You can pause a Myki Pass

Since many people aren’t using public transport right now, some us who have a Myki Pass aren’t getting much out of them.

Normally the only option is to get a refund. Because of the way PTV calculates refunds, this often isn’t worthwhile.

Back when the COVID-19 crisis was first emerging, your friendly local public transport advocates spoke to the government – who were already thinking about it – and a week or two later they came back with an option to Pause a Myki Pass.

You can ring up PTV and ask for your Myki to be paused. They will flag the Myki card as blocked, and send you out a new one.

The new card has a Pass for the rest of the days, as of the day you make the request. It’s not activated until you use it again, thus the Pass is paused.

For me, I rang up 49 days after I started using my Yearly Pass. The new replacement card has 316 days remaining.

If you want to travel, but not use the Pass (say for a once-off trip while you’re still working from home), then you’ll need to use another card, or Mobile Myki.

My Myki card and Mobile Myki

It’s a bit of a hack, as they mark the old card as lost/stolen – in fact the acknowledgement email I received says just that:

Dear Bowen,

We have received your notification that myki card number [removed] has been lost or stolen. Your myki has been blocked and can no longer be used. Any remaining balance is protected from the moment you reported it lost or stolen.

Heh. “Dear Bowen“. One day I’m going to write a blog post about all the online services that mess this up when sending emails.

Anyway the email doesn’t quite match what’s actually happened, as they’ve re-purposed an existing process. But at least it works and was able to be set up quickly.

How they mark cards as blocked

As part of this process, your original Myki card is blocked.

I decided to test this.

A few days after putting in my request, I exercised my way to a railway station with a Myki Check. For some crazy reason, Myki Checks are not connected to the network, so as you can see in the video below, it told me the card was still valid and active.

Then I placed it on a Myki vending machine. This is connected to the network. The vending machine knew the card had to be marked as blocked, and did so.

Once that was done, the Myki Check and other devices at the station all responded that the card was now declined.

So the way they mark Myki cards as blocked is like any other remote transaction: they send a message to all the networked Myki devices that this has happened.

Apparently thousands of people have applied for their Myki Passes to be paused and replaced. I would anticipate that very few of them will do what I did and actually try the old card. Does this mean Myki devices be clogged up with these transactions? Do they go into dormancy after 90 days like online top-ups?

Hopefully someone’s thought of this!

But kudos to the state government and PTV/DOT for organising this option.

If you have a Yearly Pass you’re not using, get on it!

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.

11 replies on “You can pause a Myki Pass”

I had, and “paused”, a Mobile Myki with a pass – got a new (physical) card now but Google Pay still lists the old card as active. Not like I’m going anywhere soon, but I expect some weirdness later when I try Google Pay on a station.

Hi Daniel,

Are you able to pause Myki Passes multiple times or just once? The PTUA and PTV websites do not address this.


I called PTV and asked for my Myki Pass to be refunded in full as I hadn’t activated it yet, and I don’t plan to do so until at least the next semester of university begins in several months from now. I was told that the only way to do that is to send the whole card back and they’d refund the lot. Surely they have a better system than this?! Is it really that hard to just get a refund on the Pass but keep the card?

It didn’t even occur to me about the block transaction sitting in thousands of readers across Melbourne. I cut mine up and it’s now on it’s way to landfill :(. New card arrived just over a week later.

Glad there is a process to “pause” the annual pass. It’s a shame that it is so convoluted – surely a computer programmer could write some code in 20 minutes to allow a “pause” option.
I’ve never had a annual pass as I use the early bird train. Well, use to!

@Brandon, not sure. Given this is a special arrangement, you might be pushing it.

@Mat, it only applies to regular Passes, not Student Passes. I think for them the only option is a refund. (The iUsePass for international students is different again.)

@Roger, adding functionality to a long-running system (without breaking other things) is rarely that easy!

BTW there’s one other thing to be aware of, just in case… you need to touch on the new pass within 12 months, or it expires! Hopefully we won’t still be in lockdown in 12 months!

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