Protip: the Myki gate doesn’t have to close behind the previous person before you can touch your card

Update – see below

At busy times, queues can form at station fare gates, especially when large numbers of people arrive from multiple trains at once.

Investment in more gates and faster (Vix) readers has helped – 950 new readers are being installed in 141 stations.

But it’s noticeable than some people wait for the person in front of them to go through and for the gate to close before touching their card. This slows things down.

You don’t need to wait. When the light acknowledging the previous person’s card goes off (or for older readers, when it says “Touch here”) you can touch your card – even if the gate itself hasn’t closed yet behind the previous person.

In the video above, hopefully you can see that the guy in front of me waits until the previous person has cleared the gate and the gate has fully closed, then he touches.

But I touch my card and follow before the gate has closed.

This helps keep the queue moving rather than a stop-start shuffle.

Given ongoing problems at some busy stations, I’m surprised authorities haven’t tried to educate passengers on this – particularly now all the busiest stations have the faster readers.

Keeping people moving through the gate line seems like a logical step to help improve flows through stations.

Update – it turns out there’s a complication! I’m told that at some locations, going through this fast may not be possible – the gate may get confused and close on you. This seems to be an issue with some of the red coloured gates in particular – not the yellow ones shown above. So if the gate is red, you’re right to be wary.

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.

12 replies on “Protip: the Myki gate doesn’t have to close behind the previous person before you can touch your card”

Thanks Daniel, that is good to know, as anything that will help speed up the throughput of passengers is a good thing. However your post does raise the broader question: Why do we need gates at all? Most of the suburban stations don’t have gates, just readers. It makes no sense to me that the busiest stations, where you really need the quickest possible throughput of passengers are the ones that have the gates. Can you explain this one to me?

good to hear. I will forward on my fine to you when I get nabbed for not touching on properly while walking through a myki gate behind someone.

@Malcolm, Pretty sure the gates are there to prevent fare evading. It’s supposed to make sure that you can’t get through without touching on your myki.

I don’t use trains that often but I did pick that up quickly. I note those using the gate next to the one you used have the hang of it. You see the green light on the reader and it beeps to let you know you have touched on. I think even the old readers, while slower, could do the same.

Actually, at what point can you touch on the gates? Is it once the previous person in front has cleared?

I’m asking this, because I had one incident in Sydney where the Opal gates just slammed prematurely on my face, before I finished all the way across. A person after me was right behind me, and s/he touched on their Opal card, only for that card to be rejected (possibly due to insufficient top-up). (I don’t remember the person’s gender) This happened at the point where I just happened to be walking in the middle of the gate, only to meet the closing gates head-on (all thanks to the person after not having the patience to see that I cleared the gates), and having to jump over. If this is a possibility in Melbourne too, then I’d rather wait 30 secs more due to people being cautious, than risking another premature gate slam.

@Daniel I’m assuming that the acknowledgement light goes out when the person in front clears the gate? As for my “30 secs”, I meant that as “I’d rather spend a bit more time in the queue – as in taking 30 sec longer for the whole process, *not* standing in front of the gate like an idiot for 30 secs (from the looks of it that’s probably more like 1 second per person) – if the alternate means having the gate slam in my face.”

@Marcus, to be fair that’s because the myki scanner there is so slow. Most of them are just waiting for the thing to recognise their card. I’m sure it would be faster with the newer scanners.

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