Happy new year.
A few months ago I wrote that allowing a Myki touch-on with a zero balance would bring numerous benefits.
Yep, you guessed it.
In order to touch on and commence travel, customers travelling in only one or two zones must have on their myki a myki money balance of at least $0.00.
— PTV Fares and Ticketing Manual, page 55
Previously the minimum balance needed was 1 cent.
Benefits from allowing touch-on with zero balance
While there is a risk that now more cards will be thrown away after use, this change is a win, for all the reasons I flagged in October:
- Myki can be used as a defacto single use ticket (for
$6$7 full fare/ $3$4 concession*, with no transfers possible except between trains where you don’t have to exit the station). Of course, if you’re making another trip, it’ll be cheaper to top-up and reuse the card.
It remains to be seen if PTV want to promote this. They might consider too much revenue would be lost.
Update: *note that buying at a machine or station booking office, you do have to top up with at least a dollar, so the cost is effectively $7 or $4, a dollar higher than the cost of just the card.
- You can now load your card with the exact fare required, rather than as previously, the fare plus a little bit to ensure the balance stayed at 1 cent or above. This is now much more intuitive
- It resolves the problems of no free travel without an above zero balance
Hopefully it works as described from today.
See also: Update 12/1/2014.
From a quick skim, here are some changes I noticed, if you’re really that interested — and I understand if you’re not).
(Some of these changes may have been in last year’s F+TM and I didn’t notice them before — or don’t remember them!)
p32. It says Myki is valid on “V/Line parallel coach services.” which I guess means coaches replacing or augmenting V/Line commuter trains. p55 clarifies that this is only the case if you have an active Myki Pass that covers the whole trip, and that the coach driver will check that.
p42. It still talks about the 2-hour period starting from the next full hour. (The change to exact 2-hours happens in July.)
p43. It specifically says Earlybird ends at 7:15am, not 7:00am. This reflects how the system has actually worked since Myki began; it was so you could still get a free ride even if your train was delayed.
p46. “A myki pass must be activated within 12 months of purchase, or the pass will cease to be able to be activated and will expire.” This explains the expiry date shown on the web site before a Pass is active.
p47. Still the dodgy rounding. “If a myki pass fare is shown as, or is calculated to be, an amount ending in a multiple of one cent, that amount may be rounded up to the next 10 cents at the point of sale.”
p48. Can’t use Myki Money to extend a Myki Pass if travelling on V/Line beyond the Myki area. Hardly surprising.
p52. I thought this was a typo, but it really does appear that outside V/Line peak times, it’s cheaper to make a 3-zone trip than a 2-zone trip (if the trip does not include zone 1). Here’s the full fare table:
It’s because trips in 1-2 zones never attract an off-peak discount, whereas trips of 3 or more zones (provided they exclude zone 1) always attract a 30% off-peak discount.
So, referring to the V/Line zone map a trip from Little River to North Geelong (2 zones) would be $3.60. Little River to Geelong (3 zones) would be $2.94.
p54. Buses: “a customer must touch off the myki before leaving the bus, but not before the bus leaves the second-last bus stop in that journey” – have they noticed some people touching-off early to avoid paying for going across a zone boundary? The following page notes the same rule for trams.
p99. First Class surcharge on V/Line is up to $4 (short) $8 (long, over 100km) – or $35 for ten (short) or five (long). Did this just go up, or had it gone up a year or two back? — Tim says in the comments below that this is not a new change.
p127. On the spot Myki refunds for international tourists only… available at the PTV Hub Docklands, and Southern Cross Station. Yes, only two places in the whole state, within 500 metres of one another. Oh well, at least one is near where you get the Skybus to the airport.
This blog post is mentioned in The Age’s Hecker column this morning.
It’s worth noting that (as heisdeadjim notes in the comments) cards bought at vending machines and booking offices actually have to be topped-up with an initial $1 balance. So effectively your de facto single trip ticket would cost $7 or $4 (concession). Only if bought online can be they obtained with zero balance.
As I noted above, the Hecker column ponders the revenue lost if people started using the zero balance touch-on and throwing a lot cards away. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too much, since a typical Z1 full fare is $3.58, and you’d hope the card itself isn’t costing the government $3.42.