Mckinnon’s only #Myki reader – queues getting longer

So, let’s check back in at Mckinnon station, where the presence of only a single Myki reader on the main platform results in long queues every evening peak hour, as increasing numbers of Myki users wait to touch-off.

There’s plenty of space to put in additional Myki readers. But it still hasn’t happened yet, despite extras going in at the next and previous stations, Bentleigh and Ormond.

TTA, are you trying deliberately to annoy these people?

(Previous: late-March)

Update 24/4/2012: Yesterday work started on the installation of additional readers.

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 “Mckinnon’s only #Myki reader – queues getting longer”

Rode the train to Werribee last week (yes I needed to fill in some time … ) and noticed they have been installing additional Myki readers and entrances at Yarraville, Seddon and so one similar to the one they put in at Prahran with a set of steps a few months back – the stations with island platforms will require a different approach though!!

Haven’t seen such activity on the Dandenong line – anything for the Frankston line??

I don’t understand why the TTA doesn’t reach out directly on issues like this in forums such as this one.

Surely someone there monitors major Melbourne transport blogs? Why not comment and engage. Keep it manageable, and obviously don’t become obsessed with answering blogs, but why not reach out and try to explain some of these things?

Never assume purpose where incompetence could be the cause.

Not sure why we need 1200 ‘testers’ – they’re out there now and already providing feedback.

My experience is that the single reader at McKinnon is no big deal in the evening peak – and I use it nearly every evening. A queue does form in the evening, but it moves quickly – almost, but not quite, at the ‘not breaking stride’ speed promised. The biggest problem at the moment is Myki newbies who haven’t mastered the technique.

This is probably helped by the relatively small numbers using McKinnon (compared with Ormond and Bentleigh) and the generous service (10 minute frequency).

It’s more of a problem on the odd occasion when the reader goes on the blink – then you have to go to the other platform to tag on/off there. But that has only happened two or three times in my experience of using Myki.

Actually, the more annoying time is the morning peak. The Metcard vending machine is right in front of the single reader, and passengers purchasing a Metcard step away from the machine (to let the next person buy a ticket) and block access to the reader while they put away their ticket and change, rearrange their bags, chew their cud…

@Andrew S – Extra Myki readers were put in on the Dandenong line (at least on the Down platform at Murrumbeena) last year.

@Andrew S, I couldn’t swear to it, but I think Clayton platform 2’s exit was widened. It also looks like they might be doing the same on platform 1 (I assume a lot of people heading to the uni from the Dandenong area).

You forget the MAGIC NUMBER.

You know it. Everyone in the industry knows it.

It’s the percentage of people who are willing to pay a little more for quicker, easier service. ie. the percentage of people who would rather walk through, not touch off, and pay the higher fare instead of waiting in a line of hundreds.

The lobbyists for Myki loved that number. So did the government. They saw $$$. TONS AND TONS OF $$$,$$$,$$$,$$$. God bless that lobbysist that championed MyKi. He deserved every cent of his multi-billion sallary (plus bonuses).

An extra exit has been cut in the fence (not yet open) on the outbound platform at Moreland and a few other stations on the Upfield line. So things are happening. Slowly.

Worse are the frequent breakdowns of the topup machines. The other week the one on platform 1 was flicking between black&white and colour, Greek and English, an information screen and goodness knows what else, in such rapid succession that it was completely impossible to do anything with it. The woman trying to use it had waited three days for a topup online and had gone into the red by taking the bus to the station. The machine on the other platform did the crazy flicking thing a couple of times last year, and the other day was stuck in startup.

And they wonder why people don’t buy tickets…

Sydenham has had 6 readers on its main platform since myki started and they have recently put in the steel poles for an additional 4. Maybe these should’ve gone to Mckinnon.

I’d wager that McKinnon was simply overlooked or forgotten when they recently installed a bunch of new readers at stations. When Daniel pointed it to them, rather than admit this they’ve simply fobbed him off. This is one of TTA/myki’s major failings… rarely do they admit fault when flaws in their “Grand plan” are pointed out, and they don’t seem to take valid criticism on board. Instead they stick their fingers in their ears or plant their heads in the sand. Very disappointing, but hardly surprising.

Checking back through my notes, what they said a couple of months ago was that Mckinnon will get an additional 3 (or it might have been 4) additional readers in the second half of this year, and they seemed to be claiming this can’t happen until (at least one of) the Metcard validators is removed. It’s unclear to me why they believe this to be the case, as there’s plenty of space, as long as you don’t want the new Myki readers to go precisely where the Metcard validators go.

As a Myki newbie I decided to buy my first pass at the weekend instead of Monday morning peak hour. It is fortunate I am patient as it took 3 attempts before I was successful. I spent about 10 to 15 mins at each attempt before giving up in frustration and trying again next time I was passing the station. I am still not quite sure quite what I did the third time so the machine did not spit out or reject my notes. At the second attempt another person also tried to update their card for the first time. We both gave up when the screen went to Chinese? characters and we could not see how to get it back to English. It seems there is a bit of a learning curve for us first time users.

It will be interesting to see how I manage next month.

I was in Brisbane over Easter and used their Go cards without a hitch. Probably helped that I was able to purchase my card using a human interface at the station instead of a machine. :-)

@Roy – it’s not a learning curve, they genuinely break down a LOT (see above). The same machines above have had constant issues with rejecting notes.

I would expect a person of average intelligence to be able to work out how to use the machines successfully from scratch, but it seems they’re not designed that way.

@ Roy – you will also find the older retrofitted Metcard barriers at the inner city stations often require repeated attempts of Myki swipes to actually open them – going part way at least to explain the queues 50-deep reportedly trying to get through at peak hour. These are gradually (due to the two systems in use) being replaced with dedicated Myki barriers which work marginally better from my experience.

And yes flerdle is right, I have also seen the top up machines randomly go from English to Chinese to Greek, etc!!

@Daniel – they may well have put additional ones at Clayton – I tend to notice the former burnt out shelter (now just the under floor structure) there more!! I did notice however at Noble Park they squeezed four readers in the space of the DOWN platform exit as there was (barely) the space available.

@flerdle – I tried at 2 different stations and I did not have the impression they were broken or operating in a random manner. But when you have not seen it work correctly how do you know?

This morning at Flinders St. I received a lesson on how to touch off.! Apparently I was impatient and on not being allowed to exit through the barriers I moved the card in an agitated manner to try and illicit a response. This is wrong you must hold it still and wait for a second. It does make me wonder how much of the budget went on user testing.

What intrigued me most was my instinct to move the card to try and get some feedback that the card had made contact.

I guess I now need to get a lesson on how to top up. :-)

I lived at McKinnon for a year, using Myki for that entire time (now I’m at Mordialloc), and found the single Myki reader between platforms 1 and 2 more than annoying. It seemed even sillier that platform 3, where only a few off-peak trains ever stop during a short time in the morning, had 2 readers. Maybe others didn’t find the single reader a problem but I often found there would be lines of people waiting to get out. Like others I contacted the Myki people twice about this and was given a meaningless template response that nothing could be done until Metcard was properly gone.

I don’t understand this public transport obsession with needing to put Myki and Metcard machines on the border of a narrow tunnel into the station, which creates a bottleneck, especially when there’s only space for one or two people to get across the platform’s border and use the scanner at any one time. Even on McKinnon platform 3 and several other stations I’ve been to, the presence of extra readers was meaningless because they’re directly opposite other readers at a narrow gap such that they’re unusable if another person is touching off.

If people aren’t allowed on the platform without a valid ticket, why can’t the scanners be placed outside the platform? McKinnon has a long pathway and subway leading all the way up to the platform, and Myki readers could easily be spaced along it for people to stop and use the next one available on the way in, without lining up, especially if the pathway was widened a little so they wouldn’t block the way. Or hey, why not put some readers on the platform itself, where there’s heaps of space? Station staff rarely stand and stare at people touching on at the stations anyway, and with some exceptions they often go to lengths to avoid seeing fare evaders anyway, and if they really suspect someone then give them a scanner or two. Why should the rest of us suffer?

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