Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One country, many cards

There is almost nothing in common with each of our states or cities electronic public transport cards bar one thing. They are all subject to a lot of complaining and whinging.

Melbourne's Myki card seems to have been the most expensive to implement in Australia and the most complained about. Personally we don't have issues with the day to day use of our cards. We have about six Myki cards, one for me, one for R, one for Little Jo when she visits, all registered to our names, and three others, all found or discarded by someone at some point. When found one had a negative balance, one had a couple of dollars on it and one had $35 dollars on it. We save these for visitors who don't have or have forgotten their Myki card. I keep about a $10 balance on each card, enough for a day ticket. These were all unregistered cards. It is worth your while having a registered card if you are prone to losing things.

Public transport advocate Daniel Bowen recently visited Sydney and tried out their newish Opal card system. It is an interesting read. He seemed to think the card was good, but I would use stronger language about Sydney's fare system than he does. It is rubbish. It makes public transport expensive and the fare system is very complicated. My eyes glaze over when I try to understand it but to get the best from the system, understand it you must.

Melbourne's Myki.


Brisbane's Go.


Sydney's Opal.


 Canberra's My Way.


Perth's Smart Rider.

Lastly Tasmania's Green Card. This is the only private photo I have used from someone's blog and Tania writes a interesting piece about her introduction to Hobart's public transport buses and quite a bit about how things work in Hobart.


Oops, I nearly left out Adelaide's Metro Card.

 

24 comments:

  1. Our MyWay is only for the buses. And has, like them all, a problem or two. If you update them on-line it can take several days before the update is functional. And if you purchase an update at a store and then catch a bus immediately the carry-over information has been wiped, so you cannot get the benefit of only paying one fare in a ninety minute window. And I doubt that they will fix either issue any time soon.

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    1. EC, isn't that all you have anyway, buses? What you say is not good and should be addressed promptly. There is no reason for it to be like that. Btw, I had a look at the route of your proposed light rail line. Seems good on the face of it. Any comments?

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    2. In principle I like the idea of light rail - but I am very dubious about whether it will have all the patronage that they are counting on. It will only serve part of the City. And there is a LOT of antagonism from people who will never be able to use it, but will pay for it. Naturally. I am in favour of anything which increases public transport and access. And if the proposed route does work, perhaps they will extend it.

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    3. Thanks EC. From what I read and observe, not only do people flock to new lines like your proposed one, they increase housing density along the lines. I expect tourists might enjoy a trip along Northbourne Avenue too.

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  2. Andrew different is wonderful but sometimes tricky... I love your diversity.. At my place it is the same each province is different... You can't use Silesian cards for example at the seaside... But we are very small conutry comparing to yours..

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    1. Gosia, I suppose it is like that around the world really, but why should it be?

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  3. Time-out Tuesday so I'm not really here, ssshh!!
    My Adelaide metro card is very easy to use, top up online is easy, effective the next day, touch on only (no touching off necessary) interchangeable between bus train and tram. The biggest flaw (to me) is it is only usable in Adelaide and surrounds, I can travel to the Adelaide hills for instance, but it was useless in Port Pirie in the mid north of the state. I think these cards should be useable statewide.

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    1. River, Idid not realise Tuesday was more than a day you did not produce content. A day you don't comment either. Our Myki was supposed to extend state wide but it has not although it covers some of the country areas. I doubt you will be back in PP in a hurry, so not a problem for you.

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  4. Cards to travel...what a pain that could be. Haven't been on public transport in years, since i went to school...Tolls in Brisbane for us was a total nuisance but not a problem. We are spoilt, we take our car and park not far from where we want to go...husband is tinny! he gets parked mostly right outside of where he wishes to go. Of course if we lived in the bigger cities we would have to use public transport sometimes & have cards relating to transport...makes sense.

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    1. WA, it isn't really a pain. Painful is fishing for money to pay a public transport driver and offering a $50 note and get change in $1 coins. Our road toll device stuck on the window works in Melbourne and Sydney. Probably in Brisbane too, but I guess you don't have one or had the need for one. Hmm, you must have used the pay road from the ferry to go north on the big island?

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    2. No pay road. We went up Western Ring Road to the Hume Highway....and back the same way..

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    3. Ah, smart thinking and it does not take much longer. WRR is a horrible road to drive on though.

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  5. We don't have this concept over here so I am not familiar with it. Sounds like it can be a bit of a headache!

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    1. Keith, maybe not where you live but I am quite sure you do have it in the US.

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  6. @Optimistic Existentialist; not a headache once you get used to it. You purchase the card, charge it up with any amount of cash, then simply touch it to the validator card reader machine when getting onto bus tram or train. It stops that congestion when each person has to purchase a ticket from the driver and makes things a bit faster. You no longer have to be sure to carry change for a ticket.You just need to remember to carry your card at all times, just as you would your credit cards and ID, and of course keep the amount topped up, which is done online. The card reader on the transport records each trip and shows you the balance left on your card.

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    1. Nicely explained River. Do you also have machines where you can top up your card?

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  7. I notice a change in thinking about the Seniors Opal Card amongst some of my friends. Only a few months ago they were vehement they would not sign up for it preferring to continue with the paper Pensioner Excursion Card but now that the Seniors Opal has been introduced each one of them has chosen to obtain it.

    It would be good if these cards were recognised in each of the travel card jurisdictions for travelling holiday makers in the way that the E-tag for cars is but I imagine the very different fare structures me that a very difficult proposition.

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    1. A typo above, I intended 'make that' not 'me that' in the final sentence.

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    2. Victor, some older people here had the same attitude but everyone was forced to the new system as the old disappeared completely.

      If different tolling systems can work on one card, I don't see why public transport could not. At the end of the day it is a deduction of credit from your card.

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  8. Why can't we have the One Australia Transport Card or something like it?? It's a nightmare going to other states & trying to work through the labyrinthine fares/charges/card rules/restrictions that are different. I don't have a problem with the concept of a card, but why can't I just have one card, instead of a new one everytime I go interstate?? Overseas tourists must find it a nightmare!

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    1. I agree Red. We are supposed to be a federation of states, not independent states. But each state likes to build its own empire. It is not so different overseas.

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  9. We used the Opal card when we were in Sydney last month Andrew, worked well.. Our Smart Rider works really well also.. Re your 'federation of states' sometimes Perth feels very left out :)

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    1. Grace, I can well imagine, but at times there must also be benefits to being 'the forgotten one'.

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