Just a little tip — because it seems a lot of people don’t know this:
For metropolitan services, you can touch-on a Myki and travel with any balance which is non-negative, that is, zero or above.
It doesn’t matter if the card balance is less than the fare.
This means if you find yourself needing to catch a tram, with only tiny amount on your card, and nowhere to top-up (thanks to the retrograde step of removing ticket machines from trams) or a long queue, then you can still take one trip and top-up later.
(I touched-off to show how it works. You don’t normally need to touch-off trams.)
Your next touch will send the balance into negative.
You can’t touch-on again (even if you didn’t touch-off) until the balance is brought back above zero.
With a negative balance, you can’t use the remainder of the fare that started when you touched-on, because you haven’t paid for it yet.
And the rules are a bit different for V/Line, where you do need to have funds to cover your trip.
Those gotchas aside, this is useful when you find yourself without the fare you need, and nowhere convenient to top-up — as long as the card balance is zero or above.
By the way, Auto Top-up is pretty neat. A lot about Myki is stuffed, but after some false starts (particularly the one about killing the card if the payment is rejected – WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!) Auto Top-up is one of the things about it that actually works okay.
Update 7pm: The legalities
Following some feedback on this post, I checked back with the Fares and Ticketing Manual to confirm my recollection was correct — which it is:
Minimum requirements for travel
Travel in one or two zones
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.
If a customer’s myki has a valid myki pass or other valid product and a negative myki money balance, the myki is not valid for travel or entry to designated areas in zones for which the myki pass or other product is valid until the myki money balance has been topped up to at least $0.00.
— Fares and Ticketing Manual, Page 55
The Manual is gazetted, so it is a legal document.
What’s interesting however is that the Transport (Ticketing) Regulations appear to contradict this:
A person who is travelling in a passenger vehicle must have in his or her possession a ticket that is valid for the whole of the person’s travel in that passenger vehicle.
and specifically that you’re meant to make sure your ticket is valid for travel, which includes:
to have recorded on the myki sufficient value to pay for the whole of the travel
— Reg 12
Regulation 12 also lists defences to this include the usual taking all reasonable steps. So walking past a working ticket machine may not be defensible, but boarding at a tram stop with no top-up facility (and none nearby) presumably would be.
Still, consider yourself warned.