Another glitch with #Myki: It pays you $1.52 to travel further

Over the years there have been various problems with the Myki ticketing system. Some have been self-inflicted, such as the lack of a single use ticket, which was the result of a Coalition decision in 2011. Others are down to poor implementation, such as the slow and inconsistent read times for cards, or the difficulty that trams and buses have in detecting which of Melbourne’s two gigantic zones they are in.

Perhaps the most alarming issues are those that involve incorrect charging. There was a doozy found in 2013 where a Pass would activate early. And a few years ago a glitch emerged where if someone with a Zone 1 Myki Pass went travelling into zone 2 on the weekend, the system would pay them 2 cents for doing so. At the time, the Transport Ticketing Authority tried to claim it was a result of the system working as it should to calculate the correct fare, but admitted it may appear to be a quirky outcome.

A new issue has emerged since the zone changes on 1st of January. Uncovered by dedicated Myki user “TheMykiUser“, under some circumstances, the system will credit you $1.52 in Myki Money.

Myki bug

I replicated it myself on Sunday. It would seem the circumstances are:

  • You need to have a zone 1-only Myki Pass
  • It needs to be a public holiday or weekend — this doesn’t happen on a regular weekday when the $6 cap doesn’t apply
  • You need to travel in zone 2 on two separate occasions (eg in two separate 2-hour blocks) on the same day — this could be for instance travelling into zone 2, then travelling back, provided you touch-on to come back more than 2-hours after you first touched-on

Somehow the combination of a day’s travel in zone 2, but having already paid for zone 1, with the weekend/public holiday $6 cap applying means the system will decide that rather than charge you an additional amount it will credit you for $1.52.

Why does it do it?

Note that $1.52 is the same amount of the weekday zone 1+2 daily fare $7.52, minus the weekend/public holiday $6 cap, so it’s assumed these are factors.

Those who have bigger brains than I may like to try and interpret this text in the 2015 Fares And Ticketing Manual, which documents Myki’s business rules:

Where a product already exists on a customer’s myki (a 2 hour product, Daily product or a myki pass) that is valid for a zone(s) and the customer makes a journey that consists of, or includes, travel in a zone(s) for which the existing product is not valid, the fare for the journey is the 2 hour fare for all zones for which the existing product is valid combined with the zone(s) for which the existing product is not valid minus the 2 hour fare for all zones for which the existing product is valid.

I’m recognising the individual words, but translating it into an equation where it pays you $1.52 is a bit beyond me at present.

And what’s staggering is that nowhere in the fare calculation logic did they include a sanity check that says: Is the final fare less than zero? If so, set it to zero, because it doesn’t make sense to have a negative fare.

Myki 2015 bus signage

If they want Myki to work smoothly, they should stop messing with the fare structure

This issue has occurred since the zone changes on 1st of January.

After all the problems Myki has had, the politicians should know better than to mess with the ticketing system like this, but having come up with the clumsy plan to cut prices by removing two-zone fares[1], the boffins at PTV and their contractors had to find a way to implement it.

I had assumed they would expand zone 1 to cover all of zone 2 as well (thus making a huge overlap area, but reflecting how they changed the tram zones in 2010), but they seem to have implemented it in a different way, which probably explains why they no longer sell a Zone 1 Pass — instead they sell a Zone 1+2 Pass (at the price of a zone 1-only Pass), or a slightly cheaper Zone 2-only Pass.[2] I suspect this bug won’t appear using one of the new Zone 1+2 Passes.

Who knows how many thousands of people have those existing Zone 1 Passes which have this quirk. (On weekdays these correctly give free travel in zone 2.) That said, it’s probably not the kind of issue that’ll see lots of people trying to gain a $1.52 credit.

Myki check, showing $1.52 credit

It’s not the first time a political decision has caused headaches with Myki. The removal of zone 3 in 2007 (well after Myki had started being built, but before the public rollout started) meant problems for the higher numbered regional zones, and eventually left Lara station in three zones: 2, 3 and 4. As with the latest change, they would have done better to reduce all fares rather than remove zones.

The result is, I suspect, a bug which will affect existing Zone 1-only Passes, until these have all expired, and been replaced by Zone 1+2 Passes over the next year or so.

  • [1] All that money — $1.5 billion over ten years — paid to build and run the Myki system, and now most trips all cost the same price. Terrific.
  • [2] Of course they also sell Passes for other regional zones. This article concentrates on Melbourne zones 1 and 2.
  • TheMykiUser has also written a blog post on this issue

Update Tuesday: The Age — Myki: now it’s paying you to travel

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45 Replies to “Another glitch with #Myki: It pays you $1.52 to travel further”

  1. One thing I haven’t seen specifically explained anywhere; do the changes mean if you’re travelling on a train in Zone 1 you no longer need to touch off?

  2. It sounds like an April fools joke. Yes, just one line of computer programming would solve that problem. But no one thought of it.

  3. I suspect it’s much as The Myki User has hinted in his post. The implementation of the ‘Zone 1 fare cap’ has been done not by extending the Zone 1 overlap to cover the entire metro area, but just by tweaking the schedule of fares. So the zone boundaries are exactly the same as before, but there are now just two fare categories advertised to the public – ‘Zone 2’, and ‘Zone 1+2’ – with the latter set equal to the invisible Zone 1 fare.

    The problem is that existing Zone 1 passes are still programmed for the now-obsolete Zone 1 category. So when you travel into Zone 2 on one of these passes you’re technically travelling on a different fare for which the pass is not valid. Mostly this just means you’re put onto a Zone 1+2 fare at zero cost (because Zone 1 and Zone 1+2 fares are identical), but the $6 weekend cap makes an exception.

    It’s the exact same quirk that existed some years ago when the cap was $3 and less than a Z1 2-hour fare. In fact if the cap was still $3 then Zone 1 pass holders would be treated less generously: credited 76 cents on the first trip into Zone 2 on a weekend and zero on subsequent trips (because they now hold a fare valid for both zones).

    For Zone 2 pass holders going into Zone 1 on a weekend the system should operate in a more sensible manner for return trips, because the $6 cap is still greater than the daily Zone 2 fare of $5.20. But there could still be odd effects: I’m guessing they would be charged $1.16 for the first trip into Zone 1 (the difference between a Z1+2 and a Z2 two-hour fare) and then be credited 36 cents on a subsequent Z1 trip after 2 hours (so the total paid is reduced to 80 cents, the difference between the $6 daily cap and the $5.20 Z2 daily fare).

    So for Zone 2 pass holders on weekends it’ll be slightly cheaper to make two Zone 1 trips more than 2 hours apart than it will be to make a single Zone 1 trip. Unfortunately I don’t have a Zone 2 pass to test this with, but if this is how it behaves it’ll be an ongoing problem, not one limited to the first 12 months.

  4. Hey Daniel, there’s also a new issue on the auto top up website – if you try to buy a myki pass and select zone 1 to and zone 1 from, you get a non-descript error message.

    In order to buy a pass for now you have to select zone 1 from and zone 2 to – even if you want to only buy a zone 1 only pass because apparently they don’t exist anymore. It’s the same price as a zone 1 to zone 1 – but you will have to choose zone 2 on the destination because it’s myki and it’s rubbish.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  5. You get a similarly unhelpful error if you try to buy a pass on a machine too. The Zone 1 button is greyed out, so you click Other Zones, enter 1 -> 1, and you get a message about the product or combination being unavailable at this time.
    How about ‘buy a zone 1-2 for the price of a zone 1 pass’?!

  6. Breathtaking that you criticize any government changes to the Myki charges. They were too high, and the government changed them on 1st January. Amazing how you openly criticize this. These changes by the government made it cheaper for the train traveler, especially those in the outer suburbs. This is good. Change is good. Being able to accept change is good. If governments never changed the system, no progress would be made. Amazing that you are calling the politicians as “the problem” for changing the system, when so many have benefited.

    And The Age article picked it up too. It had a sneering comment about the “change to remove zone 3” and how bad that was for the system. What a load of rubbish. Zone 3 was the most stupid concept that was ever dreamed up and the politicians that removed it deserve an award, not more verbal bashings.

    Change is good. Progress is good. Accepting it can be hard for some.

  7. @T W King, welcome to the discussion.

    “especially those in the outer suburbs”… actually fare cuts have *only* benefited those in the outer suburbs (zone 2) who travel into zone 1, as well as those who *only* catch trams in the CBD. Everybody else, including V/Line regional commuters into Melbourne, saw a price hike of double the rate of inflation.

    “how bad that was for the system”… note the context. Bad for the stability of the ticket system. Not bad for passengers, some of whom obviously benefit.

    You might like to consider putting forward an argument as to why a trip one stop from Flinders Street to the Arts Centre should be exactly the same price as a trip from the City to Pakenham or Mornington.

    Here’s some background reading: New fares – comparing cost per kilometre / Coalition fares announcement: free CBD trams; zone 2 gone

    Price cuts without breaking the ticket system could have been achieved by cutting prices across the board, instead of (virtually) removing zone 2 (and 3).

  8. “especially those in the outer suburbs”… actually fare cuts have *only* benefited those in the outer suburbs (zone 2) who travel into zone 1, as well as those who *only* catch trams in the CBD. Everybody else, including V/Line regional commuters into Melbourne, saw a price hike of double the rate of inflation.

    Exactly my point. The change benefited [some]. That is a good change. Its not perfect, but the change was good. (Other fares were already going up each year…) The “fiddling around by politicians” helped some commuters. Not all. Some. Good. A start. Change. (Remember this was in relation to your post and The Age article with a theme of “Politicians who change the pricing of Myki should know better”….

    “You might like to consider putting forward an argument as to why a trip one stop from Flinders Street to the Arts Centre should be exactly the same price as a trip from the City to Pakenham or Mornington.”

    Good point – but that can be extended to an existing zone. E.g. Flinder St to Arts centre by tram, costs the same as Flinders St to Surrey Hills Station by train and the argument can go on forever. There is no answer the the current zone 1 unfairness, or the zone 2 unfairness, or the pathetic zone 3 that is now abolished. Ideally, there should be one zone for all, cheap, affordable easy public transport. That will take time…a lot of time (and may never happen), so little changes along the way are a welcome thing. That was the thrust of my comment, and I am grateful that the politicians were brave enough to make a change. (Sure, it was a blatant grab for political votes that backfired, but hey, the long suffering zone 3 “boffins” deserve it, especially given how many folks from these areas catch a train to the city each day for work and would grind the inner suburbs to a halt if they were to drive a single vehicle each…).

    As for the tram zone being free – its a step in the right direction. I caught the tram today in the CBD at lunchtime – the amount of families and “shoppers / tourists” who may or may not have a daily ticket was amazing and welcome. Like I said, this is change. It has not fixed everything. It has not benefited the entire population of Victoria. Its a change for the better…

  9. response to TW King

    “Exactly my point. The change benefited [some]. That is a good change. Its not perfect, but the change was good. (Other fares were already going up each year…) The “fiddling around by politicians” helped some commuters. Not all. Some. Good. A start. Change. (Remember this was in relation to your post and The Age article with a theme of “Politicians who change the pricing of Myki should know better”….”

    The change benefited some but has been to the detriment of the majority of PT users. The percentage of people that travel from Pakenham to the City is only a tiny percentage of PT users. The majority of PT users are tram, train and bus riders who only use the service for local trips and that cost for only a few kilometres is absolutely exorbitant even sometimes coming close to a taxi fare and in the case of 2 or more riders even more.

    “Good point – but that can be extended to an existing zone. E.g. Flinder St to Arts centre by tram, costs the same as Flinders St to Surrey Hills Station by train and the argument can go on forever. There is no answer the the current zone 1 unfairness, or the zone 2 unfairness, or the pathetic zone 3 that is now abolished. Ideally, there should be one zone for all, cheap, affordable easy public transport. That will take time…a lot of time (and may never happen), so little changes along the way are a welcome thing. That was the thrust of my comment, and I am grateful that the politicians were brave enough to make a change. (Sure, it was a blatant grab for political votes that backfired, but hey, the long suffering zone 3 “boffins” deserve it, especially given how many folks from these areas catch a train to the city each day for work and would grind the inner suburbs to a halt if they were to drive a single vehicle each…). ”

    There is an answer to zone unfairness by introducing more zones with smaller price changes when you cross zones. The politicians only made a change for political reasons, not to improve the performance of the system. Short journeys should be charged comparatively less because they use less resources than long distance journeys. Could you imagine going to a supermarket and paying the same price for 100 grams of shopping powder as 5 kilos, (of course there is a bulk saving but to imply there is no marginal cost makes no sense at all and that is why supermarkets or any other commercial entity does not have flat pricing).

  10. T W King, if there was only one zone then you’d pay the same between Flinders St and the Arts Centre, and between Southern Cross and Swan Hill.

    To expand on Llib’s comment, with more, not less zones and each zone costing the exact same amount with less of a step in price, i.e. you buy three zones, not zones 1-3 but any three adjacent, so the same ticket could be good for Z35-37.

    Then, single-zone only could cost say $5 for a half-day, two-zone $7.50, three-zone $8.75 etc with a half-increase each time. Rounding off to nearest $0.10, trips for eight or more zones would always stay the same cost. (If the base rate is $10, then the max is $20 at 12 or more zones, etc.)

    Double those numbers for a daily ticket, add $3.00 for First Class on V/Line services and similar excess charges on Overland, XPT etc if those operators want to charge extra.

    Half price across the board for concession travellers, special rules for free travel for pensioners/etc, and add a function where every tenth zone-halfday is free, which is roughly equal to the savings generated by Passes over Money.

    This is a lot easier to understand than a direct charge-per-KM option, and a lot fairer than a single zone option.

  11. T W King, you agree that the question about why a ticket for a one-stop journey should be the same as a ticket for a much longer journey is a good one, but you seem to miss the point! The point is that the larger the zones, the bigger the anomalies. That there will still be smaller anomalies with smaller zones does not mean that the larger anomalies are okay.

    Daniel asked you to put forward an actual argument for larger anomalies, and I would ask you to put forward an argument for even cutting prices for some people at all. Simply assuming that any cut for anybody is a good thing is not an argument. Someone has to pay for running the system, and the less the users pay, the more the taxpayer pays. Now I would agree that if the taxpayer is paying some of the cost for the main competitor to public transport (e.g. roads), then it’s only fair that the taxpayer contributes towards public transport also. But that was an “if”, and even so doesn’t justify the taxpayer picking up the entire cost, as you seem to think would be a good idea (“the tram zone being free [is] a step in the right direction”)

    Furthermore, you seem to think that this cut that benefits some but not others has no downside. But apart from the taxpayer contributing more of the cost (which might mean that other areas taxpayers contribute to receive less), it could well put pressure on future governments to jack fares up faster than they would otherwise have done (which penalises the zone 1 users), and it is likely to lead to more overcrowded trains with more passengers from zone 2 using them, thereby making it harder for zone 1 users to actually get on a train.

    Daniel, just a small correction: the change also benefited those in zone 1 who travel to zone 2.

  12. Could this whole confusing issue have been avoided if Myki Passes didn’t exist at all, and we instead all just used Myki Money? I thought the point of such a clever system was that we could just keep an account in credit (like a road toll account) and the system would monitor our usage over time and make the correct deductions and credits as it goes. So after a week of travel, the system would realise you’d travelled for a week and give back some money it had charged you in short-term fares. Then after a month it could give back more. After a year, even more would be given back.

  13. @Llib
    “The majority of PT users are tram, train and bus riders who only use the service for local trips and that cost for only a few kilometres is absolutely exorbitant even sometimes coming close to a taxi fare and in the case of 2 or more riders even more.”

    Come and visit an outer suburban train line. Lots of people travel to the city each day for work. There are no trams in the middle to outer suburbs either. And the buses are not used anywhere near as much as a train.

    “There is an answer to zone unfairness by introducing more zones with smaller price changes when you cross zones. The politicians only made a change for political reasons, not to improve the performance of the system. Short journeys should be charged comparatively less because they use less resources than long distance journeys. Could you imagine going to a supermarket and paying the same price for 100 grams of shopping powder as 5 kilos, (of course there is a bulk saving but to imply there is no marginal cost makes no sense at all and that is why supermarkets or any other commercial entity does not have flat pricing).”

    Public transport is not the same as purchasing powder. Public transport is the mass movement of the public. You are wanting a distance based pricing model. This would be fine if the number of trains and trams scaled up and down with the demand, but they dont. They are a fixed timetable, and if there are 10 trains set to run in an hour, then the cost will be (mostly) the same if they have 10 people on them or 20…for one station or the entire length.

    Your model would punish those residents that live in the outer suburbs. (Remember, we are talking metropolitan Melbourne here). Your model would be like the old zone 3 which was deliberately done to discourage outer suburban people from using the trains to keep the “inner suburbs” free. A few writers on this blog including the main author appear to often reference this by stating that any move to “lower prices” will cause inner city crowding. I fail to see how this is in the general publics interest, and only serves to keep a few inner city folks happy so they can get a seat.

    $David S – I possibly didn’t clarify – I was talking more of a single zone for metropolitan Melbourne, which does not cater for country residents. (my mistake) I would think that it should still be a very cheap option (for country users) as a similar argument to above – the train will be running if empty or full and will cost the same.

    Overall I still like the time base model that Melbourne metro has – its better than the distance cost (or a time and distance cost like zone 1 and 2), as it is cheaper for users and will cost the same (as the schedule is fixed, not fluid).

  14. Referring to metropolitan Melbourne…Our public transport system is fixed. Not fluid. It does not rise with demand. The schedules are set and the number of trains/trams/buses does not rise each day or drop. So if they are full or empty they all run.

    The metropolitan train lines all run to the city, and this will not be changed for a long time. (I doubt ever to be honest). It would be years and years before anything major was done other than adding a few extra stations at the end of a line. The tram lines are fixed and will never be majorly extended. (Reality – no government in Vic will ever bother, it costs too much etc etc and if they did the media will be all over them saying how bad it is that roads have been blocked for the construction etc). The bus system can be altered to have extra services added – if there is demand. I have not seen many changes (big ones) to the bus system…

    There are three cost models – Time, Time and Distance, Distance. Everyone here seems to favour distance. This is to make users who want to travel further pay more. Like I said above, the train is already running the set course, and will do so if it has 10 or 50 or 500 people on board. Why be against the thought of making it one cost for these services? It is one cost already. The station, the employees, the service of the equipment, the train cost, upkeep etc etc. The trains cost does not change. It is there, and costs money yes. We have had for years a cost model that if you pay for a daily ticket you can travel any distance you like in metropolitan Melbourne. All day on the train if you like. This is due to the fact that this model is the “fairest” possible. (Note : It is not and will never be the fairest for everybody…).

    I don’t understand these calls for “make the person who sits on the seat for an hour pay more than the person who sits on it for 5 minutes” when it makes no difference to the transport vehicle being used.

  15. John at Melbourne

    You use the same argument that everyone has used (words to the effect of) “do not change the system to benefit a few by making it cheaper as it only benefits a few”. Then you use the argument that completely contradicts this. (words to the effect of) “making it cheaper for outer zone people makes it harder for zone 1 people to get a seat”. I.e. Do not do this so as to benefit a few zone 1 users. So the change to “not do something” to benefit a few zone 1 folks is good. But the change to make it cheaper for zone 2 users is bad as it only benefits a few.

    This is contradictory. Its an argument that so many on here use….I really don’t understand it other than to assume that everyone making it is a zone 1 (only) user.

  16. I inadvertently forgot to touch off one time and when my card was declined for my next trip, I went to the stationmaster to top it up. He advised that as my card was $15.02DR, I would be better off paying for a new card which is just $6. Well thank you for that :) I bet others have been onto this for some time….

  17. Thanks all for the ongoing, thoughtful discussion.

    @T W King, yes day to day public transport services are fixed, but longer term they are driven by demand, and this costs.

    Most lines are under pressure, which is what has led governments of both stripes to order scores more trains over the last ten years, at a cost which adds up to billions if you include supporting infrastructure such as new train depots and stabling.

    Population growth in the west has led to much higher demand on those lines. Over time this has outstripped available track capacity, such that the Regional Rail Link project was born to relieve the Werribee and Sunbury lines, by moving V/Line trains onto their own tracks. When it opens in April it’ll allow more V/Line and suburban trains.

    The zone change means trips from the middle/outer western suburbs into the City have become much cheaper, which is great for the locals but will probably add to demand on most lines, if potential users can find a way to get to the station. (It may also reduce congestion on the Westgate bridge, which is good). Hopefully the RRL changes will be enough to cope with growth, but if not, other solutions will need to be found.

    Likewise the Dandenong line is under pressure thanks to huge growth along the line in the past couple of decades. The Coalition proposed new signalling systems to squeeze more out of the existing tracks. But some outer suburban and V/Line passengers are calling for a faster trip into the city, which would require building additional tracks at great expense. And of course there are plans for inner-city rail tunnels to cope with more trains.

    This isn’t all down to outer-suburban demand of course. You can get an idea of the loadings around the rail network from these graphical maps. Yes, there is heavy demand from the commuter-belt zone 2 middle distance suburbs. Since the graphs were done, former zone-3 demand has probably increased, given the removal of zone 3 in 2007. But there is also very strong demand from inner-suburban stations too (and probably growing as a result of more redevelopment), though possibly this may be less “peaky” as more of those people have a viable choice to use public transport for non-work trips as well as during commute times.

    (See also this more up-to-date PTV data.)

    I’m rambling, but here’s a conclusion of sorts:

    Encouraging growth in PT use is good. But planning it carefully is better. It’s incorrect to assume everyone who lives in zone 1 is rich and can afford double CPI rises, and everyone in zone 2 is poor and needs a price cut. Slashing (some) prices isn’t necessarily the best way of doing improving affordability, especially if little thought has been put into how to handle the consequent demand. Price cuts which are carefully targeted at those who actually have trouble paying their fare might be a better way of doing it — for instance widening concession fare eligibility.

    By the way, you mentioned bus changes. There are a number of bus network changes happening at the moment, for instance the Transdev changes currently proposed.

  18. Response to TW King

    “Come and visit an outer suburban train line. Lots of people travel to the city each day for work. There are no trams in the middle to outer suburbs either. And the buses are not used anywhere near as much as a train.”

    Exactly my point the reason why nobody uses the buses is that fares for short journeys are extremely high compared to long journeys.
    Pakenham is a perfect example. If you were to travel into the City from Pakenham and returning it would cost $7.52. This is a 100km+ round trip.
    The services that would need to be provided are over 100km+ route track kilometres, car parking or bus services to the train station as well as trams to connect to CBD inner city areas.
    If you were to travel 2 kilometres in Pakenham to the nearest shopping centre and return it would cost $5.20.
    Now that would involve the provision of 2 bus services with rudimentary stop facilities.
    I would say that the cost ratio between providing these services is 10 to 1 yet the fares for travelling into the City and back is only $2.32 higher than travelling to the local shopping centre.

    Now you can see why people don’t use buses in the outer suburbs its not only poor services but also the fact that they have to subsidise city commuters.

    “Public transport is not the same as purchasing powder. Public transport is the mass movement of the public. You are wanting a distance based pricing model. This would be fine if the number of trains and trams scaled up and down with the demand, but they dont. They are a fixed timetable, and if there are 10 trains set to run in an hour, then the cost will be (mostly) the same if they have 10 people on them or 20…for one station or the entire length.

    Public transport is a service that acts more or less the same as any other good or service. Most goods are mass produced that is why it is much cheaper to buy in bulk as I explained with the cleaning powder (similar to the provision of PT services). This does not mean the pricing is flat because it creates perverse incentives as well. In the case of cleaning powder if you had a flat price everyone would buy 5 kilos of powder and very few people would buy 100 grams if anyone at all.

    In regards to fixed timetables the way to deal with that issue is off peak pricing which is to lower fares in middle of the day to fill up the PT vehicles rather than flat pricing which will have the opposite effect.

    You are also incorrect about peak times because train services are usually at capacity in peak times, so in this case you do not want to maximise the number of people on the system, you should actually reduce it to the level of the capacity that the train can handle by raising fares (at the same time increasing revenue lowering subsidies and the burden on the taxpayer).
    I also suggested (in previous posts) a zone model of 4-6 zones which still means you get a significantly cheaper per kilometre rate than if you travel a shorter distance. This is still a bulk price for longer journeys however it is not exactly the same price as a short journey.

    “There are three cost models – Time, Time and Distance, Distance. Everyone here seems to favour distance. This is to make users who want to travel further pay more. Like I said above, the train is already running the set course, and will do so if it has 10 or 50 or 500 people on board. Why be against the thought of making it one cost for these services? It is one cost already. The station, the employees, the service of the equipment, the train cost, upkeep etc etc. The trains cost does not change. It is there, and costs money yes. We have had for years a cost model that if you pay for a daily ticket you can travel any distance you like in metropolitan Melbourne. All day on the train if you like. This is due to the fact that this model is the “fairest” possible. (Note : It is not and will never be the fairest for everybody…). ”

    The zone system uses a mix of time and distance and simplifies the fares to make it easier to understand, yet still avoids perverse price signals to travellers. This is why it is used on so many systems around the world.

  19. Firstly, I live in an area that was zone 3 and is now zone 2 and I will financially benefit from the zone changes as most of my travel is into the city. However I would much prefer the introduction of more smaller zones and an overall fare price reduction for reasons others have already addressed.

    One point that I feel may have been lost in this discussion is that zone 2 only fares have also gone up and therefore the price cut doesn’t even apply to everyone in zone 2. I would also think that on average people who predominantly travel within zone 2 only would have lower incomes than those who travel in both zones regularly and therefore would be less able to afford the price rise.

  20. Llib –

    “You are also incorrect about peak times because train services are usually at capacity in peak times, so in this case you do not want to maximise the number of people on the system, you should actually reduce it to the level of the capacity that the train can handle by raising fares (at the same time increasing revenue lowering subsidies and the burden on the taxpayer).”

    Increase the fares to reduce the users? Its called a traffic jam (commuter jam). Ever sat in a car in a traffic jam? Do the authorities put the price up on petrol to reduce the use of cars on that road? Do they raise the tolls briefly on a freeway to stop the users from going onto it during a jam? Yet the solution here is calling for increase fares to reduce the use of a train?

    Its called wait. Yup, a queue. Wait in line. Stand on the platform and wait for the next train or tram if you cannot get on. Happens all the time outside Flinders St for trams up St Kilda rd or trains at Parliament for Dandenong etc or at Flagstaff for some western suburb lines.

    Happens on the roads too (like the one road to Philip Island on a long weekend). Wait. Yup, just wait or choose to travel at 6am. Not raise the fares on the trains. This would have a detrimental affect that would completely destroy what Daniel mentioned today. He said that there is a lot of pressure on suburban lines and governments will need to pay more money. True. Lots of changes are proposed (I doubt many will happen for long time) but still, these changes would never be proposed if there were no demand. Its our system we live in. If no one uses the train line (or not enough) then the government will use this as a business case to close the line down. (has happened a lot in Victoria over the years…). So if you call too much for this perfect world of “raise the fares and get half of the commuters off the public transport so we can all get a seat at peak times” then you will never see any upgrade to any transport system. The western ring rd is clogged, so the government expands it. The tullamarine is clogged, so it gets an extra lane. (all of this takes years sometimes from plan to build). If no one uses the train line or tram line it will get closed down. No one will ever expand it if there is no demand.

    The comment that the government has had to buy trains to keep up with demand – why is this a problem? The population has grown, or at least the use has grown and more resources are required. e.g. more houses have been built, more sewage pipes are needed etc. This is what has happened. Managing this is part of what a government is for. Yes it costs money. More people, more transport, more industry, more infrastructure is required. Its called growth, taxes etc. Sure, we can argue about how a government spends the money, but not call for them to raise fares (for any zone) to discourage public transport use. Offering free train trips like the “touch off before 7:15am” one helps (these trains are used a lot), and the government is still “encouraged” to upgrade and spend more money on public transport.

  21. T W King, others have said much of what I would reply to you, but I’ll repeat some to emphasise the points.

    “Our public transport … does not rise with demand.” As Daniel has pointed out, this is incorrect. Some increases in frequency are political decisions, but many others are demand driven (and some are a bit of both). And the reason that Melbourne runs almost no three-carriage trains any more is due primarily to demand. Yet apart from almost no increased cost in drivers and fixed overheads, doubling the number of carriages doubles the cost of running those trains (twice as much electricity, twice as much wear and tear, requiring twice as much maintenance, and therefore more maintenance staff).

    I for one don’t favour distance only, and I’ve not seen anyone else do so. Rather, I, and I think most others, favour Time and Distance.

    And you misrepresent me. I didn’t argue that to “not change the system to benefit a few by making it cheaper as it only benefits a few”. Rather, I argued that “you seem to think that this cut that benefits some but not others has no downside”, and pointed out that it /does/ have a downside that you have not acknowledged as being of any significance. You have not argued that the benefits outweigh the disbenefits, only that ‘it benefits some, so what’s the objection?’

    Therefore your claim that I “use the argument that completely contradicts this” fails, because the only contradiction is with your misinterpretation of my argument.

    You also claimed that I “use the argument that … ‘making it cheaper for outer zone people makes it harder for zone 1 people to get a seat’. I.e. Do not do this so as to benefit a few zone 1 users.”

    First, I said nothing about getting seats. I talked about whether they could even get on the train! Second, I didn’t talk about benefiting zone 1 users; I talked about not penalising them. And third, see Daniel’s answer about it only being “a few” zone 1 users.

    You also said that “I don’t understand these calls for ‘make the person who sits on the seat for an hour pay more than the person who sits on it for 5 minutes’ when it makes no difference to the transport vehicle being used.”

    In fact it does make a difference. As several have been talking about the Pakenham line, I’ll use that as an example. If a passenger uses a seat on the train from Flinders Street to Carnegie, then another uses the same seat from Oakleigh to Noble Park, and another from Dandenong to Beaconsfield, that’s three people who have used the one seat. Alternatively, that seat could have been used by one person going from Flinders Street to Pakenham. This might be fair if that person was paying more for his greater use of the seat, but he’s actually denying others use of it without paying any more for that privilege. Multiply that by X to fill up the train, and you can easily see that the more long-distance passengers you have, the fewer short-distance passengers you can have. It DOES make a difference to the transport vehicle being used.

    Your response to Llib is confused. He’s not talking about raising fares during a disruption, like your analogies with traffic jams. He’s talking about higher fares in peak periods relative to off-peak periods. You claim that this is not done, and imply that it would not be contemplated, on the roads, but in fact it is. Sydney’s toll roads have cheaper off-peak rates, and there have been calls for similar in Melbourne. And you actually endorse the same principle with your reference to the Early Bird free travel—that is designed specifically to reduce peak demand.

    There is, I would suggest, a difference with buying trains to keep up with rising demand due to population growth (which would include a rise in total revenue), and buying trains to keep up with rising demand due to lower fares (which would include a drop in total revenue).

  22. Response to TW King
    “Increase the fares to reduce the users? Its called a traffic jam (commuter jam). Ever sat in a car in a traffic jam? Do the authorities put the price up on petrol to reduce the use of cars on that road? Do they raise the tolls briefly on a freeway to stop the users from going onto it during a jam? Yet the solution here is calling for increase fares to reduce the use of a train? ”
    That is exactly what economists propose for both rail and road services ( In which economists use your own argument that supply is generally more or less fixed and marginal costs are quite low). If you look at a simple supply and demand curve the ideal situation is to match supply with demand (equilibrium) for the simple reason that demand does not overwhelm the supply (difficult to get perfect equilibrium in the real world however better to attempt it rather than exacerbate it with perverse price signals).

    “So if you call too much for this perfect world of “raise the fares and get half of the commuters off the public transport so we can all get a seat at peak times” then you will never see any upgrade to any transport system. The western ring rd is clogged, so the government expands it. The tullamarine is clogged, so it gets an extra lane. (all of this takes years sometimes from plan to build). If no one uses the train line or tram line it will get closed down. No one will ever expand it if there is no demand.”

    I suggest raising the fares not so everybody gets a seat but to ease the crush load, especially on the busier lines. Rental companies and airlines do exactly the same thing and this balances loads with their capacity. In fact having lower fares in peak times results in lower revenue and higher costs due to overcrowding allowing less money for infrastructure upgrades.

    In regards to the Tullamarine and the Western Ring Rd lane expansions: governments, urban economists and planners (and even most voters) are starting to realise that road expansion is futile and expensive and the latest state election was a referendum on the East West link which highlights that many people are realising that endless road expansions are futile and wasteful.

    We need to implement microeconomic reforms in the use of our infrastructure otherwise much of it gets wasted and these flat zones are the exact opposite of the microeconomic reform that’s needed because they send the wrong price signals to the traveller and this leads to much inefficient utilisation of our infrastructure. This is already staring to be implemented around the world with London, Singapore, and Stockholm introducing congestion charges with many more governments looking at these charges. (although implementation is difficult due to the fact that people feel entitled and believe that a road should be free despite the massive cost of providing road infrastructure.

    Sorry for rambling myself but I have to respond to these arguments because they go against everything taught in planning and urban economic subjects.

  23. Our public transport system does not dynamically rise with demand. I did not spell it out. It is not like they add an extra train today like they open a new checkout at Aldi when the queue is too long on a separate one. That is what I meant when I said that it does not rise. No one understood me, so I must not have explained it well, but my posts make sense to me with this dynamic method. Yes, as you and Daniel and other stated, it rises over time with changes, new trains etc. But this does not happen on a day to day basis. And I don’t talk about Sydney or other countries, I am no expert on that. Never claimed to be, never will.

    Using your analogy of multiple people using the same seat all the way to the end of the line versus one person using the same seat (where the one person using it should pay more) – so if 4 people hop in a taxi the taxi driver gets 4 times the revenue for the same trip as if it were one person? The cost is the same for the trip. The taxi gets one fare for the trip, if there are three or four people (or 1) in the car. Sure in a perfect world your method of multiple folks getting on and off each time would work. In reality the taxi does its trip end to end and the cost is the cost. The train travels end to end and the cost in the cost. When will you get a model that will cater for all passenger scenarios? It is not possible. (Just as hard as getting everyone on a crowded train to move to the middle, getting short distance travellers to let long distance travellers in the inner part of a cariiage, getting all folks to let tram users off before they try to get on)

    And over and over, everyone here (generally) says that the fare should be raised to discourage too many people using the train to allow zone 1 travellers to get on. (zone 1travellers can be from zone 2 or country as well). Why? The train has a finite size and finite length and a finite number of seats and capacity. Yes. So once it is full, no one else can get on. Yes. Wait for the next train. (That is what you do at the bottom of an escalator in a crowded shopping centre, you don’t raise the price. If you don’t like crowds, avoid boxing day sales or go first thing in the morning or shop online. Otherwise, it is what it is, like public transport). Etihad stadium has a finite number of seats. Lets raise and raise and raise the cost of a seat to an AFL game to ensure that only enough people turn up to just fill the correct number of seats. Yes, that will work perfectly won’t it? (To clarify, that was sarcasm).

    Overall everyone here disliked the zone2 to zone1 change as being of benefit to some, detrimental to others. Everyone here likes the idea to raise the costs for outer zones to stop the inner zones being overcrowded. I.e. Make a change that is of benefit to some, detrimental to others. How many people are “some” and how many people are “others” (I could have used algebra) is of no consequence. The argument contradicts itself as one is a direct cost reduction to some, while the latter is a number of commuters reduction to some. Its the same argument and contradictory.

    My original comments were about dismay that people (including the article in The Age) would criticize changes to Myki that were of benefit to some. (How many “some” is was never mentioned). I still cannot get my head around this wishful thinking that everyone has where they expect a perfect public transport system that charges those who travel two stations further than the person next to them (over a zone border *bad* but within a zone *good*) the absolute correct amount. What, GPS tracking in the Myki card to measure it down to the metre travelled?

  24. Llib – I am no expert on planning, I am not tertiary qualified in this, I am not an economist and I am not a city planner and I am not anything of an expert and I am not trying to outsmart anyone. I am a layperson who uses public transport and drives a car as well. All your theory works well. In practice it doesn’t happen, or takes years. A lifetime or more. Why compare public transport to private enterprise like airlines? I can’t beat your theory. Its solid and well done. But be realistic. When will we do something as well as any European country for public transport? Really? Come on. When they built Flinders St station more than 100 years ago they built the platforms all next to each other, with an underground exit to the other side of the main road. (I.e. they planned and did not disrupt the other methods of transport). Now, we take years (40 or more) just to get a government to put one level crossing under ground. I could go on and on. Be truthful. It is not going to happen, we are not going to have reforms where folks don’t want freeways extended. One freeway was made to be an election issue. But there were other factors too, you know it, I know it. Folks on both side of politics use it to their advantage. In the future the freeways will be expanded. Futile, yes. But it will happen. There will be more roads built. More petrol GST for the government. More registration revenue etc etc. I can’t beat your arguments, but remain against calls to raise fares to discourage public transport use.

  25. Lions den. Luckily I agree with just about everyone on here.

    First: this massive cut to fares for a certain few could be much better targeted. Change is hard etc.

    If we ignore the current system and imagine a perfect system the question I have is this:

    What is the aim of fares?

    If it was a business it would be to maximise fare revenue. You know people want to get into the city at 9am so you would charge $20 for a trip to the city during that time and charge $.1 in the offpeak, just like an airline would. Stop running inefficient. Charge people in the outer suburbs more because you know they will pay it. You’d probably charge more in richer areas generally as well (have you tried flying to Canberra recently?!). Concessions would be limited. Obviously public transport is not designed for profit so this is not the right rubric.

    If it was for equity the buses in the suburbs would be free and there would be wide concessions, and people going to the city who work would be forced to pay fares many times what they do now to make up the cost.

    If it were for moving a city you might make fares free all around in order to encourage usage. The urbanist has a great post on why this is a terrible idea.

    So what’s the solution? A mix of all of these.

    Assuming you were starting a system from scratch I would argue that the product people are really trying to consume is entry to the city. It’s a radial network. The trains reach capacity in the city and the city is the place that forces extra services to be put on. It should be relatively expensive to enter the city. However where the trains are not being used: in the suburbs, it should be cheaper. I think there should be 5, or 10 or 15 or however many zones but that a zone 1 fare should be zone 1-15. The train is empty in the suburbs, there is spare capacity why not fill it up with cheaper fares?

    TW King is right to say that this isn’t a market that can respond to demand. It’s the product of politics. Politicians like the idea of services going all the way to Frankston or sydenham, even though if it were left to the marketplace the services would stop at Caulfield outside of peak in order to save driver money.

    I would have thought Daniel Bowen would believe that frequency is important, even to places like the outer suburbs. In that case I would simply keep the fare structure as outlined above. If he believes as stated here that the system might be able to respond by reducing services to the end of the lines that can be done too. In that case the extra cost should be based on places where services are actually likely to end. Charge more for people who want to go past Caulfield or Ringwood because there is a realistic possibility of some services just ending at Ringwood and turning back. Charge more to go past Clifton Hill, or any place that has a large siding. Then if demand responds the government can save money by having services reduced on those lines, making them more profitable. A zone two that starts at Hungtingdale or Pascoe Vale makes no sense.

    I think in all likelihood those services will continue past Caulfield to Frankston for political reasons and because the extra cost is marginal compared to the extra revenue increased frequency will bring in. But I might be wrong, we could find out.

    The real conclusion though: charge where the choke is: the CBD.

  26. Response To Imlate

    I agree that the 3 roles of fare policy are a mix of business, social equity and encouraging PT usage.

    This flat fare policy fails at all these levels,

    Firstly the flat fare policy encourages rides into the city as longer rides have the cheapest fares, this ends up discouraging people using the service for short distances who are the majority of PT users. This will lower overall demand especially in regards to short haul passengers.

    Secondly, in terms of maximising revenue which is a reasonable demand because taxpayers have every right to get a fair return on publicly owned assets as well as the fact that they are privatised and need to share revenues with the relevant operators. The flat fare policy as outlined above will encourage long distance travellers who are expensive to provide for, so in the case of raising revenue and lowering costs it is a failure.

    As in regards to social equity I cannot see how penalising short distance users is equitable to even concession holders because non concession long distance travellers pay less per kilometre than concession holders who go on short distance journeys.

    A zone based system with off peak fares is more equitable as it lowers costs for short and off peak journeys which has many low income people travelling at off peak times and going short distances.

    It maximises revenue because it encourages more travellers at off peak times and allows high turnover through vehicles maximising revenues and lowering costs.

    And it encourages the most amount of riders as short distance and off peak travellers are encouraged to use the system which make up a large proportion of travellers.

  27. Llib:

    “off peak fares”

    Are desperately needed.

    I believe in most of what you said which is why I’m surprised you disagreed with me. Perhaps it might help if I explain my plan:

    “Firstly the flat fare policy encourages rides into the city as longer rides have the cheapest fares, this ends up discouraging people using the service for short distances ”

    Yes. definitely. Which is why I suggested having 5 ( or 10 or however many are practical). Local trips would become extremely cheap but getting into zone 1 would be expensive. Maybe I didn’t make this clear so I’ll elaborate. My proposed fare structure would resemble something like this:

    Zone 1 2 hour (for non concession holders, during peak times): $10
    Zones 2-5: $.5 per zone, with maybe a total of $2.5 for a zone 2-5 fare.
    Zone 1-5 2 hour fare – $10.

    This fare structure is premised upon the idea that current metro costs are hard to change due to politics. So if the government wants to maximise usage it should make the empty trains cheaper and the full trains more expensive. The full trains are all heading to flinders/city loop. That is where the big charge should be. Whenever costs increase it’s because the trains are getting too full in the city and more need to bought and staffed to allow everyone to get into the city. The peak train in the city is the one increasing costs, whether the passenger has come from Frankston or from Richmond station.

    I added the caveat about realistic ways in which metro could save money by running trains shorter. Perhaps going from anywhere outside Caulfield to the city should cost more to enable metro to run caulfield-city shuttles etc. But cost per kilometre really doesn’t reflect the cost born by metro, equity concerns or the importance of moving people around our city.

    “And it encourages the most amount of riders as short distance and off peak travellers are encouraged to use the system which make up a large proportion of travellers.”

    Yeah, that’s what my plan does as well.

  28. To rebut TW King’s point about charging in more for travelling further (using more) on fixed transport infrastructure, toll roads in Melbourne operate similarly to our rail network. But you don’t see a flat price for vehicles using the whole toll road as opposed to one segment, because then people wouldn’t use the road for short trips. The comments about washing powder are equivalent to toll roads or train/PT fares. At the end of the day they are economic good and services. You pay for the right to access the toll road. You also pay for the right to access the train service, and if you use it more, then you probably should pay more (which is why a 4-6 zone system which very small fare jumps between is fairer than one monolithic zone). The toll road was still built and will still be operated even if you don’t use it, the same with the train service. But if it is priced correctly, people will use it for long *and short* trips.
    Did use know that Eastlink actually offers a discounted rate for travelling in only one toll segment, and you lose that discount for using two or more?

    The only way freeways, arterial roads and PT can move so many people is because not many users actually use the whole length of the mode. Take the Monash Freeway, where there is a lot of traffic coming out of the city in the evening. A fair bit gets off between Toorak Rd and Warrigal Rd. But more vehicles enter, and can use the space vacated to allow more people to travel. And this happens all throughout the suburbs (especially as a lot of people live within 10 km of where they work).

    Having a monolithic fare system is actually inherently unfair. It forces people who use the system the least (in terms of their time occupying the network) to pay the same as those who use it more, and encourages the use of longer trips (which are more expensive to operate). The only fair way a fare cut could be given us to reduce prices *across* the network, not just to one group of users. It makes them entitled.

    Arguments about the previous system costing outer suburban users more to travel all the way into the city, and this being unfair, and advantages the “rich” of the inner city are wrong. Saying that it is because they want to deserve a seat is wrong. The simple economic argument for fare cuts of benefiting people travelling from further away is that it will encourage this use (which eventually will require more express services that may need more expensive infrastructure) over other uses of the network, and this will affect the overall macro growth of the city, including encouraging people to move further out as their train journey will cost the same (I have friends who have talked this way about Zone 1+2 being a deterrent to living beyond Zone 1, but now they don’t have as much of an issue).

    I live in the far outer suburbs, and I think it is stupid that I would pay the same price as a friend who lives only a few steps from the city to travel all the way in. But now it is here, of course I will enjoy the price cut. That won’t stop me from arguing against it though. Because to make the PT system better, we can’t be selfish.

  29. @John of Melbourne
    I wonder if there’s a way to equate the value of PT to Melbourne’s economy – if the entire system switched off tomorrow, what would happen to our GDP, and perhaps that value should be the goal of subsidy from the government, with fares making up the gap.

    @Phillip
    That’s pretty much the basis of the system I outlined in my previous post.

    @T W King
    You seem to be advocating for exactly two zones – Metro Melb, and the rest of Victoria. So what prices would you put on those, for a daily ticket, to maintain the current levels of fare collection? I think you’ll find the average prices will double or more. Also, what would you charge for people travelling from Geelong to Traralgon through Melbourne?

  30. @David S
    No idea what prices should be from Geelong to Traralgon through Melbourne to maintain the current level of fare collection. Its a good question isn’t it? I wouldn’t have a clue. Why do current levels of fare collection need to stay the same? (The Myki website says in its FAQ that the Victorian budget has been adjusted to cater for a drop in fares…or words to that effect). According to most on here, public transport users only want to travel a short distance (i.e. in their own neighbourhood) so not sure how you would go about setting the fares for your example trip.

    @Cal
    Public transport zone pricing affects urban sprawl. Really? The vast majority of the population of Melbourne (where there is urban sprawl) use public transport? The train line through Pakenham has been there for a very long time. It was zone 3 for a long time. Then zone 2. Urban sprawl has already wormed its way out to there (50km from Melbourne) for a long time. It has not suddenly increased due to the zone 1 – 2 price changes. That entire corridor of Melbourne has been urban sprawling for a number of years…and I would be quite confident to say that a lot of people in that area drive vehicles on the road, a lot more than use a train to travel…more than 1 stop. (Hint : Why is it called the Monash Car Park?)

    You use similar arguments as many here. Words along the lines of “increase the fares to keep the outer suburban commuter numbers under control so we don’t wear out the train or have to think about providing more services and so we can ensure that zone 1 users can use the train going to the same destination”. (Note : Never a mention of the word “rich” for zone 1 except in your post). If people are put off using the public transport system they will drive to their destination. Simple. They need to get to their destination. Melbourne is already very car oriented. Any fare change to discourage use of public transport is beyond logic to me, yet constantly called for by many here with calculations and figures and examples etc etc.

  31. Has anyone noticed that the $1.52 credit for Zone 1 cards only works if it’s touched off at a barrier station wholly in Zone 2 (e.g. Box Hill or Frankston)?

    I have a commuter club Zone 1 yearly Myki pass which I purchased in December 2013, but didn’t activate it until October 2014. I remember reading about the $1.52 credit on Monday the 5th of Jan and thought “I went into Z2 on the first Sat & Suns of 2015 but did not get a credit” I was even sure I would have had more than a 2 hour block on at least one of those days. So after reading the blog post on 5 Jan I thought “for whatever reason, the glitch does not apply to my pass, despite being Z1 only” or so I thought until I went to Frankston on Jan 17 & touched off at the barrier and the $1.52 credit applied (I caught the 788 bus same day which gave me a default fare of $1.80 debit, but that effectively only cost 28 cents and had plenty of compo myki money to cover that), which I thought was really bizarre, given that I’d been to Sandringham & Nunnawading in more than 2 hour blocks & the credit did not apply. I then thought that maybe Myki maintenance had made this glitch temperamental.

    Well after coming back from Nunawading today, I swung by box hill, I touched off at the barrier and the $1.52 credit applied! So even after the default fare outside of Z1/2 (from 788), I’m in front. Go figure!

    I think I’ll get screen shots from my Myki transaction listing, where I’ve touched off at stations wholly in Z2, but no credit has applied unless it’s a barrier Z2 station. If Daniel pointed this out on 5 Jan, I overlooked it!

  32. @Lucas, yes it does need to be entirely in zone 2, not the overlap. It doesn’t have to be a gated station though — the trips I took to test it were between Bentleigh and Patterson, neither of which have gates.

    Yeah, might be worth checking your online statement. From what they indicated in the Age article, the problem won’t be fixed.

  33. Here are the said screenshots:

    https://flic.kr/p/qWGxKT
    https://flic.kr/p/pZUVJX
    https://flic.kr/p/qEgRZr
    https://flic.kr/p/pZV5Vx
    https://flic.kr/p/qWC6rf

    I’ve benefited again since Saturday 24 Jan, when I bumped my balance above the $20 mark!

    As you can see from the 10th of Jan, I was convinced that the $1.52 credit did not apply as I had touched off at two different Zone 2 only stations in two separate 2 hour blocks on the same day, but neither of these were gated stations.

    As weird as these scenarios are, I’m now adamant that I only get the credit if I touch off on a weekend at a gated station entirely within in Zone 2. The reason why it only works for me at gated stations when for others it works at non-gated stations within Zone 2 remains a mystery and may remain a mystery because for all I know, I may be the only yearly pass holder with this very specific anomaly. I’d be interested to know other peoples thoughts and The Myki User’s thoughts, because maybe others have experience the same anomaly! Maybe for some bizarre reason, it only applies to a certain batch of Myki’s. Who knows!

  34. @Lucas, thanks! I really doubt it’s got anything to do with gates – I got it again yesterday between two ungated stations. https://twitter.com/danielbowen/status/559572025551757313

    I wonder if default fares are coming into play – if there wasn’t a previous touch-off, perhaps the algorithm is so screwy it doesn’t always do it? Though now I check my own, I see I had a default fare included yesterday: https://www.flickr.com/photos/danielbowen/16373500771/

    Hmmmmmmm.

  35. I just went through and checked. I’ve done it 6 times now, and 5 of those times I received the credit by touching off at a gated station, but one time was at Hawthorn with “normal” readers. Most of the trips involved gates in one way or another. I did it twice this weekend, and the rule of either going to z2 and staying for two hours since your first touch on, or going out to z2, going back to z1, and going out again both apply (to me, at least).

  36. Thanks Nathan!

    Looking at Lucas’s 10/1/2015 records more closely: The return from Nunawading to Richmond (12:48) was well under 2 hours since arriving at Nunawading (11:04). The original touch-on is the important thing here, but I can’t see it in the screendumps. Lucas, can you find it? If it was at or after 10:48, then that would explain it.

  37. It would appear following one of Lucas’s screenshots that if you live in Zone 2 and you have a zone 1 pass (and even better if you live near a Zone 2 station) you are very lucky; you don’t need to travel into zone 2 to do this, in fact you don’t need to travel at all. Go to your local zone 2 station, touch on. go back just under two hours later, touch off. Wait until the original two hours passes, touch on. Wait 15 minutes for the “change of mind period” to pass. Touch off. Joila, credit. (well, at least that’s my theory. Daniel I reckon this is one for you to try since you live near the overlap ;)

  38. I traveled within Zone 2 ONLY on Friday 30 January 2015. Myki told me to top up with $5.20 which I did. I started my trip between two stations within ZONE 2 ONLY at 6.30AM and returned by 2PM. On the way forward from Zone 2 station to Zone 2 Station — I was charged $3.80. Upon return ( with $1.42 on Myki), I was told I required $2.30 more upon touch down. Zone 2 FARE between two stations ( to/from) was $7.72!! Not as advertised on Myki Website as $5.20. I paid Zone 1 charges for Zone 2 travel ONLY.. I called 1800 800 007, the service rep kept repeating saying that the fare was $5.20 like a robot.
    When I asked why I was overcharged, the phone hung up.

  39. I’m wondering if you have an old Zone 1 only pass and are intending to travel on a journey entirely within Zone 2 (on a train), is it a worthwhile not touching off such that you pay the default fare instead of the Zone 2 fare? My understanding is that as the Zone 1/2 default fare is the same value as the Zone 1 fare you will not be charged anything. If your travel is entirely within Zone 2 I understand that you’d have to pay the Zone 2 fare.

    Another question on the same topic is if you have a Zone 1 only pass and don’t touch off on the train on the weekend to attract the default fare twice in one day will you receive the $1.52? Has anyone tried this?

  40. Also I think I found another odd bug. I touched on my myki on a tram in the afternoon, then at my destination bought a weekly ticket at a myki machine. The next day I activated the weekly pass and the default fare for the trip the afternoon before was not deducted. I thought maybe the default fare might come up once travelling on a trip after the expiry of the weekly fare, however it seems that I never paid the default fare and got the first trip (the afternoon before I bought the weekly pass) for free. Daniel, I can send you my trip history from the myki website if you’d like to confirm that I’ve made the right conclusion.

  41. On 10 January, In the first screen dump I touched off in Zone 2 at 11:04am at Nunawading, then at 3:44pm the same day at Sandringham. Bizarrely no credit and in the early days of 2015, credit would only apply at gated stations wholly within Zone 2. As you suggested, it may have been down to screwy algorithms as to why I hadn’t got credit on 10 January, because there’s no logical reason as to why I wouldn’t have.

    But since then, I’m guessing there’s been a correction of some sort, because since March or thereabouts, I get the $1.52 credit as long as I go more than 2 hours wholly in Zone 2 on weekends and public holidays irrespective of whether or not the station is gated. Why it applied only to gated Z2 gated stations in the first couple of months of the year, I guess I’ll never know.

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