As far as I can see, since the January zone changes, there is now no monetary benefit to touching-off your Myki for trips in zone 1, or zone 1+2.
This is because the Myki Money Default fare (the fare it assumes you should be charged if you touched-on, but never touched-off) is normally the same as the fare incurred for those trips anyway: $3.76 full fare, or $1.88 for concession.
This means you may be able to avoid the long queues to touch-off when exiting non-gated stations, as well as crowded buses (and trams).
I’ve tested this on Myki Money — it works correctly.
(It’s always been the case that Myki Pass had a default fare of zero if the trip started in a zone covered by an active Pass.)
There are a few exceptions
There are always complications with Myki. It’s consistently inconsistent. Here are some examples of where you may want to touch-off:
If you are intending on making another trip within two hours, you may wish to touch-off, otherwise your next touch on the same mode may be treated as a touch-off, potentially leaving you without a valid ticket if you don’t notice. This will happen if it’s the same station, and may also happen if you board the exact same bus or tram as your previous trip. If you didn’t touch-off, double-check your next touch when you board is on.
For Zone 2-only local trips, it’s still worth touching-off if you want the cheaper zone 2-only fare. If you were going into zone 1 anyway, it doesn’t matter.
(By the way, on Zone 2-only buses, the Default fare, if everything’s working correctly, would be the zone 2-only fare. Ditto, theoretically, on a tram in the zone 1+2 overlap heading towards its outer terminus. But Myki has enormous problems with GPS location detection, so don’t count on it.)
V/Line users need to be wary. The $3.76 fare applies from Melbourne out as far as Lara, Bacchus Marsh, Riddells Creek and Wandong, but if the conductor comes through and checks your ticket, they may also set the default fare to the end of the service, which could be a lot further away.
You may also wish to touch-off if you’re trying to take advantage of the Myki Pass payback glitch.
On the first trip on a new Myki Pass, I’m not sure if it’ll activate properly if you don’t touch-off. Anybody tested that?
It’s unclear what this will do to the stats if lots of people stop touching-off, but they basically threw away the prospect of comprehensive stats when they started recommending no touch-off on most tram trips (back in 2010). So perhaps it doesn’t greatly matter. They still use manual counting anyway.
And of course on suburban trains, the worst crowding is AM peak, and since most of those trips start with a touch-on, and end at a gated station with a touch-off, they’ll still have good stats for the busiest time on the rail network.
If default fares confuse you, it may be worth touching-off — remember, they get charged the next time you use the system, and that could be hours, days, weeks or months later. This can also result in some odd-looking online statements.
Will they promote this?
Having locked us poor suffering taxpayers into spending $1.5 billion over ten years for the complicated, bespoke Myki system (and also a small fortune on adding station exits), now they’ve basically switched Melbourne to a flat fare for most users, will they officially promote the fact that it mostly makes no difference if you don’t touch-off?
I don’t know. They never did so for Pass users, even though it would help clear the exits at busy suburban stations in the evenings (and in turn, help trains run on time, as sometimes the crowds block the driver’s view, delaying departure).
PS: Additional reasons to touch-off:
- If inspectors are standing there, obviously you might as well to avoid any questions
- If using Early Bird, to ensure you get the free fare (thanks Roger)