Monthly ticket costs

Remember this post a while back where I tried to figure out how many days in a month you need to travel to make Monthly tickets a worthwhile purchase?

Turns out in many other cities around the world, a Monthly ticket is a no-brainer purchase, even if you work 4 days a week, even if there are holidays in the month, as they cost around 12-13 daily tickets — in comparison to Melbourne’s 20.

Dropping the prices would not only make Monthlies a compelling purchase, encouraging more regular users, and cutting queues and transaction costs — it could also help Myki work better, by avoiding queues to touch-off (you don’t need to if travelling on a Pass), and complicated calculations to work out your 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.

10 replies on “Monthly ticket costs”

you think that’s bad, you should try ballarat’s davis’ buses :'(
monthly ticket cost = 22.7 daily tickets

and for the yearly tickets… you could buy 245 daily tickets at the full price and still be better off by $2.50… last I checked, there is 48×5=240 days a year for typical “commuting” needs (assuming no RDO/sick days and 4 weeks annual leave).

it is a disgrace.

Heh! I thought I was really overthinking it by using 10x2s in Feb because Iguesstimated that with only 28 days in the month, you could add in a couple of days working from home and lose money on a monthly ticket.

I didn’t do the maths but you did!

I’d be happy to see individual fares rise further, but a better discount on the periodicals. Everyone should just have a myki in their wallet/purse; encourages spontaneous travel, and you’re always equipped to travel by PT.
They’re doing this in Canberra – there was a big jump in the cash fare, but periodicals hardly budged (a discount after inflation), specifically to discourage “on bus” transactions, and for most passengers to be using smartcards.

@Shell, the calculations included paying for weekends, but if you exclude them it becomes clearer. In Feb there are 20 weekdays, so if you don’t use PT on weekends, a $109.60 Z1 Monthly Metcard is costing you $5.48 per weekday (compared to $6.80 on individual weekdays, or $5.88 using 10×2 hours or Myki Money). Yes, if you only work 18 days, the Monthly is more expensive than 10×2 hour tickets/Myki Money.

That’s the point of the study of course. It should be cheap enough to buy a Monthly (without single tickets going up — they’re already expensive by world standards) that you don’t need to think about it every month, you just buy it in the knowledge that you’re saving money.

IPART in Sydney always made a big deal about this issue. A rail weekly in Sydney usually cost almost the same as 4 days return fares. When I used to buy weeklies for the train, I remember it was 10c more than 4 days tickets. So in a week with a long weekend or RDO, you would save 10c by buying tickets on 4 days.

IPART consistently objected to this discount and said weekly fare should be increased. In fact, the opposite has happened. Weekly tickets for some types of services are now cheaper than 3 days tickets.

From the comments on the Age:

“One of the best reasons to buy a monthly or a weekly Zone 1 metcard – is that you can use it across all zones on weekends at no extra charge. I doubt that Myki offers this cost saving feature. When I tried to buy a monthly Myki pass online I had to choose which Zones I wanted to travel in and it was costed accordingly. Boring to keep complaining about Myki but they keep giving us reasons….

Mykayla | melbourne – February 21, 2011, 11:57AM”

…which is yet another example of people still just not getting it after all this time. I’ll admit its not totally free, but at only 6c extra per day i’m not fussed and when I think of all the Saturday timetables through Christmas/New Year it definitely makes it worthwhile.

Last weekend I travelled Highett > Caulfield > Oakleigh > Chadstone > Malvern and Malvern >Parliament >Doncaster for just 12c on top of my monthly pass. Myki is just so much more convenient, especially when you don’t have a car and thus rely on public transport 100% like I do. After six months using Myki I could never go back to Metcard.

in January, I was getting a few extra days off and then there was Australia Day, so I didn’t bother validating my monthly ticket as I had done the calculations several years before and I knew I’d be losing out bigtime.

Instead I subsisted on the 10 x 2 hr 2 hour metcards -thanks for letting me know that it becomes a daily after you validate it twice – I didn’t know it did that until I read it here 8-).

In London back in 1995, monthly Underground tickets for zone 1 which you could also use on the Docklands Light Railway were 55 pounds, which was 2 pound 75 p assuming there were 20 working days in a month, which was fantastic. I’m sure they are still a comparable price.

Also, if you had monthly or weekly passes, you could travel on the hourly Night buses which run from the station hubs around town into the Home Counties, you had free travel.

Another bonus was that you had a “home station”, which meant when you bought your first monthly transport pass, you filled out a card at the station counter with your name address and phone number on it and if you happened to lose your ticket, they had a record of your purchase and you could easily be given another one for a couple of quid admin fee. That assumes that station offices are regularly open, of course. Generally the outer stations were open in peak times, and the inner ones were open for the whole time the network was running.

Yet another bonus was that as a monthly ticketholder, you got given this smart little vinyl wallet to keep yr ticket in – it has 4 flaps, and I am using it today, 15 years after returning from living there. A great way to ensure your ticket lasts the distance.

The whole point of the Melbourne Transport Ticketing Scheme was to provide job protection for Tram Conductors and Station Staff. Older readers may remember that when Zones were introduced, a Zone 123 ticket cost more than three single zone tickets: Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, and a daily ticket cost more than two singles. There was a price incentive to buy a seperate ticket at every interchange.

That replaced the existing seperate rail-bus-tram tickets, where the daily rail ticked cost less than two singles, and the whole-system daily ticket, which covered the whole metropolitan area (further than Zone 2, but not quite as far out as Zone 3, because the new Zone 3 included some of what was previously VicRail Bus area outside the urban fringe).

The whole-system daily ticket was well on the way to replacing tram and bus tickets for multi-modal transport, and the next obvious move was to get rid of the tram conductors. The goverenment was already putting into service Z class trams designed to driver-only operation: like a bus, the driver was exposed to entering passengers, so that he could sell tickets as required.

All those Z class trams already in service had to be rebuilt to provide seating for tram conductors when the State Government changed. Technical note: the Z class trams had much greater torque, giving greater “jerk”, which was why we all fell over when the tram started. On the W class trams, the conductors stood up.

All changed in Term 3, when the government reneged on its deal with the Transport Unions, and made all the tram conductors redundant, leading to the massive public transport strike, followed by the Kennett government, but we are still living with the remnants of the ticketing and zoning system from the 1980’s political deal. The worst excesses were trimmed off, but it’s still fundamentally a system designed with the expectation that people should pay “per journey”, not “for a transport service”, and “at the point of use”, rather than “like a pack of cigarettes”

Kennett had the chance to throw it all out and use a cheap and easy system, but was advised not to do so. Baillieu gets another chance, but will probably get the same advice.

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