PTUA transport

‘Exhorbitant’ is spelt M-Y-K-I

If you thought $494 million was a lot to pay for the new “Myki” smartcard public transport ticketing system, hold onto your hats… today it was revealed the actual cost is more than double that — $1 billion dollars, no less. Somehow the government are now claiming they needed to add the operating costs, which they didn’t mention before now, and certainly not when they announced the deal.

Zowee. And I thought it was expensive before. Now it’s exhorbitant.

And all so we don’t have to physically insert our tickets into slots. (That’s the major, tangible benefit to users.)

Seriously, you could spend a tenth of that upgrading Metcard (including providing the contactless cards it was originally meant to have), pay for staff to come back onto the system at every station and on every tram, spend a bunch more on service upgrades (maybe even a major new rail line) and still have money left over.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

16 replies on “‘Exhorbitant’ is spelt M-Y-K-I”

funny how the Auditor-General’s report failed to mention the other $0.5 billion. Sounds a bit sus to me.

Add this to the initial and ongoing costs of the present system, surely it must be close to what keeping tram conductors and train platform staff must be. I add that I am not particularly pro tram conductors, but the tangible economies of not having them just don’t seem to be there.

They’ve done it twice now! To stuff up the ticketing system once could be an accident – but to do it again is almost unbelievable – especially when overseas have systems that have been working for years.

No wonder the bus always leaves just before the train gets there.

Despite the grossly excessive wasteful spending for this new system is the final Myki product worthwile for a new resident of greater Melbourne to purchace? I will be moving to Melbourne soon and I would like to use public transport (called “mass transit” in American English) as much as possible. I don’t yet know where I will be living or working but I will consider closeness to public transport when I choose both my job and home.

Why is everyone so shocked that the operating costs will be half a billion? The current system costs the same in a 10 year period, so it seems that there will be no net increase(or reduction, admittedly) in operating costs with the new system.

It would be dishonest to claim that to not have embarked on the provision of the Myki system would have saved a billion dollars. It wouldn’t – it would only have saved half a billion, because we were going to spend half a billion continuing to run Metcard anyway.

I am amazed that so many people seem so eager to cling to the old system of fragile magnetic cards with heat-sensitive printing. But I am also at a loss to explain why the government didn’t simply approach the people who created Oyster cards and ask for a straight copy of that system. It already works.

Sorry but I can’t help correcting you (I’m sadly anal about grammar and spelling, etc), but I don’t believe there is an ‘h’ in exorbitant…

Wouldn’t it just be cheaper to scrap the entire ticketing system, all the inspectors and staff involved in the policing of the ticketing system, and let everyone ride for free? Though I have a feeling we’d really find out what overcrowding was about if that was the case.

Jed: It won’t make any difference to you. When you get here and use the system, you’ll just use whatever ticket is in use. It’ll be Metcard if you start this year; assuming things go to plan they’ll migrate to Myki at some stage later on. Recommend you look for a place near a railway line; it’s the fastest PT option.

Philip: Everybody’s shocked, because until now, the govt had consistently said the cost was $494m over ten years, capital and operating cost. They never mentioned before that this incremental, on top of the current ~$50m/year cost.

Liz: Damn, you got me! Corrected. I blame the spell checker.

Nathan: Rough figures: Revenue approaching $400m/year. Current ticketing cost $45-50m/year. Most of the staff you need anyway for security. So making it free would suck about $350m/year of revenue out. It would be a massive subsidy to people who actually have PT they can use. What about everybody else, eg those outside the inner-suburbs or away from the train lines? They won’t use crap service whether it’s free or they have to pay. If you’re goal is to increase PT usage (which it should be), you have to give people services they can use, and that’s got to be the priority for that money.

Also note no big city anywhere in the world has tried free PT, and in the smaller cities that have tried it, it’s not clear whether it’s been very successful. Read more here.

I remembered how outraged we were when the old ERG’s contract ballooned out ot $330 million. If I ruled the world the federal government would set up a naitonal ticketing research body so we didn’t have to go through all these stuff ups times the number of state governments all the time SUCH A WASTE OF MONEY !

… not to mention ongoing support contracts for the thing when SCO does actually curl up and die (I asked one of the techs who was servicing the Camberwell ticket barriers at one point what they ran on and was told it was SCO … )

Comments are closed.