How it should work is this:
- You make a payment via the web site
- The web site and central database sends out a message to all the Myki vending machines and scanners saying your card has been topped-up. While it’s supposed to take anything up to 24 hours, it’s sometimes much quicker. But there have been numerous cases of it taking longer, or the transaction disappearing completely.
- You present your Myki card at a vending machine or scanner. It sees the waiting topup message, and writes the updated balance to the card (which is the reference point for what your balance is and for your transactions).
- A message goes back to the central database to say the topup has been received by the card, so the account balance there can be updated.
Fine, that’s fairly standard request-response stuff. And to the user it’s conceptually pretty simple. (London’s Oyster is similar, but more limited, as you have to nominate the station where the topup is to be sent.)
The catch? Only one topup can be in progress at a time. That is, if you do a second topup online, it waits until the first is fully processed before the second one gets sent to the machines, and thus to the card. Under normal circumstances this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, given you wouldn’t normally send through two topups in close succession.
So anyway, my first couple of tests went through okay.
But a topup I did on the 2nd of March has reached the card, but got stuck on the last stage of the process. The confirmation of its receipt is somewhere between the vending machine that received it, and the central database.
This in turn has blocked a second online topup that I did on the 4th of March. More than two weeks ago. I can still use the card, and topups at the machines will work fine, but any more online topups won’t work until the that stuck transaction is cleared.
It was suggested that I should travel with the card, to see if that would unclog it. I did so yesterday. That travel history has been transmitted back to the central database and is visible on the web site, but still the topup transaction is stuck.
So hopefully you can understand when I say yet again: Don’t use Myki. But if you must, for gawds sake avoid online topups.
(The other card, which I actually use, and only topup at machines, is going okay. My comments from the end of January still stand.)