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Saturday, 09 January 2010 20:17

Myki: I see dead people!

When you're a new system, people expect you to be perfect; few new systems achieve this and Myki hasn't disappointed.  In fact it has excelled at not disappointing!

When Transport Minister Lynne Kosky unexpectedly announced the full launch of Myki on December 29th, for trains only of course, she made it very clear that the system was ready. 

After-all, there had been extensive testing by around 1,000 public servants and they'd not identified any important issues.  Of course they hadn't - they'd had all the training and were in fear of their jobs if they identified any failings!

Enter "the great unwashed."

First of all, they had the temerity to attempt to take up the Government's offer of a free Myki card via the website.  The site crumbled under the load of dozens of concurrent requests.

Immediately, reports started appearing of people unable to complete their card requests. Further, of people unable to add other family-members to a common account.  Cards that were in circulation (for instance purchased in one of the early-adopter localities, Geelong for instance) refused to take on additional funds or wouldn't open barrier gates at city stations.

To all of these issues, the Government's chief apologist, Jean Kerr-Walsh has an answer. Unfortunately, never one to satisfy the complainant.

Remember, Kerr-Walsh has a very clear understanding of people and how to deal with them.  "Whilst you might not have shovelling sand over journalists, you might in a softer way perhaps, see that the government media unit is still trying to manage the media message. Perhaps even manage the media in a softer but at least effective way. 

Readers should Google her name to gain a full understanding of how formidable an opponent she can be.

However, returning to the current issue of Myki.

at around 2:50pm on December 29th, the Myki website commenced accepting applications for a free Myki.  As mentioned earlier, the site struggled to handle what ought to be a moderate load.  Some have blamed the site, others have simply dismissed the problems as transient.

However, the press have detailed a litany of problems.  For instance, there are reports of dead people receiving concession Myki cards.  Thank goodness they weren't expected to support a full-fare card!

Jean Kerr-Walsh said that it was not known how many Myki cards were sent to dead people.  Gosh, I know, let's ask them!  Are you dead?  Did you receive a Myki that you don't need?

Rather disingenuously, Kerr-Walsh chose to blame the current MetCard incumbents for providing inaccurate data.

Others (this author included) have received a full-fare card with a cover-letter advising that they have received a concession card.

Allow astonishment to set in.  Surely, if the project had been delayed for as long as it has, the web team would have been able to check, double-check and triple-check that their systems were working flawlessly.

Currently, according to posters to the Myki protest site, there are numerous broken Myki machines throughout the rail network and of those that are supposedly working, many are functionally pointless.

Everyone, enjoy your new ticketing system!

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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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