Astoundingly, it took more than five years for Myki to be finished, at a cost of some AUD $1.35+ Billion of tax payer money. The constant delays in the project became a bit of a joke with the previous Victorian State Government; not surprisingly the Labor party lost the recent election, but of course it is too late to undo most of the damage and contracts that are now well and truly in place with private companies.
All we can do is live with what we've got, which as it turns out, and despite the hype, is a ludicrously basic and simple ticketing system. So simple, in fact, that the delays blamed on technology and "software" issues are all the more absurd.
Touch On. Touch Off. That is the question.
People don't like change, and the previous ticketing system (which I should explain is still operational because most of the Victorian public is sceptical that Myki doesn't work) only required that you "Validate" your ticket once when getting on a Train, Tram or Bus. However, because Myki represents a more permanent Account Holder approach to ticketing (whereby your ticket is a card you keep and top-up with a running balance) – this means now having to use your card when you get on and off – "Touch On", "Touch Off" – but sadly without developing any Karate Kid like ability doing it.
One issue that has caused a few problems is the number of people getting off Trams and the amount of time it takes as everyone attempts to "touch off" with their cards. So, in response to this Myki announced that you no longer have to touch off from a Tram. Simple, right? No, not really, and here's a catch…
So, I checked my balance today, and to my surprise discovered that I had been riding on Public Transport for 9 days…
Yes, I hopped on to a Tram on the 5th December and apparently didn't leave the public transport system (or get charged) until I hopped off a Bus (which I was really getting ON) on the 14th December.
So it seems that getting on the Bus has triggered a flip-flop Touch Off and Touch On to my account, but why couldn't the Myki system have just done the touch off automatically – say at Midnight on the 5th December? We don't have 24 hour Public Transport system and so it isn't possible to be on a Tram or any other transport overnight. The mind boggles.
If you're a fellow Melbournian (Melburnian?) and haven't tried Myki yet, give it a try, we might as well start getting some value for money from it – it's only going to take us like 100 years to get our money back!