About 30 myki users have been affected by a particular fault that has allowed them free travel.
Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen has been travelling free for at least a week.
Kamco became aware of the problem only when Mr Bowen reported it.
He said he was surprised to see that no money was being deducted from his account when the card appeared to be working normally.
Here’s the background:
I had a Myki Pass (like a Monthly Metcard) loaded on my card, which expired on the Friday 8/10.
My next travel on Monday 11/10 was correctly charged, and I kept travelling that week.
The next time I checked my card’s transactions was on Monday 18/11, and I was surprised to see the balance hadn’t shifted since the previous Monday; it was still at $39.40.
I checked this both online on the web site, and on the system, eg direct from my card on a Myki Check machine (since sometimes the web site is problematic getting updates from the scanners on the system).
Then I flagged it through a contact at the Transport Ticketing Authority. I kept travelling on the card while they investigated, and it kept letting me travel for free.
Apart from a slower response time (about 3 seconds instead of typically about 1 second), everything seemed normal. The beeps at the standalone scanners said it was okay; the station gates would let me through — including the new Myki-only gates at Parliament.
But my balance wasn’t going down. In fact, it went up; two payments of $5.88 got added; they appear to be long-awaited compensation payments for previous claims from Metro.
Perhaps the card’s slower response time and the payment problem are linked, but it wasn’t obvious, because the slow response time problem had actually appeared about a week before the payment problem started.
What magic did I do to get the free fares? Nothing; I just used it. The article notes that the card was affected by a software problem on a “small number” of gates. So how many others might be affected?
One thing I did notice today is that it did charge me a $2.02 default fare (which is a zone 2 two-hour fare) for a failure to touch-off. In other words, it appears the card was giving me free travel for zone 1 only — possibly it was linked to the previous Zone 1 Pass that had been on the card.
Two bigger questions:
How many cards are affected like this? TTA/Kamco claims 0.01%, or about 30. But it’s not clear how they derive that figure.
More critically, are they detecting these cards themselves, or is it up to people to first notice the problem, then report it? That’s not clear, but what is known is that mine had the problem for almost a week before it was noticed.
They’ve now sent me a replacement card, which arrived yesterday. With it was a generic letter basically saying that my current card might be problematic, and they want it back to study (and will deactivate it shortly anyway), and that they’ve transferred my balance across.
Which is fine for me, but I can’t help wondering just how big this problem is.