Since many people aren’t using public transport right now, some us who have a Myki Pass aren’t getting much out of them.
Back when the COVID-19 crisis was first emerging, your friendly local public transport advocates spoke to the government – who were already thinking about it – and a week or two later they came back with an option to Pause a Myki Pass.
You can ring up PTV and ask for your Myki to be paused. They will flag the Myki card as blocked, and send you out a new one.
The new card has a Pass for the rest of the days, as of the day you make the request. It’s not activated until you use it again, thus the Pass is paused.
For me, I rang up 49 days after I started using my Yearly Pass. The new replacement card has 316 days remaining.
If you want to travel, but not use the Pass (say for a once-off trip while you’re still working from home), then you’ll need to use another card, or Mobile Myki.
It’s a bit of a hack, as they mark the old card as lost/stolen – in fact the acknowledgement email I received says just that:
We have received your notification that myki card number [removed] has been lost or stolen. Your myki has been blocked and can no longer be used. Any remaining balance is protected from the moment you reported it lost or stolen.
Heh. “Dear Bowen“. One day I’m going to write a blog post about all the online services that mess this up when sending emails.
Anyway the email doesn’t quite match what’s actually happened, as they’ve re-purposed an existing process. But at least it works and was able to be set up quickly.
How they mark cards as blocked
As part of this process, your original Myki card is blocked.
I decided to test this.
A few days after putting in my request, I exercised my way to a railway station with a Myki Check. For some crazy reason, Myki Checks are not connected to the network, so as you can see in the video below, it told me the card was still valid and active.
Then I placed it on a Myki vending machine. This is connected to the network. The vending machine knew the card had to be marked as blocked, and did so.
Once that was done, the Myki Check and other devices at the station all responded that the card was now declined.
So the way they mark Myki cards as blocked is like any other remote transaction: they send a message to all the networked Myki devices that this has happened.
Apparently thousands of people have applied for their Myki Passes to be paused and replaced. I would anticipate that very few of them will do what I did and actually try the old card. Does this mean Myki devices be clogged up with these transactions? Do they go into dormancy after 90 days like online top-ups?
Hopefully someone’s thought of this!
But kudos to the state government and PTV/DOT for organising this option.
If you have a Yearly Pass you’re not using, get on it!