Myki change welcome, but City Saver users pay the price

Myki ticketThe Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed the decision to scrap the requirement to touch-off Myki cards on trams, but said that zone 1 fares should be reduced to compensate for the loss of the City Saver Zone.

Until now, the government had said that tram passengers would need to touch-on and touch-off their Myki cards on trams to get the correct fare. Under plans announced today, zone 1 will be valid on the entire tram network. Sections of routes currently in zone 2 will become part of the zone 1+2 overlap, and the City Saver zone will be removed. Passengers will not have to touch-off, and the default charge will be a zone 1 fare. Passengers travelling entirely in the zone 2 overlap area can still touch-off if they want the cheaper zone 2 fare.

“Making people both touch-on and touch-off their Myki cards was going to cause chaos on the tram system”, said PTUA President Daniel Bowen, “so it makes sense to move to a flat fare.

“But City Saver users are faced with a price hike. To lessen the impact, the government should reduce the price of zone 1 fares.

“Another possibility is to maintain the City Saver fare for those few who use it, with only those people having to touch-off to receive the cheaper fare.”

In 2004 Short Trip tickets were abolished, resulting in the cost of trips such as Kensington to the City, or Prahran to South Yarra jumping in price. The removal of City Saver tickets[1] will be similar, with the cost of a trip from North Melbourne or Richmond to the City jumping from $2.18 to $2.94 — or 34% (using Myki or bulk Metcards).

Mr Bowen noted that the government had previously claimed that passengers would save money under Myki[2], and had justified the cost of building the new ticket system by claiming that an existing one from elsewhere couldn’t be adapted to match Melbourne’s fare structure[3].

“The reality is, the fare structure is now being changed to match Myki, and some people will pay more using Myki compared to the equivalent Metcard.”

The PTUA first raised concerns about touching-off on busy trams with the Transport Ticketing Authority in 2004.

“We’re pleased to see they’ve finally moved to abolish touch-off on trams, but it’s something that should have been decided years ago. And City Saver users will pay the price. The government can lessen their pain by cutting the cost of zone 1 fares”, concluded Mr Bowen.

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[1] Metlink: City Saver zone. City Saver tickets allow a single trip (no transfers) within the City Saver zone, which covers the CBD and some parts of St Kilda Road, Docklands, North Melbourne, Carlton and Richmond.

City Saver zone map (2010)

[2] “Public transport users are set to save millions in fares when the new public transport ticketing system, myki, begins operating in Melbourne later this year.”
Transport Ticketing Authority statement, 20/10/2009

[3] “…software must be designed to best meet our State’s individual fare structure. For Victoria this includes maintaining specific benefits such as Early Bird, City Saver, Sunday Pass for seniors, concessions, $3 weekend cap, as well as other specific rules like regional and metropolitan time and zone boundaries.”

Transport Ticketing Authority statement, 26/11/2009