Today’s factually incorrect #Myki rant article in The Age didn’t help
I didn’t think I’d write two Myki blog posts in one day, but…
Let me briefly go through the mistakes in this opinion article from The Age today then I’ll get to the real point of this post.
”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, goes the old adage.
The claim in government circles is that Metcard is broke — at least almost — and needed significant investment to keep it running reliably. I don’t know if they’ve ever presented the evidence to that effect, but given regular cases of cards getting jammed in validators, there seems to be something in it.
The grounds for a new ticketing system were there, if it was likely to: (1) allow passengers to use $5, $10 and $20 notes on trams
Actually the original plan was for Myki to include ticket machines on trams which would accept notes.
It is unknown just how many people have been fined after boarding a tram holding a $10 note, only to discover that a $10 note – legal tender everywhere else in Australia – didn’t buy a tram ticket.
Legal tender does not mean every business selling something has to accept every form of Australian currency. See: No, the law doesn’t demand that Myki accept 5 cent coins, or that Metcard machines accept notes.
Picture this myki utopia: … so you simply whip out your phone, log on to the myki website and transfer credit on to the card, before touching on before the tram has even reached the next stop.
I wonder how he thinks the transaction gets from the Myki web site onto your card? Magic? Actually it gets transferred via wifi when trams (and buses) are in the depot… which is why they say it could take up to 24 hours.
(They should look at upgrading to mobile data of some kind if it’s possible given the load, and at the very least they should make sure updates to fixed readers are available within an hour or two.)
When you transfer funds into your card via the internet, you need to wait up to three days for those funds to be available.
Myki themselves say 24 hours (although they hedge their bets and sometimes say “at least 24 hours”), though I’ve seen it work in about two hours.
Until now, charities, community legal centres and other non-government organisations which provide services to people who are homeless or on extremely low incomes simply provided clients with daily Metcard tickets where the need arose. Now, they are faced with the prospect of providing a $6 myki card, plus fare, to each client for each journey.
I’m not sure why he assumes those people would need a full fare $6 card. Aren’t they more likely to need a $3 concession card (provided they have the relevant proof, such as a Health Care Card)?
The bottom of the article notes Mr Marks is a solicitor with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service — perhaps the Transport Ticketing Authority hasn’t approached them about this. I know the TTA has been talking to a lot of other NGOs on this topic — for over a year now.
Later in the article Mr Marks derides the Myki Fares & Ticketing Manual for its lack of brevity. If he had read it properly, he’d have found on page 43 it details the Day Pass.
As it happens, I’m a great supporter of the Manual. Every PT system in the world has a myriad of business rules behind it. The difference is in Victoria they’ve put it out in the open so anybody can read it. Kudos to the Victorian Government for this.
when they ”touch off”, users are not told the amount myki is taking out of their account. They are only given the balance remaining on their account.
This is completely wrong. All Myki devices (apart from the old Metcard gates which are fast vanishing) tell you the current balance as well as the fare just deducted.
On the bright side, at least he didn’t raise the 90 day myth.
My point: factually incorrect rants like this are not helping
Myki has problems — some of them, such as the lack of a short term ticket, are really serious.
Mr Marks raises this, but his point is lost in all the misinformation, which undermines the whole article.
The factual errors, which should have been avoidable with a little research (you know, the type of research someone should do when writing for a major newspaper), mean the government (and I mean both the TTA, which is responsible for implementing government policy, and the Minister’s Office, which is responsible for setting it) will probably have dismissed the entire piece out of hand. It gives them the chance to say “well, there’s lots of errors here, the whole thing is rubbish.”
Myki is costing $1.5 billion over ten years, and the level of debate on this should be better.
The real truth is bad enough.
OK… next post tomorrow totally non-PT-related.
Update Friday: Russell has posted a response to this blog post.