way to make the point it’s to make things more convenient.

  14. In London our hotel had a scheme where they could provide a hotel Oyster card for the length of your stay, and then add the cost of your travel to your bill. You were only charged the cost of the card if you did not return it. The Oyster card could then be reused by the hotel’s next visitor. The other bonus being that you could request the card on the off chance you might need it. As it turned out we did not use the scheme as we needed to travel by train after checking out. But it seems like a very practical solution for visitors needing a card for just a few days and save them the cost of buying tickets. Not to mention the savings to Oyster in re-cycling of the cards.

    I know there is a myki visitor pack, but I wonder if Melbourne hotels could offer such a scheme, or do they already?

  15. Interesting all this discussion – a few months back a couple from Perth were on a tram a tad confused by the Metcard/Myki thing and asked me what ticket is best for a day trip only for a tourist and I had to answer Metcard and it was the one about to be phased out as Myki didnt have any short term equivalent unless one wanted to purchase the card as per a regular user … if that made any sense to them!

  16. It’s going to be a free for all like when they removed all the conductors and didn’t check tickets for ages back in the ages.

    McHarrys in Geelong use a Myki like card, but you can get a single use one on the bus, works out fine.

    Also big ups for McHarry himself coordinating the bus services to/from the Queenscliff Music Festival last weekend.

  17. Singapore has a good system. You pay a dollar more than the fare and you get a charged smart card. Then you return the smart card at the end of your trip to get your dollar deposit back from the machine. Why couldn’t tourists/one-off travellers have an option like that using a Myki card?

  18. Just to let you know, you can get any remaining balance on a go card, plus the deposit (the $5 you paid when purchasing the card) back over the counter immediately at almost any newsagent, 7-11 or train station. And if you do decide to leave without getting that done first, any go card balance can be put into a bank account within three days. I work at a newsagent in Brisbane, and like my public transport info and general… stuff, so I read your blog and a few others frequently. It’s stunning to see the difference between Melbourne and Brisbane in terms of ticketing, and the sheer complexity of it. I’ve had my go card for 5 years and it’s worked flawlessly every time, and the ability to still purchase paper tickets is a big plus, especially as there was a point in time where they were going to be scrapped all together.

    Just a quick question, does the balance on a myki ever expire? I know that the cards themselves do, like with go cards.

  19. I keep banging on about this but….

    The Myki cards use the same technology as the paywave and paypass from Visa and Mastercard that are shipped with every new credit/debit card. It would be completely do-able to allow those cards to be used for single trip tickets and directly debit the money from the banks.

    Mobile phones are also shipping with the same technology built in and they could build an app to completely replace a myki card.

  20. Meanwhile the government is also earning interest from all these miscellaneous amounts of money on myki cards that people don’t bother to claim. I had a myki concession card with like 6cents on it. I became ineligible for continued concession, so i use my full fare one. I put the claim in for the remaining money and Myki sends me a cheque for the 6 cents! Cost more in postage and printing the cheque… not no mention the fiddle of depositing (had to post is to my bank, ING)

  21. John
    “Meanwhile the government is also earning interest from all these miscellaneous amounts of money on myki cards”
    In fairness, the same could be said with respect to (the multiple types of) Metcards you use to keep in your wallet.

  22. And John (other John!), how much interest do you think they earn on your 6 cents?! :-) I know, there’s thousands of cards, but Roger’s right, it’s no different to Metcard and that interest money pays for things that taxpayers would otherwise. You can now get money refunded to a myki too and not a cheque.

    Daniel – your petition website seems to be scaring people away from using public transport by saying how hard it is to get a card. Shouldn’t the PTUA be helping people use public transport by telling them where they CAN get a card? They’re sold almost everywhere a Metcard was and a lot of trams go past 7-Elevens or shops that sell them. The lack of short term tickets might not be everyone’s idea of a good idea, but people should work to how the system works.

  23. @Mike, good point, though it was a Coalition govt that allowed tram Metcard machines to initially not sell dailies, and an ALP govt that changed it. Perhaps something similar will happen again?

    @carly, I keep my Myki in my wallet, even during touch-on/off this is possible. Am considering moving a spare to my regular bag. Some people keep them on a lanyard with their work ID card.

    @par3182, it’s intended to highlight that the issue is about non-regular PT users.

    @John, you can now get the money from one Myki transferred to another one without it having to be paid out as a cheque.

  24. @roger “In fairness, the same could be said with respect to (the multiple types of) Metcards you use to keep in your wallet.”

    It was never an issue before. I never bought tickets in advance. Always bought as I go. My point is that over time that keeping of a positive balance leaves extra money than required on the card. It is just annoying.

    @Daniel, I did in fact request transfer without cheque – I filled out the form which required me to put the “new” card details in for the internal transfer – they still sent a cheque. This was probably a year ago. Maybe its changed more since that time

  25. Im going against the grain here, but I’d certainly advocate for a 100% electronic system…No paper tickets/short term tickets.

    Seems to be a lot of extra expense to cater to.

    -Infrequent users, who would still be better off under Myki/ are capable of getting one.

    -Tourists, who don’t vote :-)

    As far as I’m concerned, infrequent users should be the ones bearing the cost of their travel habits (By buying themselves a Myki), rather than the system being the ones to bear the cost of maintaining a 2nd layer of infrastructure dedicated to short term tickets.

    In Brisbane I’d like to see paper tickets eliminated, but instead sell preloaded GoCards on buses to make up for it.

    I don’t think the cost of cards to families visiting should be an issue, because they probably paid more in petrol or airfares and hotel accommodation to visit Melbourne, so a little bit more for the cards would be a small amount in comparison.

    That said, the cost of cards should be as low as possible. I paid $2USD for a TAP card in LA, so we can certainly do better than $6 per card.

    What proportion of tram stops will get ticket machines instead? I think having machines on the platforms, prior to boarding is the better approach, and this is what is being done on the Gold Coasts light rail system.

  26. @Gavin -What does whether tourists vote or not have to do with anything?

    By not having any option for short term tickets fare evasion will (not may) increase. The best methods for reducing fare evasion is a) make it as easy as possible to buy a ticket b) make it as difficult as possible not to.

    By scrapping short term tickets the buying tickets suddenly becomes a lot less easy, especially for occasional users/tourists/people that left their myki at home/people that have recently become concession holders/etc so we can expect a jump in fare evasion there. By scrapping top-up machines on trams the same is true (although that is a separate but related issue).

    As far as means to reduce the ability to not buy tickets, we will still have the same methods for stopping people that haven’t bought tickets, i.e. gates either manned (costly in itself) or left open for people using VLine tickets (an opportunity for any fare evader and another thing that was originally meant to be taken care of by myki); roaming swarms of ticket inspectors who simply can’t be on enough vehicles to seriously deter fare evasion; and barriers at all suburban stations that are open.

    Also, as I said to enno above, I seriously question the ‘big’ extra expense that short term tickets will supposedly incur, and any additional cost should simply be rolled into the cost of the short term ticket, i.e. make the short term ticket $0.40 or $0.80 or even $2.00 more than the reusable myki equivalent, whatever the extra costs are calculated at and then a little more just to discourage their use.

  27. “While Myki cards and topup are widely available (moreso than in Perth), there are some significant gaps. You can only buy full-fare Myki cards at railway station/tram stop vending machines. To get a concession Myki you have to order it online or find a Premium station or retail outlet.”

    Is the second sentence of this quote correct ? Should it say “You can buy only full-fare Myki cards…. ” With the “buy” and “only” swapped ?

  28. Gavin, if it was simply a question of cost, I would not disagree with you that infrequent users should still have to buy a myki. But it is not just a question of cost, it is a question of the sheer physical unavailability.

    How do you get one at short notice in outer suburbs where there is not train station, and there isn’t a 7-11 or newsagent on every second street corner either ? And how do families visiting from the countryside get one for their kids ?

  29. With respect to tourists not voting, what I mean is that in the end the Government would feel very little backlash if tourists didn’t like having to buy a Myki , so there’s little incentive for the Government to shell out and run a short term ticketing system to cater to them.
    Much simpler to say “Buy a myki”, and have it as the only option on the table. I mean, What are they gonna do about it? Sometimes having fewer options is a good thing.

    And before someone pulls out the whole “it will deter tourism if they don’t like it” argument..Well, I was recently in Cairns using buses there and disliked having to find change and pay for paper bus tickets the old way each time, very inconvenient compared to go card. But would it stop me visiting Cairns again? No!

    People don’t make travel plans based around ticketing systems (Well, maybe some train/bus foamers might lol?)

    They may fare evade, but then again, for trams in particular there is no cheap way to sell tickets onboard at present, unless you want to purchase close to 500 ticket machines to install on on each tram, or employ a conductor on every service.

    For short notice in the outer suburbs, on buses at least, it would be very simple to sell preloaded Myki’s for $10 or so.

    Anyway, the point is, you only have to buy it once (At least until it expries after several years). Initially there would be a bit of complaint as people are forced to get their first myki, but that would drop off rapidly as most of the population get one.

    In the scheme of things, being made to use a myki might be disliked by some, but at the end of the day there are far bigger burdens on passengers to PT use, such as low frequency and uncoordinated timetables, but these occur on a daily basis compared to a one off myki purchase. I worry more about those other types of things.

  30. @John, yes, the processes have improved in the last 12 months.

    @Gavin, we don’t know how many tram stops will get machines. Probably 2/3 of CBD stops already have them.

    Buses will sell a preloaded Myki – I think it’ll be $10 for an adult Myki with $4 loaded (eg generally enough for the first two-hours of travel). This will keep bus sales ticking over until they get the full consoles operational to allow top-ups on-board.

    The psychological barrier to buying a reusable card you only want to use once should not be underestimated. We’re seeing it in Melbourne now, with no single-use ticket available at stations. Even in cases where it’s cheaper to buy a Myki and top it up (eg weekend fare vs Zone 1+2 daily) people don’t want to do it.

    Cost… it’s unlikely to drop under $6 (adult) while you can touch-on with as little as 1 cent on the card, then travel in two zones (about $5.50). If you make the card too cheap, people will do that then throw it away, costing the system a huge amount in lost revenue — just like Brisbane’s Air Train loophole, which I’ve heard people boasting about doing.

    A refund system might get around that, and might help the psychological barrier too.

    And yes, I’m more concerned about Melbourne locals than tourists. Public transport has to increase its market share among people who usually drive, including in the well-served tram/train suburbs. As the whole blog post tries to bring across, it’s not just a cost problem, nor is it just an availability problem.

    @enno, thanks, corrected.

  31. @Ken, that was the original plan. As per the link near the start of the blog post, in 2011 they decided not to do it. Reasons include the 30-40 cent cost of each ticket, and the cost of installing them on trams.

    Note that sometime after the Melbourne change, it’s expected they’ll withdraw short term tickets from areas that currently have them, eg suburban buses in Geelong, Seymour, Ballarat, Bendigo and Latrobe Valley. They’ll all go Myki-only too.

  32. Perhaps the minimum touch on amount could be changed to the lowest fare? Don’t really see it as a huge loss to take away the ability to go into the negative…When you have something else similar like a prepaid phone, you aren’t allowed to go negative.

    In Perth you need to have a 2 section fare worth of credit to be allowed to tag on ($1.90)
    Good to hear buses sell preloaded cards!

    The gist is that with the inital purchase price, you shift more propotion of the cost to the starting credit, and less to the card itself.

    I do think the psychological barrier is funny in a way…people might happily buy a bottle of coke or water, knowing full well the plastic bottle will be thrown away in the end, but they cant do the same to the card when visiting, despite it containing less plastic.
    A store gift card is also something you can only use once, but they are popular.

    I think with the psychological barrier argument then a big stick approach is best…If they don’t like the idea, well too bad, nobody said they had to .As the saying goes “What are you gonna do about it tough guy?”.

    Some might stamp their feet and boycott PT on the principle, but in the scheme of things there just aren’t that many of them we’d lose.

  33. @Daniel, I take it you don’t have any credit cards with RFID chip? I can’t touch on with both my myki and Visa cards in my wallet at the same time because the reader complains, so the myki ends up in my pocket. I’ve only lost one so far, but at least it was registered so I kept my credit.

  34. @Tim, I’ve got two RFID credit cards. I keep the Myki as far as I can from them, on the other side of the fold, and partially unfold the wallet to hold the half with the Myki to the reader. Works every time.

    Apparently the RFID standard does allow equipment to distinguish between types of cards, but surprise surprise it’s not implemented properly with Myki.

  35. I also keep my Myki in a different fold in my wallet from my credit card and just unfold my wallet to touch on. The ticket inspector’s scanner also reads the card in my wallet without me having to remove it for them. I only actually remove my card from my wallet when I reload my pass.

  36. Hey Daniel: A bit more about Singapore.

    They’ve just started moving away from their old plasticised tickets (which you pay a $1 deposit for, but can have refunded at a machine on completion of travel) to a new paper smartcard technology with RFID that looks suspiciously similar in form to the old myki short term paper tickets.

    If we are to assume that the reason why myki short term paper tickets with RFID was dumped was because of the cost of the production of the cards (claimed at 40c, was it not?), then maybe the solution is what they did in Singapore, which was made the card semi-rechargable.

    Now, this works on Singapore’s trip system which is very decile (rounded to 10c, unlike Myki), but…

    On issue, the card charges fare +10c for trip one.
    Trip 2 you add, you go to machine, select destination station/zone, and add fare and it loads a trip.
    Trip 3, you go to machine, again select destination, pay fare… but you get your 10c deposit back (this encourages more durable use of the card.
    Trip 4 and 5 is standard fare again.
    Trip 6, you enjoy a 10c discount (again, encouraging longer term use of card).

    And, you can refund this type of Singapore card at a SMRT passenger service centre in case you load a trip, then don’t use it.

    Given is is RFID technology on paper card, one has to wonder how far you can make a short term ticket work… but the Singaporeans are confident with about 6. Maybe it could store up to 10, but who knows.

    Surely, myki could be modified to handle a similar situation and recycling to ameliorate the cost of ticket production by extending single use paper RFID tickets to ‘shorter term use’ tickets like Singapore uses.

    Given the difference in myki fares, surely a short term ticket could be manufactured where people pay the myki fare (rounded up to nearest 10c), plus an additional, say, 20c single purchase fee. Single use zone 1 metcards were $4, while myki is $3.28 currently, so a fare of, say $3.50 for a ticket that is reusable a few times by myki recharging is pretty good.

    Because paper RFID tickets can be easily identified by chip/serial number range, when a person goes to add a fare at a myki machine before travel, they could be charge (for example) the rounded up fare by myki machine (example, $3.30) — this would also eliminate the cannot touch on due to zero balance issue (as it could be set to deduct only $3.28 at end of travel, allowing a re-touch on).

    And, then, keep allowing reuse and recharging of single use ticket to help absorb cost of ticket production.

    If such a system was adopted in Melbourne, (and considering metcard has a production cost), cost recovery could be achieved.

    On a different note… Meantime, I have a very special short-term ticket from Perth. :) :) It’s given out to (from what I understand) conference and convention visitors in their welcome packs.

    It is not paper, it is single use. So how much do plastic cards actually cost to produce?

    In an ideal world, maybe myki should just issue a plastic card at any machine, for a bare minimum fee or just for free. If you were buying a short term ticket, and it was plastic, and reusable anyway, wouldn’t that just make that problem go away?

    And, yes, need myki machines that issue mykis on trams. Always should have been done that way.

    Here’s a picture of both those cards…
    http://www.squack.net/cards.jpg

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