Updated May 2013
On Saturday 29 December 2012, Myki became the only ticketing system in fare zones 1 and 2 on Melbourne public transport.
Now that Metcard has been replaced by the overdue and overpriced Myki system, people need simple answers to basic questions about the new arrangements. This web page is an effort to explain in a straightforward way how the Myki system works, and answer the many questions we’ve been getting about it.
When will Myki be used on V/Line?
We don’t know when Myki will start operating on V/Line services beyond Zone 2, but the government has said it will be introduced some time in 2013.
However Myki will not be used on regional railway services beyond Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Traralgon, and it will not be used on V/Line buses. Those services will continue to use paper tickets.
Where can I get a Myki?
Cards can be obtained online or by phone. You can also get them from Myki Card Vending Machines, which are located at railway stations, some tram platform stops, and some major bus interchanges, from staff at Premium (staffed) stations, or from PTV Hub at Southern Cross station.
Mykis can also be purchased at many metropolitan retail outlets and some country retail outlets, particularly, but not exclusively, 7-Eleven stores, as well as some Australia Post outlets in major regional centres. See here for location details of retailers selling Myki.
They can also be bought, pre-loaded with enough for a single trip, from most bus drivers in metropolitan Melbourne and on major regional city bus networks (except pre-pay-only services such as the 401 and 601 university shuttles).
Note that only full-fare Mykis can be purchased from Myki vending machines. Concession, child and seniors Mykis must be bought from the other outlets listed above.
How much does getting a Myki card cost?
The cost of a card is $6 full fare, or $3 concession. The purchase price is not refundable. Sunday Pass holders (such as Seniors) have been sent a Myki by the government to replace the former Sunday Pass. Note that Myki vending machines only dispense full-fare cards. Concession, child and Seniors cards must be obtained from staffed railway stations, retail outlets or online. More information on where to get a Myki card.
Where can I add money to my Myki?
You can top up your Myki at all the places listed in the previous section, except for regional Australia Post shops, which only sell cards.
Mykis can also be topped up by bus drivers on regional town buses (minimum amount $1.00). At the moment you can’t top up your Myki on Melbourne metropolitan buses, but you should be able to do so by mid 2013 .
Why can’t I get a short-term ticket?
A short-term ticket (pictured) was going to be available if you didn’t have a Myki, but for reasons never clearly explained, the state government decided that short-term tickets would not be introduced in Melbourne.
With no short-term alternative, anyone wanting to use public transport in Melbourne must have a reusable Myki card with sufficient credit loaded on it, even if they only travel every now and again.
This ridiculous decision is already having adverse effects. The PTUA is receiving regular complaints about the difficulty occasional travellers are having in trying to get a ticket. Even regular public transport users are striking problems, such as when their Myki becomes defective. They have to wait for up to ten business days for a new Myki to be issued to them, but have no short-term ticket option in the meantime.
The convenience of short-term tickets is obvious. Until their abolition on major regional city bus networks in mid April 2013, up to sixty percent of passengers were using them as part of the Myki system. No substitute for them was offered, despite the government telling us that it was “investigating options”.
Can Myki be used to track my movements?
You can choose to register your Myki, or not, as you wish.
It is possible to get a card completely anonymously from Myki vending machines or over-the-counter. Unregistered cards still get access to the same fares.
If you do register you are protected against theft or the loss of a card, because you can report the loss, have your Myki deactivated, and have the remaining credit balance transferred to a new card. You can also set a registered card to be topped up automatically with money from your bank account.
How does Myki Money work?
Note: Fares increased by an average of 7% on 1 January 2013.
You buy a re-usable Myki card and load money onto it. As you travel, you touch on and touch off, and the system will debit your Myki card as you go. Melbourne metropolitan fares are shown in the following table. Regional fares differ from this. For full details of fares see the relevant page of the PTV web site.
|Zones||1||2||1 and 2|
Concession fares are 50% of the above prices. Discounts (e.g. Earlybird free travel on trains before 7 a.m.*; Weekend Daily Saver $3.50, no concession) apply to Myki Money. The 2-hour period starts from the next full hour after you first touch on. After 6 p.m., the 2-hour fare applies until the end of the day (3 a.m.).
A “daily cap” applies: if you make multiple trips in one day, the system charges you a maximum of two 2-hour segments, e.g. the Daily fare.
If your travel is eligible for the Weekend Saver daily fare, then Myki charges you a maximum of $3.50 per day (Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays). If you’re a Senior, your travel on a day is capped at the Seniors Daily rate, and so on.
*Under Earlybird there is actually a 15-minute grace period to allow for late trains, so Myki gives you free travel on trains if you touch on and touch off by 7:15 a.m.
How does Myki Pass work?
Note: Fares increased by an average of 7% on 1 January 2013.
Myki Pass is what was formerly called a periodical ticket. You buy the normal Myki card and then add sufficient credit to turn it into a periodical “pass” for your chosen period — for 7 days, or anything from 28 to 365 days — for the zone or zones you want. Note that these are consecutive days, not related to calendar months.
The price for a month is based on a particular number of days, not on a calendar month (where the number of days varies). Melbourne metropolitan fares are shown in the following table. Regional fares differ from this. For full details of fares see the relevant page of the PTV web site.
|Zones||1||2||1 and 2|
Concession fares are 50% of the above prices. Although we’ve shown the 30 and 365 day prices above, you can buy anything from 28 to 365 days. For full pricing details see the PTV web site, or the Myki Fares and Ticketing Manual.
*Note that discounted Yearly tickets are available via the PTUA Commuter Club, and give you about a 9% discount on the 365 day fare above. These are specially-coded Myki cards, which are provided free with the discounted Yearly fare.
Can I combine Myki Pass and Myki Money?
Yes. A single Myki card can have a Pass for travel in your usual zone or zones, and also have Money loaded on it for occasional trips into other zones (which will include V/Line, once Myki becomes valid for V/Line services).
Can I get a refund if I no longer need the Myki Pass I purchased?
You can apply for a refund of a partly-used Myki Pass or an unused Myki Pass, as well as unused Myki Money, by completing the Myki Refund & Reimbursement form. However refunds are not available on expired Passes, and you cannot get a refund of the purchase price of a Myki ($6 or $3 concession) .
Note that you must return your Myki card with the form and so you will need to have another Myki card in order to travel, because of the government’s stupid decision not to include the planned short-term ticket in the Myki system.
The refunded amount can either be sent to you as a cheque or the unused funds can be transferred to another Myki. You can also convert Myki Pass credit to Myki Money, although an amount over $250 can only be paid by cheque.
It takes up to 10 business days for a Myki Pass to be converted to Myki Money and up to 21 business days for cheque refunds to be processed.
Can someone else use my Myki?
Does the credit on my card expire if I haven’t used it for 90 days?
No it does not. This idea is widespread but completely false.
However, if you top up your card using the Myki web site, and do not “collect” that money onto your card (e.g. touch your card on a reader, or check the balance at a vending machine) within 90 days, the system “archives” the top-up amount (and only the top-up amount), meaning that you cannot add that money immediately to the balance on your card.
Your archived top up will be re-activated, and sent out again to readers and vending machines, when you use your card on the system again (for example, touch it at a reader, or use it at a vending machine), and you can then “collect” the archived amount onto the card.
Note however, that this reactivation process can take up to 24 hours, so if your balance is too low to allow you to travel, you will need to top up your card immediately (for instance at a vending machine) if you want to use it there and then.
Can I travel if my Myki has a negative or debit balance?
You cannot commence a journey (i.e. touch on) if your Myki has a negative balance, although you can go into negative balance during a journey.
Your Myki must have a balance of at least $0.01 for you to be able to touch on. Note that if you break the journey during which your Myki goes into negative balance, any other touch on will be refused, even if the two-hour travel period has not expired.
It is also important to note that even though the Myki Pass on your card may be valid for travel, you cannot commence a journey using Myki Pass if the Myki Money balance on that card is negative. For your Myki Pass to be valid, your Myki Money balance must be at least $0.00 (i.e. not negative).
The above advice applies if you are only travelling in one or two zones, which is the case if you are travelling in metropolitan Melbourne, or on regional city bus and rail systems. However, when Myki becomes available on V/Line services, many journeys will take you through more than two zones, and in that case the rules differ to some extent (see below).
I have unused Metcards. What should I do with them?
If you have unused Metcards you can transfer the value of most types of them to a new or existing Myki card at Premium (staffed) Metro railway stations. This can be done with unused or partly used 2-hour, Daily, Seniors Daily, 10×2-hour, 5xDaily, 5xSeniors Daily, 5xWeekend Daily, City Saver, 10xCity Saver, Off-Peak Daily and Sunday Saver Metcards.
Using this method of transferring Metcard funds to a Myki does not incur a fee, but note that a maximum of ten Metcards per transaction can be replaced in this way. To avoid delays, applications for transfers at Premium railway stations can only be made during off-peak times: between 9.30am and 4.00pm and after 6.00pm weekdays, or all day on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
The value of Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Metcards, or damaged Metcards, cannot be transferred to a Myki at railway station ticket offices. Those Metcards have to be posted with a Metcard Replacement or Refund Application Form, which can be downloaded here, or obtained from Premium stations.
People with more than 10 Metcards, or who are unable to get to a Premium Station, can also use the refund application form to apply to transfer Metcard funds to Myki Money. Other refunds which are paid by cheque will incur a $9.80 administration fee.
Postal applications are subject to a maximum of $800 Myki Money that can be added to a Myki, to reduce the possibility of exceeding the card balance limit.
An application where the total value exceeds $800 and a transfer to Myki Money is requested will be issued in full via cheque and no administration fee applies.
Note: The Metcard refund and transfer to Myki service will end on 30 June 2013.
What about V/Line fares?
Myki is not yet available for V/Line travel, except for journeys between Melbourne and Zone 2 stations served by V/Line, and for rail trips within the Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo urban areas.
The state government has said that V/Line commuter-belt train services (i.e. as far as Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Traralgon) will be added to Myki at some time during 2013. However long-distance V/Line trains and V/Line coach services will not be included in Myki as was originally planned.
V/Line fares will be roughly the same as they are now but will be based on a fare zone system. It’s not known what options, if any, will be provided for single-use tickets.
For full pricing details see the table on page 20 of the 2013 Myki Fares and Ticketing Manual. Note that an off-peak discount will still be available; a 30% reduction which will apply to V/Line Myki Money fares — which will include all long-distance services timetabled to arrive/depart Melbourne outside peak times.
Regular V/Line users will be able to use a Myki Pass to obtain cheaper travel, for 7 days, or 28-365 days; the same as Melbourne-area passengers. Under Myki, V/Line fares will continue to include travel on Melbourne metropolitan public transport services and on the regional town buses where Myki operates, in the same way that applies now.
When Myki comes into use on V/Line, passengers travelling in more than two zones (and that will be most V/Line passengers) will need to have:
- a Myki Pass for their entire journey and a Myki Money balance of at least $0.00 ; or
- a sufficient Myki Money balance to pay for their entire journey; or
- a Myki Pass for part of their journey and a sufficient Myki money balance to pay for any remaining part of the journey.
As far as we know, passengers will be able to top up their Myki Money on board V/Line trains and coaches.
How do I touch on and touch off?
Touch on your Myki ticket at a reader as you enter the station, or as you board the tram or bus. Touch off the ticket at a reader as you leave the station, or leave the tram or bus.
You must place the ticket flat on the reader. Don’t “swipe” it, or move it around, because the reader will take longer to respond or not read the card at all.
Generally, the card must be within about half a centimetre of the reader, but preferably touching it. It will usually work from inside a wallet, especially if the Myki ticket is in the closest pocket, but this isn’t guaranteed. It will often not work if you have other cards using similar technology (an RFID chip) in your wallet, because that confuses the reader.
One of the major unresolved problems with Myki is that response times are inconsistent and often too slow — sometimes readers respond in under a second, but too often they take a good deal longer. This has remained a problem since Myki was first switched on and it is not good enough.
Why don’t I have to touch off on trams?
There was an obvious likelihood of congestion on trams resulting from the number of passengers trying to touch on and off at busy stops. Consequently, all tram routes were modified to be within zone 1 (areas formerly in zone 2-only are now within the zone 1/2 overlap), and so you do not have to touch off if you are only travelling on a tram within Zone 1, because the default fare on trams is a Zone 1 fare only.
However if you travel on a tram entirely within in the Zone 1/2 overlap, which only occurs right at the end of routes 75, 86 and 109, you do still need to touch off before you alight to ensure that you are only charged the cheaper Zone 2 fare.
Do I really need to touch on every time?
Officially, yes. You need to touch on every time to ensure your ticket is valid for travel.
In reality, you have to validate/touch on the first time you use a ticket to set its expiry date/time. Not doing so is fare evasion.
You also need to touch on (even if your ticket is already valid) when boarding a bus, so the bus driver knows you have a valid ticket, and when boarding at railway stations if your destination is a gated station, otherwise the gates may not let you out, and you may have to queue for staff assistance.
You also need to touch on and touch off if you end up travelling outside the zone(s) you have paid for on a Myki Pass, or that isn’t already paid for with Myki Money.
Do I really need to touch off every time?
Except on trams (see above), the official line is yes. If you don’t touch-off, you may get charged a default fare, which may be more than you’d otherwise pay.
The default fare is charged when the system doesn’t know where you got off the train/tram/bus, and it assumes you might have gone to the end of the line (on a tram/bus) or to the last stop of the longest line on the system (metropolitan trains).
In other words if you don’t touch-off on buses and trains the Myki system may assume you took a two-zone trip, and charge you for it. If this is the correct fare anyway (for instance you’ve travelled on a train from the CBD to a zone two station) then you will not be charged anything extra if you do not touch-off, and may choose not to bother.
As noted above, you still need to touch on and off if you are travelling on a tram entirely within the Zone 1/2 overlap, if you want the cheaper Zone 2 fare.
The default fare does not apply to Myki Pass if you touched on (started your journey) in your nominated zone. In other words, if you have a weekly/monthly/yearly Pass on your Myki card, there is no need to touch off when travelling in the zone(s) covered by the Pass.
The government says it gets more useful statistics about passenger use if people touch on and touch off every time. However they supposedly got some useful boarding statistics with the old Metcard system, and also through manual surveys, but that hasn’t stopped services getting very crowded due to a lack of forward planning and investment over the past few years.
Why does the information displayed on the reader vanish too quickly for me to read it?
The information showing your card balance and the amount deducted for your journey will be displayed for as long as you hold your card to the reader, so hold it up for longer if you want to check that information.
You can also use a Myki Card Vending machine or Myki Check (blue) machine to find out the status of your card.
I’ve heard that a Myki card has an expiry date.
Myki cards do expire four years after purchase, although the actual date is not shown on the card itself. Note that the expiry date of a card is set when it is first loaded with credit, so if you buy a pre-loaded card that has been lying around for a while before you bought it, the expiry date may be a lot less than four years away.
You can find out when the card expires by checking it on a Myki Card Vending Machine or blue Myki Check. These are at railway stations, some tram platform stops, and some major bus interchanges. You can also find out a card’s expiry date by ringing 13MYKI (13 6954) and quoting the card number.
If you have registered your Myki you can find out the expiry date by logging on to your account at the Myki website.
When the card expires you will have to complete a card replacement form to get another card and have the balance on the old one transferred to the new one. Alternatively, you can visit PTV Hub at Southern Cross station to have a new card issued and the balance transferred.
People who have registered their Myki will be contacted by the Transport Ticketing Authority before the expiry date, but so far that warning has come very late.
Do I get charged for another 2-hours if I touch off after the expiry time?
No. Your Myki ticket is valid as long as you touch on at a station, or board the tram or bus, before the expiry time.
I heard weekly/monthly/yearly passes aren’t valid on weekends.
That is not true. They are valid on weekends, but only for the zones you’ve paid for.
A single-zone weekly/monthly/yearly Metcard used to be valid in both Melbourne zones on Saturdays and Sundays. That benefit has been withdrawn under Myki. The government argues that is necessary in order to be consistent with regional areas, and yet no regional area has the $3.50 weekend daily fare offered in Melbourne.
The result is that Myki Pass users must theoretically pay extra if they travel into another zone. But their total fare will attract the $3.50 weekend/public holiday cap, and what has already been paid towards that is taken into account.
For example, Zone 1 Myki Pass users (full fare) travelling into Zone 2 pay nothing extra because the $3.50 weekend fare equals the $3.50 cost of a Zone 1 two-hour fare — however, due to what appears to be a glitch in the software, you will require a Myki Money balance above zero for this to work.
Does Myki Money always give me the best fare?
Provided everything works correctly, it does give you the best daily fare, by charging you the cheapest possible fare for each trip, and upgrading it automatically, for instance from a 2-hour Zone 1, to a Daily Zone 1+2 — whatever is cheapest for your day’s travel.
But if you use it every day, the system does not upgrade you to a 7-day Pass or a 30-day Pass etc. if that is cheaper. Myki Pass must be pre-loaded to attract the cheaper periodical fare.
I heard you have to pay extra if the train is late.
No, not on trains, but you may be affected if you want to make use of the 2-hour fare and you catch trams and buses.
Under Myki, your ticket is valid as long as you start your trip (that is, touch on at the station, or as you board the tram or bus) before the 2-hour travel time expires.
Under Metcard, if your service was delayed or cancelled, you could still make your trip without further charge, even if it meant boarding after the 2-hour expiry time. That benefit has been removed under Myki. However it is only a problem when using trams and buses, because you can only touch on as you board. When using trains you will have already entered the platform and touched on before the expiry time, no matter how late the train you are catching might be.
If you are going to travel for more than 2 hours it makes no difference to you, but if you are trying to make a couple of short trips using a bus or tram in a single 2-hour period, with no other travel that day, you will be charged the daily fare if the bus or tram arrives late, after your 2-hours has expired.
What’s the use of compensation being paid as Myki Money, when I have a Myki Pass?
When Yarra Trams or Metro Trains miss their monthly performance target, you can claim compensation if you travelled for 10 or more days with a Pass for 28 days or longer. (Unfortunately this is a manual process, involving filling in a form and posting it.)
Rather than extend the Pass, this is paid as the Myki Money equivalent of the zones covered by the Pass.
There are several ways to make use of the Myki Money compensation:
- Use it after your Pass expires. (Note however that if you have another Pass loaded, the Myki system will always use that first if it is valid for your trip.)
- Use it for travel in other zones — including V/Line when it eventually accepts Myki
- Request the compensation be paid to a different Myki card — such as a family member’s card, or a second card that you use. This option is available on the form.
- Pay for your next Myki Pass using Myki Money. This is done by putting enough Myki Money on your card to pay for the Pass, then choosing the option on vending machine to buy a Pass with Myki Money. Unfortunately this option appears to only be available from vending machines.
Is Myki switching us to distance-based fares?
No. The current zone system is being retained.
Hong Kong and Singapore and some other cities use fares based on how many kilometres you travel. Myki does not include this change and fares remain almost identical to those under Metcard, based on the zones (which will now spread across Victoria) and duration (2-hour, daily, etc.) of travel.
The PTUA believes that distance-based charging has a number of disadvantages — it may lead to higher fares, and it is quite confusing, because you might not know how much you’ll be charged before you travel.
How do inspectors and V/Line conductors check tickets?
There is little information printed on the tickets themselves, and no obvious way of telling whether you have validated correctly or not. Authorised Officers (inspectors) and V/Line conductors use hand-held devices that can read the cards.
Has Myki slowed things down?
Yes, in some situations.
Station exits during the evening peak have become congested as train-loads of people queue to touch off. The unacceptably slow and inconsistent response times of the card readers do not help in this regard. To ease the problem, more readers are being added, and new or widened station exits are being provided.
Buses might benefit from faster boarding times but things might be slower at stops where a lot of passengers need to touch off as they alight.
The government’s decision not to allow single-use tickets to be purchased might speed up bus operations, but that is at the expense of occasional users who do not have a Myki.
Touching off has been made optional on trams, to avoid delays (see above). Whether delays occur depends to as great extent on how quickly the readers respond, and how many there are. However it’s worth noting that London’s buses and trams were both switched to a flat fare system, requiring no touch-off, because delays during disembarking were causing problems.
Does Myki work properly?
Virtually every aspect of Myki’s introduction has been poorly handled. The PTUA has flagged a number of design and implementation problems with Myki that need fixing, and we are continuing to give feedback to Public Transport Victoria.
The biggest problem with the Myki system is the state government’s decision not to make single-use tickets available, meaning that every public transport user must have a Myki card to pay their fare. This makes things extremely difficult for new and occasional public transport users, or for passengers who have problems with their Myki, and it will unfortunately be a further source of fare evasion.
There were a number of problems on regional town bus systems, and in Melbourne, during the early days of Myki. Some of those have been rectified and some of the remaining difficulties are supposedly caused by Myki and Metcard equipment having to co-exist. We will now find out whether that is the case.
As noted above, the other major and persistent problem with the operation of Myki is that response times of card readers are inconsistent and often too slow — sometimes they respond in under a second, but very often they take a good deal longer. That is unacceptable, and it has been allowed to continue for far too long.
As soon as Myki began operating the PTUA asked that different sounds be introduced for a touch on and a touch off. Instead of that, we got the unnecessary introduction of a double beep for concession passengers.
Opportunities for topping up cards are still too limited, especially for tram and bus users.
Watch the system very carefully to ensure you’re being charged correctly. Keep a close eye on the Myki readers as you use them, check your transactions on the Myki Check machines (blue machines in stations) at vending machines and/or via the Myki web site, and ring 13MYKI (13 6954) or contact Myki online if you suspect you have been overcharged.
Was it worth the money?
Probably not. Although the Myki system brings some benefits, including better access to cheap fares, these are eclipsed by the enormous cost of the system.
Few passengers wanted a new ticket system, and the PTUA argued that for a fraction of the cost, either the Metcard system could have been updated, or a cheaper Smartcard system procured from elsewhere, and the money saved could have been spent on more staff, trains, trams and buses. But the change has happened, so we’re providing feedback to Public Transport Victoria to try and improve the outcome for passengers.
Does the PTUA’s Commuter Club discounted Yearly ticket scheme continue under Myki?
Yes — PTUA members who are regular public transport users can buy discounted Yearly tickets, at about 9% off the retail price, and that includes a free Myki card. You can see full details of the offer here. Commuter Club is also available via some employers.
If you want to read all the fine print yourself, it’s contained in the Myki Fares and Ticketing Manual (myki) and its supplements. Be warned, the Manual is over 100 pages long.
Public Transport Victoria has posted some useful information on the official Myki web site, which you can read here.
You can ring PTV for information, on 13-MYKI (13 6954), or you can go to the PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station (pictured) to get assistance.
Who is the PTUA anyway?
Founded in 1976, the Public Transport Users Association is the recognised consumer organisation representing passengers of all forms of public transport.
We are a non-profit, voluntary organisation, with no political affiliations. If you want to help support our work, please join us. You get five newsletters per year, as well as access to cheap Yearly tickets, and you’ll be helping the campaign for better public transport in Melbourne and around Victoria.