Sydney’s introducing a new public transport fare system called “MyZone”, from April.
At first I pretty much believed the name and the colourful graphics on the web site, which implied that it’s a Melbourne-like multi-modal zone fare system, working on every train, bus, tram and ferry.
But it isn’t. It’s mostly still paying by distance — but with a flatter structure than at present, with only 5 different train fares, 3 bus fares and 2 ferry fares. You will still be able to get TravelTen tickets, but you’ll still pay twice if your trip involves a change of vehicle. (Well, except changing trains I assume.)
Apart from not being integrated across services (just having to change vehicles and wait should be penalty enough, let alone a financial penalty as well), the problem with this system of fare stages is it’s almost impossible to know what you’ll pay in advance.
They do have combined zone tickets, but it’s like some kind of Frankenstein creation. The MyMulti tickets look at first glance similar to Melbourne’s zone tickets which are valid on any vehicle, but they’re not. For a start the only daily version covers the whole of greater Sydney, and costs whopping $20 — designed to replace the pretty-much-tourists-only Day Tripper.
Weekly, Quarterly, Yearly MyMulti tickets look more reasonably priced, and simple, with three zones, but there’s a catch: like the current crop of TravelPass tickets, they’re designed for people travelling to/from Sydney’s CBD and inner suburbs. If you travel say from Katoomba to Blacktown every day, which is entirely within the MyMulti Zone 3, then tough: the only way you can use it is to pay for all three zones.
On the upside, these new tickets apply on Sydney’s private bus services, which until now have had their own unique fare structures. On the down side, none of these new tickets will be valid on the Monorail (hardly a surprise) or the Sydney Light Rail (a silly omission). And using the Airport line stations will still incur extra fees.
So all in all, it simplifies things, but it’ll still be more complicated than it should be. But we shouldn’t expect too much: they’re going to be using the same ticket machines they already have, so it’s hardly surprising they haven’t been able to completely overhaul the fare system.
As one commentator said, “they’ve just moved into the 1980s.”
Given their Smartcard project T-Card failed because of the myriad of different fares, I do wonder if this isn’t the precursor to having another go at it.
Good luck to them. If they do go down that path, here’s hoping it doesn’t turn into another T-Card… or another Myki, for that matter.
- Daily Telegraph: New structure means cheaper fares
- Positive reaction from Action for Public Transport, the local advocacy group
- Sydney Morning Herald: Inner-city commuters hit by hefty fare shake-up