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Passengers give thumbs-down to failed Myki

The Public Transport Users Association has flagged the first week of operation of Myki on Geelong’s buses as a failure, following feedback from Geelong commuters.

PTUA President Daniel Bowen said the association’s Geelong Branch had closely watched the introduction of the multi-million dollar Myki ticket system, and passengers had given it a big thumbs down.

“Despite earlier trials on a limited number of buses, the rollout onto all Geelong buses has gone ahead, bringing with it a myriad of problems”, said Mr Bowen.

PTUA members highlighted a number of issues, including:

  • passengers being over-charged, with the system charging for multiple two-hour tickets within a single two-hour period
  • no lower limit on the amount that can be added to a Myki ticket on buses, leading to some users paying small amounts of money to the bus driver each time they board — the very type of time-consuming transaction Myki is supposed to eliminate
  • slow response times when scanning on and off
  • resultant slow “dwell” times for buses, causing delays
  • little or no information about fares available at bus stops or on-board buses
  • single-use tickets showing no expiry time or cost information
  • machines periodically not working, including not registering scans
  • uncertainty and contradictory information about the penalty fare for failing to scan off at the end of a trip
  • inadequate help from the Myki call centre, with operators giving excuses such as “I’m not in Geelong”, despite Geelong being the only city to be using Myki so far

Mr Bowen said that it had never been clear that replacing Victoria’s ticketing systems was a priority, nor that Myki would be good value for money.

“But it is astounding that, hundreds of millions of dollars later, having finally arrived, Myki actually makes things worse. It slows down bus services, leaves some passengers short-changed, and gives single-use ticketholders no information about the validity of their ticket.”

Mr Bowen noted that studies revealing Melbourne’s trams would be slowed down when they switched to Myki[1] appeared to be already coming true for Geelong’s buses, with the ticket system cited for causing late running.[2]

“Maybe some of these problems can be ironed out, but Myki is clearly not off to a good start. The flaws in the system are already evident, and will cause yet more chaos on Melbourne’s already-suffering public transport system.

“No more areas must switch to Myki until the glitches are ironed-out. A re-design is in order, and at the very least, the requirement to scan off on trams and buses must be removed”, concluded Mr Bowen.

[1] Herald Sun 3/3/2009: “Myki to slow trams

[2] Geelong Advertiser 9/3/2009: “MYKI = late buses and a lot more questions