Friday, May 18, 2012

The Guverments taken me Myki money

I am obliged to Daniel Bowen of the Public Transport Users Association for clarifying this to me and others. Although as clearly as he wrote it, just as surely did we misread it.

I almost felt sorry for the boss of our Melbourne's public transport ticketing system a couple of mornings ago when he was taking calls about Myki while on the public radio. Mr Carolan certainly had a job on his hands to convince people about the truth of the 90 day, your Myki will no longer work myth. People are clearly very confused and somewhat obstinate about understanding it.

Think of you Myki card as a bank where you keep your money. You withdraw from the bank by using your Myki card on public transport. You deposit to your Myki card by topping up the balance, at a Myki machine, in a shop, over the phone or online.

If you top up your card using a machine or at a shop, your card is physically involved and at it knows the new balance immediately.

If you do it over the phone or online. You are only topping up your account, not the card itself. Next time you use the card, the new balance will be told to your card, from your account by the Myki reader or machine.

Right, so if you top up using a machine or shop, your money is there forever, or to the end of Myki, whichever comes first. I expect politicians may well want this system to outlast living memory.

Now, here is the tricky bit. If you top up online or by phone, when you next use your card, the balance will be updated, unless you don't use your card for travel for ninety days after you make the top up. After the ninety days the new balance is not immediately available for travel usage.

What happens is when you try to touch on with your card after the ninety days, cogs will whir in the background and gears will mesh while something sorts something out in the background and possibly the next day, the new balance will be available to use when you touch on with your card.

Hopefully you will have had enough money on your card already for that previous day's travel until your new balance registers on your card. Once it has registered the new balance, like a cash top up, it is there forever.

In essence, don't top up your Myki card online or by phone if you don't intend to use it for ninety days. If you do and your balance before the ninety day period was already very low, you may not be able to  travel that day.

As to why this happens, well dig for yourself. I don't want to confuse the matter.

This is how the Myki brochure explains it, which is clear to me.

If you don’t use your myki and collect your top up within 90
days, your top up request will be suspended and will not
be available when you next travel. It will be reactivated and
ready to collect within 24 hours after your next touch on.

It was interesting to hear Mr Carolan to talk about an alternative to Myki. Perhaps for about $15 tourists will be able to buy a pack, which might include vouchers or discounts to attractions, perhaps a map and most certainly a Myki card. I don't think the amount of pre paid value, if any, has been decided. Too bad if they don't want the extras. They can buy a Myki card.

For everyone else, you will have to buy a Myki if you want to use public transport. As Mr Carolan said, there is no sugar coating it. People will need a Myki card.


  1. ....and as I comment every single time you post about Myki or similar, we in NSW are still waiting for our smart transport card promised to have been in place in time for Sydney's Olympic Games....which are now 12 years in the past.

  2. When you pay for a service that service should always be available to you at any time. What a load of rubbish you have to wait 24 hours because you haven't touched on your fully paid for myki card for 90 days. There's definitely something seriously wrong with this myki system :-).

  3. So when I top up online it's not immediately available, have to wait 24 hrs. If I don't use it for 90 days it's not available for 24 hrs.

    The software that underpinned Myki was a crock and it apparently still remains so. The Labour Government was sold a pup when it bought Myki.

  4. When you top up online it can take up to 72 hours from what I've heard. The whole system is rubbish. I didn't know until I heard that talkback that topping up online then not using meant it would go into suspension. What a dumb system. I'm yet to get my new card, I'll have to do it before my next outing to the football with my Dad, who also needs one and is being a typical resistant old man!!

  5. Rubye, you're the one person in the world who understands it and you'll never get to use it.

    Victor, as LS says below, we were sold a pup but your were sold a dead dog, I think.

    Pay Windsmoke? Has it cost us money? I find it works ok, but there are certain things about that need fixing.

    Pains me to say it LS, but I think the Libs do some things better. It truly seems to be a case of pay by cash for an easy life.

    Fen, I have heard it can be that long, which is absurd. Your dad will have to get one sooner or later, so may as well do it now.

  6. If you do it over the phone or online, you are only topping up your account, not the card itself. So there is the answer! Do not do it by phone or online!

    But when were they thinking of telling the travelling public?

  7. I understand it too, it seems clear. I don't think I'd have any trouble, I travel by bus 5-6 days a week and always make sure I have enough tickets. I buy a bunch of them in advance and when I start using the last one I buy another bunch. I'd do the same with topping up a Myki a couple of days before it expires.

  8. Daniel Bowen has a pretty decent blog, too -

  9. Hi Andrew

    I seem to remember Rome had pre-paid fares, at least on buses, back in the early 80s. Was that ever a pain. Still, it pointed to the future - a place at which, if I'm not mistaken, we have finally arrived in Australia.

    As a former Londoner, I can attest to the excellence of the Oyster Card system and can never understand why Melbourne has had so much trouble with a system that had to be so much simpler in scope and complexity.

    Being the kind of person who doesn't like to give out my 'details' unless I'm in an actual life-threatening situation, I always refused to have a registered Oyster Card. When my Oyster Card did fail, I was given an immediate refund based on my estimate of the credit amount on it. That's an indicator of how infrequently the system fails.

    People have to have a pre-pay system that they can trust and, crucially, a system that they'll proudly help other people to use. I always had several spare Oyster Cards in my purse to be given or lent to others as needed.



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  11. Hels, I do see a lot of people using cash to top up at machines. Personally I like an auto on line top up if the balance falls below $20. Not nearly as plundering at City Link.

    River, regular travellers such as our good self probably won't have problems. It is the occasional users who have problems. The system does not cater well for them.

    Oh Kath, keep up. His was the first blog I started reading. At some point I decided my comments were getting too long and verbose, I clearly had a bit to say, so I started my own blog.

    Pants, not the Oyster card itself, but the fare system in London is so so complicated and it seems it easy to be overcharged if you are not in the know. I was just looking at the Croydon tram system. Use the card here, in and out. Use the card here in only. If you use it for out, you will be overcharged. There are other similar examples I have heard about. Giving you a replacement card based on your estimate of the remaining balance sounds too good to be true. I hope it isn't abused.

  12. LS, first your cuz uses my non de plume on my personal FB site and then you say a personal name of someone who doesn't want their personal name used. Can you comment again, and I will tidy things up.

  13. Someone told me the Hong Kong card system was bought FROM a victorian company. Even if not true, it sounds quite plausible. HealthSmart is a dud. Didn't some police database get scrapped?

    Yes, I'll need to get a card soon, but I'm hoping they'll sort out more kinks before I have to go over to the dark side.

    Even when they were flinging the gates open because so many people were taking forever to 'touch off' there were conflicting reports in the paper - one saying no one would be charged the max for not touching off before the problem was sorted, and another from some other 'authority' saying people have to touch off, no excuses or exceptions, not even the danger of being killed in the crush.

    My metcard still gets me through the gates quicker than the Myki victims get through.

    But yes, I'd heard the 90 day bizzo and I thank you Andrew, because at last there is something about the system that is clear. I agree with Windsmoke that suspending the account is a rude joke, but at least I know where I stand.

  14. Yes FC, re Health Smart and the cops new system is seriously problematic.

    The contradiction about flinging open the gates and the need to touch off was noted by moi.

    I can't imagine how Met Card could be quicker, as it is inserted, is read and pops out again, against just touching your card.

  15. Yeah...Myki confuses me. I hope they do come up with something easy for tourists.

    I liked hearing about your blogging history, and Daniel Bowen's blog.

  16. Dina, when you come to Melbourne, the tourist pack might be good for you. You would just put some cash on the Myki card contained within.