Public Transit: Costly Implementation of Melbourne's Ticketing System
Why does it seem that sometimes the more advanced we get, or the more available technology becomes, the less effective we become?
This is the case with Public Transport in Melbourne. Up until the 1990's Trams were controlled by aged conductors, dressed classically and ever approachable. They were employed to make sure everyone who came on paid for a ticket, and through their appearance, one would always generally feel safe when commuting.
Unfortunately, with the development of the Metcard Ticketing System, the conductors were replaced with 'Ticket Inspectors.' Their now occasional sighting on trams not only made it easier for commuters to fare evade but also decreased the surveillance available on trams.
The latest development in Melbourne Public Transport has been the development of MYKI. MYKI was created to simplify Melbourne's ticketing system by providing a durable, re-usable, and sustainable smart-card that stores value for all public transport fares. However, its initial 6 months has been nothing short of a debacle.
The issues that the contemporary card has endured since its inception in January 2013 includes the following:
A $1.5 Billion development cost that has been rumored to be the world's costliest for a ticketing system;
Consumers having to pay for their initial cards as a separate fare from their travel (thus tourists wanting to spontaneously take a tram would have to plan their journey by buying a card and then topping it up with adequate funds for their journey);
If you wish to top up your MYKI online, your payment won't be processed on the same day;
New evasion techniques have already been found (ie: If user goes from Zone 1 to Zone 2 area (more expensive than just Zone 1 travel) and doesn't check off upon his arrival to his Zone 2 destination then he would be charged as if he only travelled within Zone 1); and
The ability to fare evade has remained, as no physical barriers or increase in the amount of ticket inspectors have been associated with the systems implementation.
How has the introduction of technology assisted how ticketing functions in your city?
Credits: The Herald Sun, 2011; Images and data linked to sources.