From the Office of the Minister for Public Transport
Public transport customers will soon have a new ticketing system — with a distinctive new name and look — that will assist people’s use of Melbourne’s public transport service, Public Transport Minister Alan Brown said today.
The new ticket, to be called Metcard, will be the key to automated ticketing that will begin its introduction in Melbourne in late 1994/early 1995.
Metcard will be a credit card sized ticket, with a magnetic stripe that will be programmed with information about what type of ticket has been purchased.
Every kind of ticket currently available will be available in Metcard.
This will include the Metcard 10 that offers up to 14 percent discounts and a plastic Metcard with a reprogrammable microchip for easy use by people with disabilities, students and yearly passholders.
Metcard will be able to be purchased at all train stations 24 hours a day, on all trams and buses, and up to 1000 retail outlets.
Mr Brown said this would be a vast improvement on current ticket-selling facilities.
“Metcard will be of enormous assistance to our customers, and has been chosen only after detailed research into the needs of all public transport users, including the disabled, school students and senior citizens,” Mr Brown said.
“To ensure that people understand the benefits of Metcard, a major promotional campaign will begin later this year — about six weeks before the start of Phase 1 of the introduction of automated ticketing.
“Information about Metcard will also be letterboxed in every home as automated ticketing is introduced to public transport throughout Melbourne over an 18 month period.”
Mr Brown said the first stage of automated ticketing will begin with the installation of ticket vending machines on the Glen Waverley and Alamein lines and on trams operating from the Camberwell Depot. Buses operating in these areas will also accept Metcard.
“Melbourne is set to introduce an automated ticketing system which has proven successful in Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong and other major transit systems,” Mr Brown said.
“To ensure our customers get the best service, Melbourne’s public transport service will have an automated ticketing system that is specially designed for all three modes of transport.”
Mr Brown said automated ticketing would also provide valuable information on travel patterns to ensure that public transport met the needs of commuters.
All sounds quite familiar, doesn’t it — even down to calling Metcard “the key”. Not to mention the plastic microchip (and contactless!) cards that never showed up except for staff.
Yesterday they announced that Myki will be arriving in Melbourne by the end of 2009. Of course it’s true that it’ll bring some advantages over Metcard (you’d hope so, given the $1.3 billion cost), and some disadvantages too — scanning-off on each trip! I can hardly wait!
One can only hope that we won’t be going through all this expense again in 15 years. In fact avoiding ever having to do this again is said to be part of the huge cost; building the system from scratch to have open interfaces so bits and bobs can be easily bolted on in the future.
Mind you, it can’t be that hard to do with Metcard, given the old station gates are getting Myki readers on them.