Another Myki mess – Government scraps our most popular ticket

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) revealed today the Victorian Government will scrap the use of short-term tickets on Geelong buses in the middle of next month.

PTUA Geelong Branch Convenor Paul Westcott said that move was the worst decision since the introduction of Myki itself, and would cause huge problems for bus users in Geelong. It also makes the Myki system almost unique in the world in not having a short-term ticket option.

“About sixty percent of Geelong bus travellers are using short-term tickets [1], yet the state government is going to scrap them,” Mr Westcott said. “That stupid decision threatens to create a huge problem for bus passengers and drivers. It is likely to be a disincentive for people to use public transport and will lead to more fare evasion.”

“People who don’t have a Myki with them, or whose card malfunctions, will have to buy another Myki card and top it up with sufficient funds for their journey, or they wont legally be able to travel at all.”

Buying a new Myki with sufficient funds for a single trip will cost a minimum of $4.05, and $8.10 for a full-fare passenger.

The decision to abolish the most popular public transport ticket has never been explained. A report the state government got from Deloitte consultants, which apparently recommended the scrapping of short-term tickets, has been deliberately kept secret. [2]

The PTUA acknowledges that the current type of short-term ticket, which contains embedded circuitry, is an uneconomic proposition because each one costs about 35 cents each to produce. [3]

But Mr Westcott noted that short-term tickets could be simply and cheaply produced by having them printed out by the bus driver’s ticket console, just like the receipts passengers now get when they top up their Myki.

“That alternative is quite feasible, and it would retain our most popular ticketing option, for a fraction of the current cost,” Mr Westcott said. “Transport Minister Terry Mulder says it can be done and we have yet to hear him provide a convincing reason why it isn’t happening.”

[1] The Age, 26/11/2010: Bill for myki rises again

[2] The Age, 5/9/2011: $15m myki cards set to be pulped

[3] The Age, 26/11/2010, op cit.