Saturday, November 02, 2013

Myki Malevolence

For months the announcement was heard on Melbourne trams that you do not need to swipe off your Myki public transport card when travelling on trams in Zone 1. Noted that Vline country stations have signage using the word swipe on and off and not touch on and off. Touch is more accurate as you need to hold your card still. In my experience, you get a shorter response time if you have the end of your finger between your card and the reader than putting your card flat on the reader. Regardless the response times are still too slow, at train barriers and on trams.

There is an exception about swiping off on a tram even in Zone 1, that is when you are going to renew you Myki card as R did today. Myki cards expire after three years and you need to get a new one and transfer the balance of your credit.

R queued for a few minutes at the Flinders Street Station ticket window. Sorry Sir, you haven't touched off. Of course he had not as he had arrived by tram from home and there is no need to touch off on a tram if your journey is within Zone 1. Can you go over to the railway station gates and give the staff member your card and she will fix it. The staff took his card, opened the barrier with her own card and used his to exit the station gates. R was now touched off, which seems strange as he never touched on at a station. I was busy admiring the 20th century Victorian architectural features of the station at that point. He filled me in on the details as he queued again for a good bit longer this time.

Without being abusive, he complained about the silliness of the system to the staff and his irritation. She transferred the balance to a new card and he started to walk away. Luckily he noticed that he had lost his S, that is the S on his Myki card that denotes that he is a Senior and gets discounted public transport travel.

Back to the window and no queueing as he pushed in this time. I bolted as I am sure there would be a stream of invective spat from his mouth. Before he left the station, he checked his Myki balance. He was not trusting anything by this point, including that his credit had been transferred.

Ok, it is a system problem that should not happen, but I am sure the Myki authority people are aware of the matter. Why didn't the email that arrived to tell him that he needed to replace his card mention that the card needs to be touched off before it can be replaced?

I can't find the link now, but on a Metro Trains web page I clearly saw that you could not buy a VLine ticket at Flinders Street Station. As R was dealing with his ticket, I saw a pair of windows open marked VLine Regional Bookings.  My earlier web searching would have been looking at Wikipedia, VLine, Flinders Street Station, Metro Trains, PTV and Southern Cross Station web sites. I probably spent about 15 minutes searching to find out if I could book a VLine ticket at Flinders Street Station and I concluded no, I could not, but yes I could.

Honestly, how incompetent can companies be?

So note, if you are replacing your Myki, it needs to be logged off.

10 comments:

  1. Meanwhile, north of the border I had peculiar thrill out of seeing, for the first time, two passengers using the Opal card to enter Edgecliff station. Finally, proof positive to my eyes that someone actually is using the state's long awaited transport card.

    Now, if only they'd hurry up and issue a senior's version of the card and I'll happily sign up.

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    1. Victor, it is interesting to see the crunch point happen when you notice that more people are using the new cards than not.

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  2. This is a system that was planned, installed and debugged years ago. It is a system that has an impact on every public transport user in our ginormous metropolis. Yet they still cannot get the simplest things right.

    I had no idea the card only lasts for three years. If they transfer your credit anyhow, why not leave the money where it is - on the old card!

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    1. Indeed Hels, why not just leave the card out there until it breaks or whatever. Or like the bank does, sends you new cards in the mail.

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  3. Kinda makes me glad I don't live in Melbourne. Our Adelaide system is so much simpler.

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    1. River, I have heard that Perth has the best and most user friendly system.

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  4. "humans" was the favourite expletive of a former employer. We used to laugh that it takes a computer to really foul things up properly, but behind every problem from poor programming to indifferent "customer service" [fast becoming an oxymoron] is a "human".

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    1. FC, humans can be very troublesome in all aspects of business and service, customers being the worst. It is quite true about machines and as you will recall, a good tradesman never blames his tools.

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  5. Oh dear, I wonder how old mine is. What a ridicularse system.

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    1. Fen, I guess you will receive an email when your card is old.

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