The State Government has announced a trial of a mobile phone app for Myki.
- The Age: Farewell myki cards? Trial for app to let you touch on with your phone
- PTV: Mobile myki trial
- State Government: Mobile Myki Trial To Begin
Here’s what we know about the trial.
Will it mean the end of Myki cards?
Despite the fascination of headline writers with Myki being replaced, a phone app will be an additional option, alongside cards.
Some people don’t have mobile phones, and may never have mobile phones. They’ll still need cards.
Will it only be E-class trams, as first thought?
No, the government now say it’ll be systemwide, without the need to rollout new equipment. Which is good – there are thousands of devices out there on stations, trams and buses. Replacing them all would be extremely expensive.
Why only on Android?
I’m told it’s because Apple has the iOS NFC feature heavily locked-down, apparently in the hopes of controlling all payments made with iPhones.
NFC isn’t on all Android phones, but it is on an increasing number of them. It’s already used by a number of public transport cards in some way, including being able to instantly check your balance on Sydney’s Opal.
Perhaps in time Apple will come to the party.
Will it cover Myki Pass and Myki Money?
Yes, both. The app will be able to act as a Myki card, with the same fares.
It will also allow instant top-up, without the current 90 minute online delay. (This delay is similar on all public transport smartcards).
Will it cost $6 like a real card? Will it expire like a card?
I doubt it will expire. (Most phones don’t last 4 years like a Myki card is meant to!)
The cost is unknown. The $6 cost of a real card is partly because you can commence a (non-V/Line) trip on a zero balance, so the balance can drop as low as minus $4.30. It’s not yet clear how the app will work in this regard.
Perhaps if in some way it enables a user to pay just the cost of a daily fare, this can partly negate the need for a single use ticket, which isn’t currently provided.
What about contactless credit cards, such as Paypass?
It looks like existing Myki equipment isn’t compatible with that.
That’s a shame, as I suspect a lot more people have contactless cards than NFC mobile phones. Card payment works really well in London, and many cities (especially those that use a variant of London’s Oyster) are trying it.
But that may be changing over time, and it’s still a positive move to help make it easier to pay a fare.
And on balance, it’s better not to go down the path of huge expense to replace all the equipment around the system. Perhaps that can be planned for the new generation of station/bus/tram devices, to allow a later upgrade.
When will the trial happen?
The trial is expected to run from July until early 2019.
I hate topping up. I want it now.
If you use Myki Money, you should consider Auto-Topup.
It was a bit kludgy when first introduced, but works really well now. I’ve had it set up on my kids’ cards for years.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work with Myki Pass, which is why they should really implement Myki Money weekly and monthly capping, which was originally planned.
How do I get involved in the trial?
This government fact sheet might help:
…or leave a comment/question and I’ll see if I can get an answer.