If you’d told me in 2019 that I’d spend a full year not commuting to work, I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are.
A year ago, PTV saw the writing on the wall, and granted a pause for Myki Yearly Pass holders. This was done by issuing a new card loaded with a revised Pass with the remaining number of days on it – unactivated, so it could be used when things got back to normal.
But whatever was normal has changed for a lot of people. For me long term, it’s looking like the old pattern of five days a week in the City won’t come back – it’s more likely to be 2-3 days a week. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
So then: is a Pass still the best Myki fare?
Myki Money, the pay-as-you-go option, is charged in 2-hour fares, with a maximum of two per day.
- Myki Money in peak is $9 per day
- Myki Money off-peak (at this stage being trialled only until the end of April) is $6.30 per day
- Myki Money on weekends and public holidays is capped at $6.50
Myki Pass is designed for regular travellers. You pay up front for unlimited travel during a period – at a cheaper per day rate than Myki Money – so it’s good value if you use it a lot.
For everyday travellers who can afford the up-front cost, one of the cheapest options is a Commuter Club Yearly Pass. Via the PTUA, these cost $1600 (plus $50 PTUA membership).
Other options include regular Myki Pass, for 7 days, or from 28 to 365 days. (33 is a common one – starting on a Monday it covers five weeks minus the fifth weekend.)
Weekly costs for these:
- Commuter Club $1600 = $30.68 per week
- 33 Day Myki Pass $178.20 = $35.64 per week
- 28 Day Myki Pass $151.20 = $37.80 per week
- 7 Day Myki Pass = $45 per week
But a lot of people are no longer using public transport for commuting every day, and may not be using it much for other trips. So what’s better value for them?
Money vs Pass: it’s complicated
Compare the Myki Money cost to the Pass costs above, and you start to see that a 28+ Day Pass is still better if you’re travelling 4-5 or more days per week, but may not be otherwise.
Other factors include:
- Some people might have some of their travel each day in peak, some in off-peak. Some might also use Early Bird (free metro trains before 7:15am). And some might do all their travel on a day within one 2-hour fare.
- Public holidays are charged at the weekend fare
- The numbers are a bit different for Zone 2-only journeys and Concession fares, and quite different for V/Line beyond Zone 2 (which as for Concession has no Commuter Club option)
- If you do buy a Pass in advance, you’re protected against January price rises. This was waived in 2021, but might come back next year
- If considering a long term Pass, bear in mind Annual Leave and public holidays
- Of course many people may not want to sink a lot of money into a long term Myki Pass
- Myki Money has the benefit of Auto Top-up (also known as Auto Load for Mobile Myki) which you can’t do with Passes. Set and forget. It works really well.
If (like me) you’re sitting on a partly used Commuter Club Yearly from last year: check the PTV refund policy before you cash it in. They calculate what you used, then deduct the cost of that from the purchase price from PTV (which might be slightly different to what the organisation charged you). So the refund might be less than you expect.
Mine’s got 316 days left on it, so it’s been used for 49 days. If I get it refunded, I think I would get back $1579.50 – 264.60 = $1314.90. If I keep it I can have unlimited travel for $4.16 per day, or $29.13 per week. See what I mean by it being complicated?
What does all this mean?
For you to find the best deal, consider your new expected travel patterns.
For government, they should really look at extending the off-peak discount trial until at least the end of the year while people establish their new travel patterns.
And more importantly, it’s time they scrapped the Myki 7-day Pass and replaced it with a weekly cap (originally intended to be implemented), so people can be more confident they’re not going to lose out if switching to Myki Money.