“We wish to advise that currently it is a requirement to touch on in order to validate a ticket; this is so that when touching off the system can calculate the lowest possible fare.”
This is an extract of a reply to an email I sent Public Transport Victoria (PTV) regarding touching off at Myki gates. There are few things wrong with it. Firstly, this statement only applies to certain uses of Myki Money. It does not apply when using a Pass.
The Myki System has two ways of paying fares. For random travel you can top up your Myki card with “Myki Money” which is deducted whenever you travel in certain zones for certain periods of time. The lowest fare is calculated when you touch off so this is where their statement is correct. However, the Myki Pass lets you buy a number of consecutive days of travel and the statement above does not apply.
Contrary to what the PTV wants you to believe, touching on a Myki does different things depending on what’s loaded on your card.
If you have no pass or no money the myki reader says no.
If you have Myki Money and no Pass it will let you touch on and when you next touch off, it will calculate the fare based on time and zones travelled through. This is why it’s important to touch off at the end of every journey otherwise the default fare applies which may not be the cheapest fare.
Now, here’s the interesting part. If you touch on with an unused pass on your card, the machine will validate your card by activating the Pass for the specified zones and number of days on the pass starting with today. But the system still insists that you touch on and off every time you travel, even if this is only to open the gates where they are present in the inner city and the occasional major suburban station. There is really no need for this. If the card reader detects a valid pass for the current zone the gate should be opened regardless of the touch-on status.
The same actually applies to Myki Money once the default fare or daily cap is reached.
So why do we need this restriction? Why can’t the system recognise a valid pass and open the gates, even if the card isn’t touched on for this trip? It would help passenger throughput, decrease congestion when people try to get out of the station with a perfectly valid Myki Pass, and generally help reduce people’s bad percentions of the Myki system.
This is the question I posed to PTV who said they have passed the query on to the relevant department. Hopefully, we shall see some common sense and an improvement to Melbourne’s transport system.