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Thursday, 06 December 2012 23:02

Myki and the feet-of-clay Featured

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Myki is a project that is over-budget and under-loved. Can nothing go right for it? Probably not.

We have written extensively about Myki over the years, little has been complimentary. Nothing is about to change.

For the past few weeks, Victoria's Transport Ticketing Authority (TTA) - the people who manage Melbourne's wonderful Myki - have been promoting the fact that as of December 29th, Myki will be the only way to pay for any form of public transport.

Aside from some weird tourist pack that will contain a variety of vouchers to 'interesting' venues, nothing has been done to satisfy the casual user of public transport. Effective December 29th (just in time for New Years' celebrations!), it will no longer be possible to jump on a bus or tram and pay cash for a single fare.

No Myki, no washee.

One wonders how the TTA will overcome the weight of decade-old travel advice being brought into the state that clearly tells tourists that they can pay cash on trams and busses.

Better still, what about the significant number of locals who rarely use public transport (don't have a Myki) and will find themselves (unwittingly) ready to pay a fine when they proffer a $10 note to the bus driver?

We have also heard that, despite assertions to the contrary, the new Myki-only barriers at railway stations are no quicker to process commuters than the so-called frankenbarriers they were intended to supersede.

And, quelle surprise, the first Myki cards issued four years ago in Geelong (goodness hasn't time flown) have started expiring for no technical reason anyone can fathom. TTA head Bernie Carrolan was heard explaining on ABC Radio earlier this week that it was related to warranty.

So, adhering to the card's warranty conditions is far more important than:

  • Forcing users to go to the Myki kiosk at Spencer St Station
  • Forcing users to buy a replacement (unregistered) card and wait to be reimbursed (and somehow figure out how to get the new card re-registered)
  • Waiting until the card actually fails (with a warning that users should replace the card before that happens)
  • Reassuring users that the TTA is on top of things

Finally, we should remind users that the all-new-all-singing-all-dancing Myki that was promised to add flexibility to Victoria's public transport system has caused the removal of zone three (it was too hard to cope with), the removal of single fares (with the pulping of millions of cards already printed and ready to use) and according to current reports, the regular overcharging of people due to the inability of on-vehicle readers to know exactly where they are.

With all this in mind, it seems strange that the contract for this project was given to an organisation with zero experience in smartcard-based ticketing systems given that there were so many successful systems (Hong Kong, Singapore and London to name but a few) around the world.

Good money after bad. And then some.

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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