The government announced today that Myki will be valid on trams and buses from Sunday.
Finally, Myki goes multi-modal in Melbourne!
Assuming they stick to the rollout plan they had last year, which was pretty logical, it’ll go like this:
Ignore the dates — as of Sunday we’ll be at stage 1, where it’s valid on trams, trains and buses. (I guess that means all this year we’ve been at stage zero.) It’s only after that happens that they can seriously start switching people from Metcard to Myki.
So next they’ll increase availability via retailers. And they’ll start switching station booking offices (line by line) and station vending machines from Metcard to Myki, and then they’ll start switching buses and trams. It’s a deliberately slow rollout, to gradually increase the number of people using the new system vs the old, and so they can deploy the Myki Mates along the way to show people how it works.
As lines switch they’ll start taking out the Metcard vending machines, but existing Metcard tickets will still be valid until at least Easter next year, depending on how smoothly it goes in the next few months. (Yearly tickets will get switched over later this year.)
So next week they may not immediately be actively pushing people to switch to Myki. As such, there’s no free Myki card offer right now, though I’d expect one in the coming months when the next push starts. So no rush to buy a card if you didn’t get one earlier when it was free.
V/Line will come later. Which is fair enough; doing all remaining modes in one hit would be unwise given I’d expect some glitches, just like there were on day one of the trains. Trains are mostly running smoothly now — perhaps the biggest problem is the gates and standalone scanners have inconsistent response times.
So, what’ll happen on Sunday, and on Monday? Probably not much. I expect a few extra people will use it, but most still won’t have cards.
At the doorstop at lunchtime, the Opposition was claiming that inspectors can’t check Myki cards. That may have been the case until recently, but I know for a fact at least some of them are now carrying portable readers, because I encountered two of them (on two separate trains) on Saturday. They successfully checked my Myki and Jeremy’s. I asked one of them to try it from within my wallet (it works on the scanners if you’re careful) and it worked. So fare evaders shouldn’t count on free rides just because they’re carrying a Myki.
The biggest remaining flaw
Now that they’ve got rid of touch-off on trams, and assuming everything else works, I think the biggest flaw now in the design of the system, is the scanner sounds. There’s one beep if you touch-on, and the same for touch-off; two beeps each for concession.
Distinguishing concession is pointless: you know what sort of ticket you have, and inspectors will use the lights on top of the gates to know who they should check for concession entitlement. Instead it should be different tones for touch-on and touch-off, so people don’t have to stop and look at the screen to make sure they’ve done the right thing.
Anyway, I still don’t think it was worth the money — there were bigger priorities. But the money’s been spent now, so hopefully it’ll be smooth going from here.
- Still confused about how Myki works? Check the PTUA’s Q+A page