Last week I started using my shiny new Commuter Club Myki.
It’s worked well, and as I would expect it… with some exceptions, documented in this short video:
1. It beeps twice at the readers. This is the case at the standalone readers, on trams and buses and at Myki gates (currently seen at Parliament at Melbourne Central) and retro-fitted Metcard (“Frankenbarrier”) gates.
It’s unexpected because two beeps normally means a Concession, and it has me wondering how many people within hearing range think I’m cheating by using a Concession fare. Yearly/Commuter Club Metcards do not do this.
I have enquired about this with the Transport Ticketing Authority. It is unclear when and if it will be fixed.
2. Unexpected credit. Before the March price rise, when travelling on a Zone 1 Pass in Zone 2 on a weekend (or public holiday), the system would use a nominal amount of $2.94 (the Zone 1, 2-hour fare), calculate the difference between that and the weekend daily fare of $3.00, and charge you the result: 6 cents.
Now that the Zone 1, 2-hour fare has gone up to $3.02, one would expect the system to not charge you anything, right? Well it goes one better: it actually charges you minus 2 cents; in other words it credits your account with 2 cents.
I would call this totally counter-intuitive, and I’m betting it was not as intended. Again, it’s not clear if this will be changed.
(The precise charging is slightly more complicated than as noted above; it apparently goes through a couple of steps before getting to that end result.)
Never mind. I thought it was wrong and missing a day, but it isn’t, because 2012 is a leap year.
I first used (activated) this pass on Wednesday 16/3/2011. It’s a 365 day pass, which means it should expire at the end of the day on 15/3/2011. The business rules say that the end of the day for the public transport system is 3am, so the precise expiry time should be 03:00 on 16/3/2012. That’s not what the system is telling me. Both the web site and the on-system readers say 03:00 on 15/3/2012. I haven’t queried this with TTA yet, but will do so.
None of these are huge issues of course, but while Myki mostly works fine now, it doesn’t exactly instil confidence in the system.
Perhaps it’s little niggly things like this which has the Baillieu government reluctant to make a call on whether they’ll keep or scrap the system.
Realistically, any new system will have problems. Metcard certainly did. If the government keeps it, they can probably get plenty of mileage out of blaming the previous government for it, as long as they can get it working well before the 2014 election rolls around. At that point, if they played it right and it was humming along (which with the right effort, it could be), they can cover themselves in glory by claiming credit for it.
But sooner or later, they have to make the call (whichever way) and get on with the job.
(Thanks to Nathan for tipoffs on the 2 cent credit and the double-beep.)
Update 9:45pm: Removing the stuff about pricing; will put that in another post; it just distracts here.
Update 9:50pm: Thanks to Nathan, figured out the expiry date issue is not an issue.
Update Monday lunchtime: For those playing at home, Myki Commuter Club cards cause a double-beep, but not a flashing light at the Myki-only gates. Marvellous. Inconsistency in its inconsistency.
Update Tuesday morning: The Age: Smartcard miscalculation gives travellers 2¢ worth
Update Tuesday evening: An update from the TTA:
2 cent credit for Zone 1 myki pass customers
myki customers who use a Zone 1 myki pass will see they receive a 2 cent myki money credit when travelling into Zone 2 on weekends.
The 2 cent myki money credit is not an error, but a result of the system working as it should to calculate the correct fare. While it may appear to be a quirky outcome, the fare calculation is the same as that made prior to the recent fare adjustment.
The system calculates the difference between the weekend daily cap and the Zone 1&2 fare, taking into account the fact that the Zone 1 portion of the journey is covered by the customer’s myki pass. In the past this has resulted in a fare of $0.06 and under the current fare structure it results in a fare of -$0.02, or a 2 cent credit.
I had a look in the Fares and Ticketing Manual; it is true that the way the system works doesn’t contradict what it says in there. But it’s still not logical. Claiming it’s exactly to plan is… well, it’s an interesting interpretation of how a cap should work.