Myki short term tickets

My aunt and cousin are visiting from interstate. Over dinner last night they were telling me that the most confusing thing about Metcard is the requirement to validate it straight after buying it at a railway station machine.

I saw a businessman (evidently an occasional user) make that mistake yesterday morning. He realised after walking past the validator that he had to go back.

It makes some sense to make Metcards like this, so they can be bought in advance. But over the 10+ years the system has been operating, it has proven to be one of its most confusing attributes for occasional train travellers.

When Myki is eventually fully running (sometime before the year 3000), if you don’t have a Myki card, you’ll buy Short Term tickets. Intended for occasional users including tourists, they will only be available for 2-hour or Daily fares — here’s what they look like:

Short term ticket

On trams you’ll buy them from the machine and they’ll be already valid.

On buses you’ll buy them from the driver and they’ll already be valid.

At stations? Same as now with Metcards. You’ll have to touch them on to validate them/set the expiry time.

I think this is a mistake. I reckon that given they will be trying to encourage as many people as possible onto reusable Myki cards, they should make it so a Short Term ticket bought at a station is already valid for the day or 2-hour period.

They are not intended to be bought in advance or in bulk (that’s what Myki cards are for) and it would be less confusing for the occasional users who are most likely to be using them.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

(Footnote: It may well be that the same type of ticket will be used for once-off V/Line fares. I’ll admit it may be of some merit to make these valid only from the time/date of first touch-on, if bought in advance/over the counter, but that should be an exception to the rule.)

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.

27 replies on “Myki short term tickets”

Agreed, it’s probably good idea. You don’t need one unless you are planning to travel. I doubt people will stock up on them though, when Myki itself is way cheaper. In a conversation I had at work yesterday, people were didn’t even know they were going to be available, so the existence of short term tickets isn’t well known at the moment anyway.

I posted somewhere else the other day that myki needs a similar scheme to Hong Kong Octopus where Tourists can buy an anonymous myki, use it for the duration of their stay, and then hand it back in when they are finished and get a refund for any credit left plus the cost of the card itself. Or, perhaps, a special “tourist” myki should be considered, or even a “tourist” short term ticket that lasts longer than a day. 3 or four days seems to work for that kind of thing in other cities. But you want to add extra value like entrance to attractions and stuff so that standard commuters don’t buy it all the time :)

“I doubt people will stock up on them”

I particularly doubt it as there are no identifying features on the cards, apart from a serial number. They don’t say what zone, what fare, or what expiry date (if any) they have on them, which makes them particularly awkward for anything other than using them once then chucking them away.

Just noticed looking at your photograph: “Next time get Myki..Its all you need on trains, trams and buses.”

This is currently a false and misleading statement as MYKI is currently inoperable on trams and buses.


These Short Term tickets aren’t available in Melbourne yet. You’ll only see them in regional cities where you can use Myki in all the same places.

But yeah, it’s true there’s not a single tram on which you can legally use Myki yet.

I’m not so sure — it might be a bit confusing, but there needs to be a way to buy tickets for people who are visiting; I do that pretty often with metcards. Then again, I guess I could just keep a few extra Mykis around, like I did with Oysters.

The Lisbon system is the best one; they have durable long-term cards, and less durable short term ones, that are cheap. But you can still recharge the short-term ones (I’m not sure if there are limitations on the types of tickets you can have). So you can just keep using the short term one until it falls apart. I don’t see what the point of making them single use is (unless I missed something, and they’re multi-use).

Actually, Lisbon has the best ticketing system of all the cities I’ve been to. They should have just bought that one for Melbourne…

“What do you think? Agree? Disagree?”

The penny didn’t drop until now on that front, will have to give it some thought, however…

“On trams you’ll buy them from the machine and they’ll be already valid.”

For me being a tram user mostly, I have always seen the reverse as you have.

People buying them on trams and still trying to validate them. So I would always think that tram purchased Metcards shouldn’t be auto validated, as they were no where else.

A maximum duration of one day is too short – they should at least make a weekly version of these things. But I still think you should be able to buy a myki, and hand it in for a refund when you no longer need it. Oyster, Suica and Octopus all allow it. Why is it so hard in Melbourne?

As for whether they should be valid immediately – Sydney train tickets are valid immediately if bought at a station, but need validation if bought at a newsagent. It definitely makes it easier for tourists if it’s a station without gates. However, if you want to buy a ticket in advance, you have to find a newsagent that sells them, which is a level of indirection.

obviously you aren’t expecting to inherit much from your aunt or you’d be DRIVING her around town (joke).
Will the short term myki tickets be available over the counter at Premium stations? Many people stock up metcards from manned stations; they will probably do same with myki.
To Nathan Littel, the only iritation with paying a deposit for HK octopus is that you must pay deposit in cash and get refund in cash. For me (4 cards, one each family member) it meant I was given a whole lot of $HK I didn’t need just as we were hopping on a plane back to Oz.

Simon, good point on tourists. It would make sense to make Myki cards refundable, or at least mostly refundable for tourists. As the rules stand, you can get a refund, but you lose any cost of the card itself, and a $9.80 processing fee.

Perhaps the answer is to make the station machines ask you if you want to use the ticket straight away or not, and have booking office staff ask the same question?

(By the way, sharing Mykis around is technically against the rules, though with Anonymous cards, it would never be detected, and provided people are paying the correct fare, is a victimless crime.)

DaveMark, strongly disagree about changing how trams work. Would be inconsistent with buses, and most importantly, the worst case consequence of validating twice is nothing; the worse case consequence of not validating at all is a $172 fine.

Vas, I disagree on Short Term Weeklies. Short Term tickets are non-reusable and non-recyclable. Once it’s all working, everything possible should be done to get people onto reusable cards. Note that the cost of 7 Dailies (Zone 1 $6.80 x 7 = $47.60) exceeds the cost of a Myki deposit ($10) plus a Weekly Pass ($29.40). (Weekend Saver/Sunday Saver fares will not be available as Short Term tickets.)

Roger, yes they will be available over the counter. But it makes no sense to for regular users to stock up on them when Myki fares are so much cheaper.

I could be wrong but metcards purchased from a TVM used to be automatically validated at the time of purchase. At least it was for a period back in 2003 at Glen Waverley Station. The only way to purchase an advance metcard was from the station attendant.

With the Myki user interface so easily adjustable, why not have two options.
1) Purchase Short Term ticket for use today (Immediately Validated)
A message would display, Ready for Use… Expires in… XXX

2) Purchase Short Term ticket for future use (Non-Validated)
A message would warn that the tickets need to be validated

Option 2 would allow us to keep a few spares in our wallet encase we’ve forgotten our myki and don’t have change.

Of course you are right. I hope we can slug tourists for short term tickets like we are when we travel overseas. I would suggest that nearly half the people who buy a Metcard ticket from the machine on a tram needlessly validate it after buying it. For consistency, I think they should need to validate after buying from a tram machine.

@Andrew the problem is that you _don’t_ get slugged for short-term tickets as a tourist overseas – the major smartcard systems all allow tourists to put down a deposit for a card and get a refund when they no longer need it.

I agree. Validating a ticket right after you buy it from a machine is entirely non-obvious ( where there is no turnstile ).

“As for whether they should be valid immediately – Sydney train tickets are valid immediately if bought at a station, but need validation if bought at a newsagent.”

Since 90% of Sydney stations don’t have barriers and there is nothing like a validator on any Sydney station, they only get validated if you travel to a station with turnstiles.

Actually you can’t buy an ordinary rail ticket at newsagents, only at stations. The only ticket you can buy at a newsagent which works on the trains is a multi-mode travelpass. And 90% of the people who buy those, use buses.

Re: “DaveMark, strongly disagree about changing how trams work.”

I was never suggesting to change how trams work, I was just highlighting how I, and maybe others, see things differently. The fact is that for busses they aren’t auto validated, the driver does it for you, in front of you.

I know I am splitting hairs, but the last time I checked you can buy multi-trip tickets on busses, and whilst I haven’t tried it, I could validate a current multi-trip ticket, whilst asking the driver for a new one, which I would hope was not validated by him/her.

On the matter of short term Myki’s being auto validated, my current feeling is that those that thought they could avoid using the 4 year plastic Myki, will be caught out when a short term Myki machine is found to be broken or off line.

Will the response from Authorised Officer be the same as when you can’t buy a Metcard and you tell them the machine is broken or off line?

Maybe their response will be you should have made the effort to get a 4 year plastic Myki instead, but then if everyone had one what would the point be in buying/offering short term Myki tickets then?

Well actually tourists/visitors won’t be expected to buy one, so will they be let off easily by AO’s, but locals not. ie Locals are expected never to use the excuse of a broken or off line short term Myki ticket machine ever, but tourists/visitors can?

@enno: not true. You can get unvalidated weekly tickets for travel to the city in Bondi Junction. You can buy unvalidated single trip tickets for travel between the city and airport from vending machines at the airport stations. They’re not a common item, but they definitely exist – hence my comment about finding a place that actually sells them. One very real issue with them is that they don’t get an expiry date printed when you first use them – the only way to verify whether they’re valid is to put them through a gate. If you can find open gates and they aren’t checking everyone’s ticket carefully, you can cheat the system with them.

My opinion is that short term tickets shouldn’t be smart cards at all. They should just be a thermal print out style docket with all relevant details on them. From memory this is what they do in Perth and Brisbane. Given they are short term tickets, they don’t need any sort of durability beyond a day, are cheaper to produce and cut down on waste when disposed of. What sort of metals are in the disposable cards that could be put to better use elsewhere or could pose an environmental problem?

Tien, I’m pretty sure that would not have been the case, unless there was a long-running fault in the equipment. Ever since Metcard was introduced you have needed to validate a ticket bought at a station machine.

DaveMark, sorry, I assumed you were making the point so you could argue it. Buses – the effect is the same: by the time you have the card, it has been validated. No, you can’t buy multi-trip tickets on buses (except 2-hour and dailies) – See this link.

Ben, perhaps, but it’s a bit late now. But at least machine-readable tickets will get people through CBD gates without too much delay.

Re: “Buses – the effect is the same: by the time you have the card, it has been validated. ”

I still disagree based upon the below…

Re: “No, you can’t buy multi-trip tickets on buses (except 2-hour and dailies) – See this link.”

I am not sure when that page got changed to be wrong, but it does NOT match the current “Fares-Ticketing-Manual-2009.pdf” page 11. ( )

Back at 21st Dec 2008 I sent a relative an email about the changes coming for 2009, from this now broken link:

Which back then stated amongst many other points…

1) The 10 x 2 hour will be available on buses (to come weeks later)
2) 5 x Seniors Daily Metcard is now available on board buses

And page 11 of the current Fares Ticketing Manual 2009 supports this.

(It only goes to show how complex the system is now, let alone with Myki!)

So again I would not expect one purchased to be validated by the driver if I have validated a current one.

However I never have put any of this to the test, so maybe they have killed the idea, and they have not released a new Fares Ticketing Manual yet to support the change.

Wonder if there was HIGH hope for that manual be replaced by the Myki one sooner rather than later?

DaveMark, thanks for the memory jogger. I think you’re right – they did announce 10×2 hours would be available on buses. But when I tried to buy one about 8 months ago, the driver said no, I couldn’t. I have a vague feeling there was discussion with the bus industry, who were concerned about the amount of money bus drivers would end up carrying, so the idea was canned. So I think at this stage the manual is wrong – you can’t buy any multi-trip tickets on board buses.

You can’t share them around, that’s really too bad. I’m not sure if you’re allowed to share Oysters, I don’t think there’s anything against that. I always kept mine anonymous and changed it occasionally with the other spares I had, just because I could…

Seems like this and the other details are yet another wheel the Myki implementers have redesigned; plenty of other cities have systems that make sense. Why not just do the same thing? (Especially on the refunds, that’s just ridiculous.) It’s like they’re determined to make it cost as much as possible to roll out.

When I was in London, I bought extra Oyster cards when I had friends/family visiting. Being able to meet a friend at the airport, and have a card for them to use was quite convenient. I the context of a temporary card, it would be good to be able to buy one at my leisure (ie not queue when I’m rushing with friends and luggage), and supply them to visitors…

Singapore has an interesting system where you get a temporary card for $2 (from memory…), take your train ride, and if you return the card to the machine, you get a $1 refund. I guess being a more sturdy card means the reliability is higher, the machines need less hands-on work to resupply paper for tickets, and the $1 refund is enough to encourage users to keep the tickets in the system. I think you can also keep the ticket and top it up.

my husband and i seniors from w.a. always loved having a holiday in melbourne
we would buy a weekly met card and off we would go on buses trams or trains
we thought it a very easy way to get around
now it sounds a lot more difficult


@Grant, the Singapore system only issues Standard Tickets (single-trip) valid for the day of issue. The charge is distance-dependent, and includes a $1 deposit.

You’ve only got that day to use it (on the trains only), and you’ve got 30 days to return to a GTM and get your $1 back (it will warn if it’s not used). Handy if the machines are busy, you can just come back the next day.

You cannot recharge these tickets, nor use them for multi-leg trips or on buses or LRT (as you can with the EZ-link card).

On the buses, unless you have an EZ-link, you use cash and the driver gives you a paper ticket. I’m not sure what you do on the LRT systems.

I think there’s a different mistake with the short term tickets: not recycling them. And I think it’s a mistake that gates are not installed at all stations.

In Singapore, you buy a Standard (single-trip contactless) Ticket, and the cost includes a $1 deposit, which you get back when you go back to the GTM after your trip.

You can only use the Standard Ticket for a single train (SMRT) trip, so the requirement to physically insert it at the GTM to get the deposit back has been criticised.

In Kuala Lumpur, they sell single tickets (mag stripe?), and they are retained at the exit gate, and recycled – some tickets do show it!

I’ve asked, and it’s not possible to combine a train & bus trip onto one Standard Ticket, nor is it possible to use a Standard Ticket on the bus (use cash instead).

You can get an EZ-Link, but like our Myki, the card fee of $5 is non-refundable.

I think we’ll be stuck with short-term tickets for as long as we insist on a non-refundable deposit, so the best thing to do is to print a warning on the ones sold at railway stations, and recycle them all (making sure the rail versions with the warning are recycled back to the rail machines).

We should also mount “notes for infrequent users” next to all machines, anyway.


More on Singapore: If they turn the Standard Ticket into a 2 hr ticket, the requirement to return it to the GTM would make sense.

I wonder if this is being quietly planned?.

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