Saturday, December 11, 2010

#Myki machines on trams

The rollout of myki machines on trams has yet to begin, but already there is enough information out there to begin analysis on what to expect. Information gleaned from the myki website suggests that it will alow myki money top ups of up to $20 and that it will sell short term myki passes which is the equivalent of 2 hour or daily metcards for tourists. In other words it will not provide any better functionality than metcard. SHAME!

The two big issues I see are the lack of myki pass support, and secondly the lack of support for electronic payment methods.

The lack of myki pass support is a kick in the shins for regular tram commuters who'll inconveniently still have to go to a train stations/tram superstops to get instant myki pass top ups. Either that or purchase them online and wait a minimum 24 hours before the transaction is approved. Presumably the lack of myki pass support is because there is an issue with the storage of large volumes of cash on a tram, which brings us to the next issue, why is there still no support for electronic payment methods?

If myki touch on and touch off information can be relayed back to a central database, there must be a means for communication from the tram to the outside world, and hence a means for electronic payment methods. Are electronic payment methods too slow to function on a tram? Are they too unreliable? Or is it something for the too hard basket?

Melburnians should rightly expect things to improve with myki, except we're once again stuck with the status quo of coin collecting. Perhaps we'll see more tram superstops with full functionality myki topup machines scattered around every route in the future, but at the moment they are only seen in the city.

This blog post is a request that myki reconsiders the myki pass functionality on their tram top up machines to allow, at minimum, purchase of a weekly myki passes, then progressively phase in more days as a solution for increased storage and disposable of money on trams or electronic payments becomes available.

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