Friday, August 01, 2014

A Quick Friday Extra

Apparently our Myki public transport card pay system is the envy of Sydney with its newer Opal Card system. I am not sure Melburnians would agree, but we have few problems with Myki personally.

Hong Kong's Octopus Card has been around for nearly two decades. The more recent London Oyster card was based on the Octopus Card. Why has it been so difficult for Australia, especially Melbourne and Sydney to come up with a system that works well and easily for everyone, and not disadvantage some? It seems Australia has to constantly re-invent the wheel before we ever do anything.

London is now proceeding with contactless technology, already in use on some buses. You can simply hold your credit card or phone to a reader and the fares will be cheaper than using an Oyster Card.

Meanwhile in Australia, the world is about to implode because banks are dropping the signing of credit card slips, forcing people to use a PIN. It must be a very long time since I have signed a credit card slip, and then it was because the EFTPOS was not working.

This piece first published in the Sydney Morning Herald makes a scathing attack on the New South Wales public transport service. I have linked to the Illawarra Mercury, hoping it is not a pay online newspaper.

22 comments:

  1. I have always used a PIN when using my card, it isn't hard, people will grumble and carry on for a while, but they'll get used to it and a new grumble will take its place.
    Storm in a tea cup stuff.
    Our Metro Cards work really well, no problems for me at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, I think your ticket system is simpler than ours, and so is Brisbane's and Perth's. For some reason, Melbourne's and Sydney's has been made very complex.

      I was a bit concerned about dissing people of a certain age about their unwillingness to change from signature to PIN. No need to worry about you.

      Delete
    2. I also think we need an easy, nationwide card system, instead of state cards that only work in the state of origin. When i was in Fremantle last year, my card didn't work on their buses. And in smaller towns like Port Pirie they still only have the old buy a ticket as you board system. Seems my Metro card only works in the greater metropolitan Adelaide and surrounds areas.

      Delete
    3. River, I would go for a national ticket system too, and national road laws. I seem to recall you did not catch too many buses in Port Pirie, hehe.

      Delete
  2. The real issue is that the management of Sydney Trains hate their work force (it's a long running thing) and are hoping to use the introduction of the Opal card to close all ticket selling offices and to force everyone onto electronic and automatic payment systems from their bank accounts. Along the way this has raised privacy issues because until the "pop up" shops appeared, you couldn't buy a card which would not be registered to your name. That is also is not very friendly to visitors to the city or occasional users.

    The hatred of the unionised workforce goes back to an entry of Trotskyites into the system some years ago but it also comes out of a longstanding, partly safety based, way of treating employees as chronically stupid and potentially corrupt.

    This antipathy is also partly behind the determination that any new lines will not be part of the existing system, with a result that we are building a whole new line with tunnels too small to take the present standard rolling stock and where people will all be forced to change trains half way through their trip to and from the CBD. You can only weep.

    There are other areas of complaint about the new system, including a rejigging of the fare structure. Of course it is only the losers who will complain about the rejig, but there is plenty of spin in the other direction from the relevant minister. The biggest change has been that once we had (anomalously) off peak tickets which were cheaper if bought after 9 am, even though you could still return in the afternoon peak period. These have been abolished because Gladys says they are "unfair." But no step has been taken to introduce other kinds of "fair" tickets which the new system could easily provide - eg, people travelling in the opposite direction to peak flow where there is excess capacity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marcellous, it seems absurd that you can't buy a Opal card from a machine at a railway station. Places to buy a card here are now fine and widely spread, and complaints have disappeared. People here are now losing their id Myki cards, and are unhappy about that. Personally, I don't like automated top ups and I don't do it, but my partner does without any problems. We have a tourist card package, with bonus travel and other benefits, but it is not hard to buy a $6 Myki card in the inner area.

      Trotskys attempted to infiltrate Melbourne trams in late eighties, early nineties, with some success, but irrelevant now.

      The unions will always be blamed, but at the end of the day it management and the government that is in control.

      What is planned in Sydney, and perhaps underway already is the construction of an incompatible train line with the rest of the system. While I don't doubt Our Glad is doing the best she can, this is really wrong.

      Delete
  3. Our "Go Card" seems to work okay. But Our Public Transport charges are the highest in the country Ugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane, I think public transport charges are a bit like airport parking charges. It all rather depends.

      Delete
  4. Andrew, At my place since February we can use our mobiles in public transport to pay for tickets.It is very comfortable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia, we are very backwards in Australia, clearly.

      Delete
  5. I lost my P.I.N virginity today :( It was not a pretty sight :( But I had no choice. So I wrote my new PIN number on the palm of my hand and tried desperately not to peek too often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels, I would be hard pressed to immediately say what mine is, but having had it for so long, I can just automatically press the right buttons.

      Delete
  6. Yup I had to use a pin from today as opposed to signing.. No biggie and I didn't even implode :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, why did you hang on the signing for so long? I am curious.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I do such perverse things at times, because I can.

      Delete
  7. I think some of the criticism of Opal in Sydney is politically motivated which is ironic given that the previous Government spent 16 years trying to get a transport card introduced and failed and the current Government has got one going, imperfectly it may be, within its first term.

    Some people will criticise any change and find anything new a threat. I'm looking forward to the Senior's Opal card which is promised for 'late this year'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Without doubt Victor, as it is here. It is to the government's credit that is was done in one term, hopefully correctly. Ours has taken a lot of polishing to get it to where it is now.

      Delete
  8. The construction of the new Hills line in Sydney which is incompatible with the rest of the Sydney train system referred to by Marcellous looks to be a serious miscalculation and most unfortunate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victor, many things governments do can be undone, but not things like the incompatible line, although I never thought I would see the monorail come down.

      Delete
  9. ugh, I came unstuck today trying to pay for lunch with my salary sacrificing card. I never received a PIN. Dammit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scratching around in the bottom of your handbag for fifty cent pieces?

      Delete