Even though the Metcard is probably the last functional vestige of the public transport system, it is to be severed. Its replacement is a malformed, grossly over-priced, hideous new appendage.
Maybe I’m being a bit unfair. I don’t know if the new system will work or not. But I have my doubts…
I ordered a Myki and it arrived in the mail about two days ago. It came with a letter that sternly insisted I check the details on the card to make sure they were correct. The letter also informed me that the Myki card was a concession card. This was repeated thrice. I am not entitled to a concession, so I rang the Myki people to see if I had incorrectly applied, or whether a clerical error had been made. The first thing I heard on the recorded message was this: “All Mykis of all sorts had been accompanied by a letter falsely stating they were concession tickets. Don’t panic.”
I began to panic.
If our new ticketing agency can’t even send out a letter, how will it cope with what will happen when Myki is not just a bad headline, but a system a million people rely on?
The Myki system is a classic example of over-reach. If I were a completely green, rookie, noobish public servant, I might think ‘existing systems that can be bought off the shelf aren’t well suited to Melbourne’.
If I were so starry-eyed, I might believe the quotes and timelines pitched to me by some greedy company that wants to design a bespoke ticketing system for ‘only slightly more’ than it would cost to import the Oyster system.
And if I were that ignorant, I might be surprised when the project came in 3 years late, trebled its budget, and failed to deliver on core capabilities. However, I have done some work with the Department of Defence, so nothing can faze me.
Here’s a lesson, project managers. Buy off the shelf. Big projects go bad so fast you’ll drown in your own excuses… Their complex interrelations mean when one of the zillion components fails, it pushes everything else back. Time is money. Budget blowouts compound, rather than grow linearly.
So, anyway, $1.35 billion is not so much to spend to replace a functioning ticketing system with one that is 90% likely to be utterly %$^* , #$#@^ and ^%$&%.
Ooops, it can’t be billion, can it? Wait hold on yes, $1.35 billion. Metcard cost less, but that was ancient history! A massive fifteen years ago. In this era of obsolescence, I expect Myki should last at least half that long.
All piss and wind aside, I’m excited to have a Myki. I’m all for charging people for what they use, and using fares to distribute PT usage away from peak times. The intelligent technology should in theory allow fares to differ between shorter and longer trips. If enough of our money is channeled through the Government to fix the system it will eventually work, and then we will have something that will make PT better.
But as for how I would have spent $1.3 billion on Melbourne’s Public Transport?
1. Improve reliability by fixing rails and fixing signals.
2. Build a train to Monash University, build a train to Doncaster, and/or build a train to the airport: See this excellent map – I especially like the line that stops at Melbourne University, turns right through Fitzroy, and heads along the Eastern freeway.
What different about myki
1. You’ll have to swipe your card both getting on and off the tram, bus or train.
2. You’ll have to pay for the card, unless you order it online before the 17th of January.
3. Fares will be cheaper. Myki fares are equal to the discount price on 10-trip tickets
4. Myki money vs Myki pass. The former charges you trip-by-trip. The latter is the substitute for the weekly /monthly /yearly tickets and seems to be priced to get you to use Myki money.
Has anyone used Myki yet? Any opinions you would like to vent? put them all below!