Another in my collection of photos from ten years ago…
Murrumbeena, in the days of M>Train. I quite liked the logo and slogan (“Moving Melbourne”) — less sure about the colours, and of course the splitting of the network into different operators was silly.
On the 26/8/2003, my first TV appearance on behalf of the PTUA. I was nervous as hell.
From a conversation with my sister, an occasional PT user, I’m guessing there are some discounts around the place that people don’t know about. The good news is that with Myki being forced down everybody’s throats, if you can get over the hurdle of getting a card (now $6 full fare, $3 concession), it’s easier than ever before to get the discounts.
This is just a summary, and is aimed at Melbourne, though some of the rules apply elsewhere in Victoria. There are various exclusions (for instance no free travel on some services such as Skybus or Countrylink). Click on the relevant link for all the details.
Kids aged 3 and under ride for free.
Anybody with a permanent disability which means they can’t use tickets can get an Access Travel Pass, which means they ride for free.
There are various other free passes for (some) war veterans, companions/carers, and also some retired public transport staff.
There’s free travel on weekends for Victorian Seniors — see below.
Note that Myki cards need a positive balance (above zero) for the free travel to work (eg if you owe them money, you don’t get a free ride).
Concession fares are generally 50% of the full (adult) fare.
Kids from 4 to 16 can use a concession Myki (without needing a concession card to prove entitlement).
Kids 17 and older who are in fulltime study (secondary or tertiary) need to get a VPT (Victorian Public Transport) Student Concession Card (costing $9) to be eligible to use a concession Myki. You also need one of these if using a Student Pass (discounted 6-month or yearly ticket).
Anybody with a Health Care Card (with a Victorian address) can travel on concession fares — these cards are broadly available to people on limited incomes. This is helpful for some postgrad or part-time students who are ineligible for student concessions.
If you have a Victorian Seniors Card you can get a Seniors Myki, which gives concession fares on weekdays, capped to the Seniors Daily $3.60 fare (2013: $3.80), and free travel on weekends.
There are various other concessions for (some) war veterans and widows, and asylum seekers.
From interstate or overseas
Seniors from Interstate can use a standard concession Myki, but can’t get a Seniors Myki. It’s not clear to me if seniors from overseas are entitled to any discount at all — although this page implies all “non-Victorian” Seniors can get a concession Myki, but this is not reflected in the Fares & Ticketing Manual, which talks about Victorian and interstate/Australian seniors or pension card holders.
The rules for kids appear to apply to those from interstate or overseas — free rides for 3 and under, concession fares 4 to 16. No discount for 17 and over, as you have to be a student in Victoria.
Despite continuing campaigns, international students aren’t eligible for concessions.
The rules about 2-hour tickets being valid all night after 6pm still apply to Myki: the fare applies until 3am.
Free rides apply on Metro electric train services if your trip is finished by 7am. You can’t just travel without a ticket; you have to get a Myki and touch-on and touch-off so you can prove your trip was finished.
(Although it’s advertised as 7am, technically the cut-off time is actually 7:15am; this is to allow for delayed trains. If your regular trip arrives at 7:10am, then you lucked out. Just don’t complain on the odd day it’s delayed and you have to pay. And don’t complain that you have to get a Myki and touch-on and touch-off to get the free travel. Boo hoo, you’re breaking my heart.)
Weekend and public holiday discounts
On weekends and public holidays, the old Sunday Saver/Weekend Saver discounts apply, meaning you pay no more than $3.30 for zones 1+2 (2013: $3.50). If you’ve been driving on the weekend to a zone 1 station to avoid the zone 1+2 fare, you might as well not bother.
Note that it applies on all gazetted Melbourne public holidays. This is a genuine improvement over Metcard, which didn’t offer public holiday discounts.
For Myki Pass single zone holders, you get a discount on the second zone if you use it. For some crazy reason it’s equal to the 2-hour fare from the zone you paid for, so a Zone 1 Passholder going into zone 2 on a weekend gets charged 2 cents: the weekend $3.30 cap minus the $3.28 2 hour zone 1 fare… (I think it would have made more sense to apply the per day Pass fare that was originally paid — $4.02 in the case of zone 1. Oh well.)
(2013: Both the Z1 2-hour fare and the weekend daily cap are now $3.50, so a full fare Z1 pass holder pays nothing extra to travel in Z2 on weekends.)
Normally full fare Myki cards cost $6, and concessions $3.
But some types of Myki are issued free: these include the various free travel passes listed above, as well as to Victorian Seniors, and also Commuter Club (see below).
And of course the discounts most people do know about: if you’re travelling 4-5 days or more per week, check out Myki Pass options: 7 days (eg a weekly fare for the same price as 5 individual days using Myki Money) or 28-365 days.
And of course if you’re travelling most days and are prepared to pay a year in advance for the best discount possible, check if your employer offers Commuter Club (some will even offer it via salary deduction), or get it via the PTUA.
Beat the price rise
Another 5% + CPI rise has not yet been confirmed, but is expected in January. It used to be you could buy Metcards in advance to beat the rise. You can’t do this anymore — Myki Money fares are charged at the time you travel, not when you load the card.
But you can buy Myki Pass fares in advance. You can have two on a single Myki card at once; the current one and the next one.
And keep in mind if you want to buy a Commuter Club yearly to beat the price rise, orders take a couple of weeks to organise, and some organisations only place orders once a month…
When the price rise was officially announced last December, there was only about a fortnight during which Commuter Club orders were accepted at the 2011 price… in that fortnight the PTUA processed around 160 orders (most of them from new members), running the volunteers ragged by the end, and pumping over $180,000 through — it felt like we’d opened a money laundering service.
So if you’re going to order one, my advice is get in early.
So, what did I miss?
Tonight’s PTUA Annual General Meeting means today is my last day as President.
I’ll miss a lot of it, particularly dealing with the media, and meeting/discussing/debating with industry and political players (the former in particular often providing information that should be out in public, but isn’t.
(Over the years, I suspect, the media has been increasingly sympathetic as more and more journos, many of whom work in the CBD, have switched to using PT themselves.)
And I’ll definitely miss being able to help shape the debate – I’m thinking of the push towards frequent and better connected services, both ideas which are now generally agreed upon as needing fixing.
Without wishing to offend the good people in radio media, I can’t say I’ll miss the early morning radio calls, nor trying to juggle multiple things at once to do a live chat with Faine or Mitchell on the way to work (though I gotta say, live radio is a buzz — great for keeping you alert).
And while I’m always happy for a chat with people, those who just intently stare at me on the street… yeah, I won’t miss that so much.
What’s been fascinating is the shift away from the attitude that PT is only for the minority who can’t drive, plus CBD workers. It’s part of Melbourne’s transition to a big city, but organisations like PTUA have helped keep reminding governments that investment in better services has to keep up.
It will be critical for the new team to stay on message — to keep using the sort of language which the average punter sitting at home reading the paper or watching the news finds themselves agreeing with — whether they use PT or not themselves.
Thanks to those who got in touch (by whatever medium) when it was announced I was stepping down.
There were a lot of very nice tweets. If you’ll indulge me and let me stroke my own ego for a moment, here are some of my faves:
Congrats to Daniel Bowen on a decade of great advocacy for PT: http://www.theage.com.au/…
– @VeoliaTrans – 12:03 PM – 17 Sep 12
– that’s Veolia TransDev, a merger of former operators of Melbourne’s Connex and Yarra Trams (1999-2009)
After nearly 10 years, @ptua president Daniel Bowen will stand down as head of the commuter group. More in @mxmelbourne. @danielbowen
– @mxmelbourne – 2:44 PM – 17 Sep 12
– for those not on the eastern seaboard, MX is the free afternoon commuter newspaper. Some deride their emphasis on showbiz news, but they do have a mix of wire stories and their small team of actual local reporters are good guys. PT passengers are their core demographic, and they’ve run many PTUA stories over the years.
Congratulations to @danielbowen. Stepping down after (almost) ten years as voice of the commuter. Many could learn from his approachability!
– @gboreham – 1:19 PM – 17 Sep 12
– Gareth Boreham is the former state political reporter for channel 10, including during the height of the trains crisis. Gareth’s comment on approachability is an important one for volunteer activist groups to remember. Mainstream media works to deadlines. For maximum effectiveness you need to understand and work within those deadlines, and foster good working relationships with the journos.
In the past couple of weeks before officially finishing up, I’ve managed to push out the door a couple of things that have been in the pipeline on and off for months, which I hope will be of interest:
An update to the study of 15 minute services, showing how few (buses in particular) meet the standard, and the huge gaps in Melbourne with no frequent PT, even in peak hour.
A new set of maps showing how the City Loop works, to try and highlight the silliness of so many confusing patterns.
Those of you who are PTUA members, hope to see you at the AGM tonight, and good luck to the incoming PTUA executive and committee team.
Yes it’s true. I have decided not to renominate as the PTUA’s President, and will stand down at the Annual General Meeting on October 11th.
Basically, after nine years, I need a break.
It’s been fun, but all good things and all that. We’ll find out who will take over at the AGM — nominations aren’t due for a couple of weeks, but my assumption is that current secretary Tony Morton will nominate.
I’m still interested in transport issues, of course, and I’ll keep tweeting and blogging on them.
- Monday’s MX had a short article
- Tuesday’s Age had a print version of the above
- Australasian Bus & Coach
- Alan Davies (The Urbanist, Crikey blog): What next for the Public Transport Users Association? — a thought-provoking article. Sounds like Alan didn’t like the term “chief complainer” — I was highly amused by it, myself.
A few years ago they fixed what was probably Melbourne’s most confusing bus route, but plenty of others are still running confusing, spaghetti-like routes around the suburbs. Often your trip from A to B travels via the rest of the alphabet.
A PTUA report out today tries to measure how much buses meander, by comparing the route distance to the quickest possible road route from start to end.
On average, bus routes were 70% longer than the direct alternative …
Some 20% of Melbourne bus routes were so indirect that the route length was more than double the shortest distance by road.
This results in routes which are not only confusing, they are slow to use, and generally infrequent (because more buses are needed to run the route if it is longer than it needs to be). The result is many bus routes are unattractive to those with an option of driving — resulting in under-used buses and increased traffic on the roads.
There is some hope: Smartbus. These have shown that more direct, frequent services are very popular, including in outer-suburban areas often thought to be the exclusive domain of the car.
In the Age story today on the report (and covering some other bus issues), PTV (which has expressed interest in the past about improving bus route efficiency) defends the current position:
…Public Transport Victoria said bus routes had to provide a balancing act between delivering speedy cross-town travel and serving locals on shorter trips.
Ah yes, but the current services aren’t very efficient at serving locals on shorter trips either.
For example, to get from Moorabbin (the area around the shops/station) to Southland, a distance of 3km (or about 5 minutes in a car), your choices are:
- Bus 823, a bus direct down the highway taking 8 minutes, but it only runs once an hour on weekdays, and not at all on weekends
- Bus 811/812, which goes via the industrial areas of Moorabbin, taking between 15 and 22 minutes (at least it runs every day, though only every 30 minutes on weekdays, and only hourly on weekends)
- Bus 825, via Sandringham, Black Rock and Mentone, and taking 40 minutes (also runs every day; every 20 minutes on weekdays, but only hourly on weekends)
- Or catch the train to Cheltenham (since as yet there is no Southland station), then walk for 15 minutes, or choose from one of half-a-dozen buses, departing from numerous different stops, and none of them timed to meet the train
No wonder most people drive.
But solution of our problems involves hard cash. Of this, at present, public transport is getting less and less.
(Minister for Transport) Mr Wilcox emphasises that Government action depends largely on public demand. If such demands are not made funds go elsewhere.
He says that while the motor car owner readily provides funds for road building, there is no public transport users’ association to make demands on the Government.
(Found by Marita; emphasis added. It’s unknown if Frank Casey was partially inspired by this comment.)
Yearly: Beat the price rise
Just bought my new Yearly ticket via PTUA Commuter Club. It’ll take a couple of weeks to arrive, but it means I’ll beat the March 12th price rise.
PTUA Commuter Club Yearly plus membership: Z1 = $1090 (order by end of Feb; payment must clear by March 3rd). Will go up about 3% after that.
365 day Myki Pass (Yearly Metcards are no longer on sale): Z1 = $1170 until March 11th, $1202.50 after.
12 x 30 day Myki Passes: Z1 = $1332 (if bought after the March 12th price rise; Metcard prices are almost identical).
Myki gates at Melbourne Central
From what I’ve seen the new gates at Parliament and Melbourne Central work well most of the time, but when I went past, one was out of service (with a red light) and another was being problematic.
And at the end of the video you’ll see two fare evaders follow a lady through. There were no staff watching, so they appeared to get away with it.
First impressions after playing the free demo version of Cities In Motion
Very nice graphics. A few options to adjust settings, but nothing seems to really speed it up. Demo works on my PC’s 256Mb video card despite the system requirements claiming it needs 512Mb.
Clearly a lot of scope in the simulator for playing with different options, setting up routes etc.
Just a teensy bit clunky in some ways, eg having to lay dual tram track everywhere, and having to end all (tram/bus) routes in a loop.
Can’t see a way to create bus/tram lanes. My buses kept getting stuck in bad traffic.
Not totally convinced it’s a big leap forward over the old Traffic Giant game, but it’s only $20 to buy (online; don’t know about retail), and obviously is still under development, with an active user community/forum.
A bit of fun for any transit geek. Provided I can verify the full game will run on my PC, I’ll buy it.
(Some demo download sites require signup/membership — this one doesn’t)
The PTUA’s Annual General Meeting was last night. There was some optimism amongst the committee and membership about where public transport is going since the change of government, but even before that, the political debate has been moving along nicely.
An example we talked about last night…
At a parliamentary hearing last year as part of the Train Services inquiry, the view that buses don’t connect properly with trains was flatly denied by the government.
Mr BOWEN — You will certainly find that the buses to Daylesford still connect properly with the trains at Woodend, but if you try that in any of Melbourne’s suburbs, more likely than not you will find that there is no connection and no attempt at coordinating bus and train services.
Mr VINEY — That is not right. That is just not right.
I’m not sure what planet Mr Viney is living on. Perhaps the only train/bus connection he has ever encountered in Melbourne is one of the two that are specifically coordinated. I think the rest of us fully well know that it’s not the case elsewhere — and this is a major barrier to public transport not playing a greater role, because most suburbs will never have train lines, and most trips around greater Melbourne can’t be made on one service alone.
A subsequent study showed that in fact, coordination largely doesn’t happen because nobody is responsible for it.
The debate shifted. It became generally accepted that services don’t connect. I knew this was the case when I heard Steve Price on MTR, a man who I’m betting probably doesn’t catch a lot of buses, mention it explicitly.
The government went from denial to excuses.
Mr Pakula was questioned about why the Government was unable to get bus and train times co-ordinated.
“It isnt simple to co-ordinate every bus with every time,” Mr Pakula said.
“Buses and trains run at different frequencies.”
Who’s responsible for setting the frequencies? The government of course.
But this is progress. The first step to fixing a problem is to accept there is a problem.
And the Coalition realise it. This and other campaigning this year has helped push them into supporting a Public Transport Authority. It’s not expensive, but it has a lot of potential to improve things. Provided they get it right, it’s going to be an interesting, exciting year in public transport.
As for the AGM… there were no other
suckers nominations for President, so it looks like it’s me for another year!
And a special thanks to Vaughan Williams, who is retiring from the Committee after some twelve years hard labour, and was awarded Life Membership in recognition of this.