PTUA transport

Myki trams and buses: day one

A journo mentioned a certain MP this morning was quoting some transport-related sections my blog — presumably the favourable ones, such as the post that talked about the Myki transition plan. While my posts here do not necessarily represent PTUA policy, I suppose this blog is part of the mix of being an advocate — so I don’t have a big problem with that, provided it’s taken in context.

Myki scanner out of serviceSo, with that in mind, Myki is now valid on trams and buses.

So far today I’ve taken three bus rides:

On the first, everything worked fine. Scanners okay, and my touch-on and off charged me correctly: nothing, because I already have a zone 1 pass (eg a monthly) on the card.

On the second, the scanners worked okay, but as I touched-off, it said it had charged me 6 cents. This is the surcharge for using zone 2 on a weekend, when you have a zone 1 pass. The problem is, that section of the bus route is in the zone 1+2 overlap, so it shouldn’t have charged me anything. 6 cents isn’t a big deal, but if it were a weekday, it would have been an extra $2.02, which certainly is a big deal.

On the third, none of the three scanners on the bus were working.

As Maxwell Smart would say, “One out of three ain’t bad.”

I suppose it was inevitable that there were going to be glitches, and this is only a small sample, but really, it’s not very impressive.

Others out there on buses and trams are having similar experiences. It’s working fine for some, but some are getting free rides, and some scanners aren’t working.

Hopefully these problems will be ironed out quickly. Passengers have enough challenges without dealing with a problematic ticketing system.

Update Monday:

Metcard and MykiTram ride 1: Tried to touch-on through my wallet, which normally works fine for me. Instead it said “Multiple cards detected.” Took the card out and tried again, and it worked okay. Didn’t bother to touch-off. ‘Cos you don’t have to anymore, right?

Tram ride 2: No response through wallet. Took it out of wallet (and left it out for subsequent rides), it decided to touch me off. A hangover from the previous ride? Correctly didn’t charge me anything.

I didn’t bother to touch it again — I have a Pass loaded, so I was paid up, but potentially someone on Myki Money (pay-as-you-go) who was taking a second trip more than two hours after the first, might not notice, and might not then be holding a valid ticket. This is another reason why the sounds need to be changed, but also if you touch onto a different tram from your previous ride, it should realise that’s the case, and treat it as another touch-on.

(It’s possible it was the same tram, as it was on the same tram route, a couple of hours after the first ride. But the tram was certainly on a different trip.)

Bus ride 1: Route 401 from the hospital precinct to North Melbourne station. Packed with students. Who says people don’t use buses? Many of them appeared to board without bothering to validate/touch/show a ticket, which is probably not a problem given 99% of them would get off the bus at the station and then need a ticket to get through the gates. I touched my Myki on and off, and all appeared to be well.

Bus ride 2: Route 219 from North Melbourne into the City. Touch-on worked okay, quite fast. Touch-off quite slow; I made sure to touch-off well before the bus stopped, so as not to delay it. Appeared to correctly charge me (no charge on top of my existing Zone 1 Pass).

So, 3/4 for those samples.

Update Monday night

A request for the 6 cent overcharge to be refunded (submitted via the web site) was processed; it should show up on my card within 24 hours.

I should add that travel on trains with Myki has worked fine today… as it has for months.

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.

14 replies on “Myki trams and buses: day one”

I caught five trams today, everything working. Checked balance at machine at platform stop, working ok. Stand alone balance reader would not read my card.

The system is overcharging people… and you expect that to be fixed QUICKLY?


Seeing as there are lots of glitches, maybe this is the reason why they’re still charging $10 to buy a myki – to compensate for the fact that you’re gonna get a lot of free rides.

Seriously, if you’re a bus commuter:
-hardly ANY of the route 902 buses have a myki reader installed (they still have a mounting bracket)
-Ventura’s new Scania K230UB’s, numbered between 943 to 951, have incomplete National Bus Co branded SmartBus livery (usually operating route 279, and a handful of routes on weekends), but also have no myki reader’s fitted yet (mounting brackets).

That’s the only one’s I’ve noticed, but regardless, there are still a large number of bus readers displaying “Out of Order”.

As part of the Melbourne Open house day, I rode 6 trams. The first three said I didn’t have any money on the card, despite the $50 I put last Thursday. Then the fourth tram seemed to accept a touch on as did the following two. I initally expected to pay $3.00 for a Sunday ticket, but I think I have only been charged $2.94 because it only registered the last three trips.

Also, there is a sever lack of working machines at city tram stops.

However I can’t check tonight because I can’t log on. I had a short term mental blank on my password, so had the website send me a new one. That part worked OK, but the then the website would not accept the password it had just sent me

So I’ll wait and see
Overall, still not a good experience

as usual, good foot-work and analysis.
Yes, 6 cents, isn’t much, but you would have been over-charged more if you were a child/concession holder.
Do you know HOW a myki on a bus in a zone overlap is supposed to know what zone(s) it is in? The metcard system relies on a driver manually changing between 1 and 2 (overlap is not allowed, so you can get “waved through” sometimes). thanks!!

Its all very well for you expert mavens who know exactly how it should work and who closely monitor every trip. Ordinary people on ordinary working days not so keen to be monitoring all the time.
In the comments on the Age website, lots of people still seem misinformed. One guy saying how he liked topping up online before setting off to the station so he didn’t have to deal with the ticket machines [ presumably 5 days before setting off to the station]. Another guy said how he liked that he could lose his myki and not lose his money [ except for $10 for a new one and three weeks without a ticket ]. Another guy said it was 20% cheaper [ only if he was paying too much before ]. And so on.
This business of the scanning on one tram and then scanning on another tram later and actually getting scanned off is a big problem which is going to screw over a lot of people.

Just travelled Abbotsford to Footscray and back (train, bus / bus, train) and all worked perfectly. Though, like you, I have stopped trying to use it while it’s in my wallet: either doesn’t work, or takes forever.

I have had no wallet issues but I think it depends on the wallet, where in the wallet the myki is, and what else might be in the wallet. Though this week, at least on trams, I’ve started taking the card out anyway cause I no longer have to feel like a criminal for using a ticket :) I got a new wallet not long before myki came out, much smaller than my last one and I cleared out a lot of the crap. Also I don’t keep coins in my wallet any more and they just float loose in my pocket now, but usually I get rid of them every night at the myki machine.

Agreed on the sounds… that SO needs to be changed. Not only that, but some readers are really loud (great!) whilst others you can barely hear any sound at all.

It was nice taking a tram to work for a change this morning. Much more pleasant than a train, even though it took more than twice as long.

I had an interesting one today – I hopped on a tram, touched on, all ok (well, it took 3 goes, but anyway)… hopped off, went shopping, then got a tram back home.

Touching “on” resulted in the message “touch off successful”…. I thought about it a second, and realised the tram was the same as I’d used for the first journey, having turned around at the terminus up the road and now on its way back… the computer thought I’d stayed on the whole time, not having touched off at the conclusion of my first trip.

Perhaps drivers (or GPS tracking) should be able to figure out when a tram is reversing direction, now touching off on trams is no longer required, so as to get trip statistics right? It won’t make a difference to fares (or shouldn’t), so can’t see it high on the priorities though. One possible drawback is that I suspect I was “illegal” on the homeward trip, not having ‘touched on’ according the tram myki machines… I would have needed to swipe twice for this to occur.

@Dave, yeah, similar issue to what I found, I think (assuming I did indeed catch the same tram twice). Things should reset when the tram terminates and starts a new trip, but it appears it doesn’t. My understanding is GPS is used to detect what zone the vehicle is in, so in theory it should be able to work out when it gets to the end of the route, and reset itself. I’ll see if I can find out.

its obviously your responsibility to make a note of the tram number the first time, and make sure you don’t catch the same tram again that day. How would the myki system know you were not a joyrider who just rode the tram to the end of the line and back again ? It can’t, so it is your responsibility to work around their shortcomings. Its a shame you didn’t get a fine for being “illegal” on the second trip. Ignorance is no excuse.

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