PTUA transport

Myki doesn’t always give you the best fare

One of the selling points of Myki is that ‘Myki Money’ will charge you the best daily fare, if you touch-on and touch-off on every trip.

It turns out not to be always true. There’s at least one specific set of circumstances where it doesn’t.

The PTUA got asked a while back about travel around the zone boundaries, and specifically on a scenario similar to that outlined below. (I think the lady actually travels in the Surrey Hills area.)

Frankston line zone overlapHere’s how it works on Metcard, using a 10×2 hour Zone 1 ticket, and a separate 10×2 hour Zone 2 ticket:

Mckinnon to Caulfield at 9:05am. (Z1 2 hour, expires midday. $2.94)

Caulfield to Mckinnon at 10:05am. (existing fare. $0.00)

Mckinnon to Moorabbin at 11:05am. (Z2 2 hour, expires 2pm $2.02.)

Moorabbin to Mckinnon at 12:05pm. (existing fare. $0.00)

Metcard total $4.96

Here’s how it works on Myki Money:

McKinnon to Caulfield at 9:05am. (Product: Z1 2 hour, expires midday. $2.94)

Caulfield to Mckinnon at 10:05am. (existing product. $0.00)

Mckinnon to Moorabbin at 11:05am. (Upgrades the existing product to Z1+2 2 hour, expires midday. $2.02.)

Moorabbin to Mckinnon at 12:05pm. (Product: Z2 2 hour, expires 3pm. $2.02.)

Myki total $6.98.

I’ve received confirmation from the TTA that the calculation above is correct: that is, when Myki upgrades your existing (and still valid) fare to cover a new zone, it has the same expiry as the original fare, rather than allowing you the full 2+ hours.

This means in the scenario above, a passenger would be charged more on Myki than on Metcard. The only workaround is to use two Myki cards – just as one would do now to obtain the cheapest fare.

Admittedly this is a specific set of circumstances which is probably quite rare, and it depends on no other travel that day that would incur extra charges.

But it does show that Myki doesn’t necessarily give you the best fare.

What they should probably do is have the additional Z2 fare have its own expiry time — at least when the relevant journey (McKinnon to Moorabbin) can be made under a single zone fare.

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.

17 replies on “Myki doesn’t always give you the best fare”

‘What they should probably do is have the additional Z2 fare have its own expiry time — at least when the relevant journey (McKinnon to Moorabbin) can be made under a single zone fare.”

agreed, but do you think they could figure out how to write that code if they couldnt figure out how to loop through seniors and add a cent?

my myki did this:
Flinders street to oakleigh
Went to friends we shopped in Clayton
Boarded train in Clayton to go back to Flinders St

What was charged
Zone 1 2 Hour (10.45am-1300pm)
Zone 2 2 Hour (12.15pm-1500pm)

So it charged me the best outcome, 2 separate tickets as opposed to one shortened added fare.

I think exception would have been if i had of touched off when the zone 1 ticket had expired then it would of converted the zone 2 into a 1+2

I haven’t been paying much attention to myki for the last few days, though I have been using it. Readers at Hawthorn have been intolerably slow in the last few mornings, and in fact this morning I almost missed a train because of it. I can’t believe that these problems are still occuring almost 5 months after it started, allegedly “working” on trains.

Did TTA give any indication that the scenario you mention may be rectified, Daniel?

@James, thanks. Can you clarify what time you travelled from Clayton back to Flinders St? How do you know what the expiry time of the Z2 fare was?

Note that under the rules you can complete your travel after the expiry time; the important thing is to commence the trip/touch-on before the expiry.

The relevant text from the Myki fares and ticketing manual, p57 (I’ve added some emphasis):

Where a customer makes a journey which includes a zone or zones for which a valid product already exists on their myki (a 2 hour product, Daily product, or a myki pass – see chapter 5), the fare charged for that journey is the 2 hour fare for the whole journey minus the 2 hour fare for the part of the journey for which a product exists. Where this occurs and the existing product is a 2 hour product, the product on the myki is changed to match the travel taken.

For example: a customer makes a trip in zone 1 (fare $2.94), followed (before the expiry of the zone 1 product) by a trip from zone 1 to zone 2. The fare for the second trip is equal to the fare for the whole trip ($4.96) minus the zone 1 portion ($2.94), ie $2.02. This amount is deducted from the myki money balance and the zone 1 product on the myki is upgraded to a zone 1-2 (with the same expiry time).

@Nathan, no, they indicated it will not be changed.

Metcard is often remarkably generous with their 2 hour fares. A couple of times recently I have begun a (broken) homeward journey soon after 1pm and had my Metcard validated to expire at 3am next day. That’s almost 14 hours for the price of 2! Very useful if you need to stop for a period of time on the way home…

Back to a previous topic – does anyone know if Myki top ups over the internet work within a reasonable time yet? I have stopped using mine because it offers no tangible advantage and (by comparison with the Metcard experience above) cost and convenience disadvantages. Touching on & off is always slower than using a Metcard.

Now back to James’ situation, what was myki actually doing there ? Since his second journey appears to have commenced within the 2+ hour window of the first, it loooks like his second zone 2 fare was actually an upgrade of the first zone 1 2 hour fare to a zone 1+2 2 hour fare. Which would be the same as Daniel’s second case. Would this interpretation be correct or am I confused again ?

Well i didnt know the expiry times as you say, but here is the statement of fees charged from Myki.


19/05/2010 10.42am Touch On Train City Flinders Street Station $2.94
19/05/2010 11.16am Touch Off Train 1 Oakleigh Station –
19/05/2010 12.20pm Touch On Train 2 Clayton Station $2.02
19/05/2010 12.58pm Touch Off Train City Flinders Street Station –
19/05/2010 14.15pm Touch On 2 Dandenong Station –
19/05/2010 14.46pm Touch Off 2 Clayton Station-

As you can see, the train from Flinders-oakleigh was charged as a zone 1 2 hour.
When i boarded again at Clayton it charged me for a zone 2 , 2 hour ticket
When i got off at Flinders Street it didnt charge me (used the zone 1 ticket i was already charged for)
When i boarded again, at Dandy (was driven to dandy) it was well after the zone 1 1, 2 hour would have expired but it didnt charge me becuase the zone 2 2 hour was still valid from the clayton-flinders st trip.

Further to last comment
i noticed that Zone 1 2 hour ticket valid for 2 hours + Zone 2 2 hour ticket valid for 2 hours (from touch on) is same as a 1+2 2 hour valid for 2 hours only.
so i got travel from 10.40am-2.45pm for cost of 1+2 2 hour ticket… so not bad i think.

@James, thanks for posting that extract. So assume you got driven or walked from Oakleigh at 11:16 to Clayton at 12:20?

I wonder if it’s different because your second trip commenced within zone 2, rather than within the zone overlap, as in my example?

Either that or they’ve quietly fixed it (without updating the F+TM to match it).

Well I think for your second trip, it was actually changing your original 2 hr zone 1 ticket to a 2 hr zone1+2 ticket. Which would be the same price as a new 2 hour zone 2 ticket.

The reason I think this, is if it was actually starting a new 2 hour zone 2 ticket, it would have charged you for a zone 2 to zone 1 journey when you got to flinders street the second time.

I doesn’t explain why it doesnt seem to have charged you anything for the third trip, however.

Daniel, if you can write a logic algorithm that would detect that situation and adjusted the fares, I’d love to see it!

What they should do is have a single non-zonal fare system, $2.50 for a six hour period starting at the time of the initial validation.

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