If you live in Melbourne, or have visited the city since 2012, you would know about their ticketing system Myki.
This handy little devil is their way of making sure you pay the right amount of money for the trip you take on public transport, particularly trams.
This is because, since 2015, Melbourne’s CBD area has been classed as a ‘tram free zone’, which doesn’t mean there are no trams, but does mean you don’t have to, or shouldn’t be, paying any fares for travelling in that zone.
This, however, has caused a lot of confusion for people, even frequent travellers of Melbourne’s public transport system, never mind visitors or tourists.
Since its 2015 introduction, Public Transport Victoria has processed 787 refunds, or roughly $3000, to passengers who have incorrectly tapped their Myki card on and off in the tram free zone and been charged for it none the less.
Public Transport Users Association president, Tony Morton, commented on the issue, saying, “I guess the potential for confusion is always there and we don’t always send out clear messages on when to touch on and off,
"I know there is still some confusion among regular travellers let alone visitors. There is now luminous signage advising people of the Free Tram Zone but people can still miss it”.
But despite there being signage of where the free tram zone is and tram announcements regarding the entering and exiting of it, something I know from having travelled to Melbourne recently, it does make you wonder why people are still being confused by the system?
Maybe it’s too confusing? Maybe it’s not been made clear enough? Maybe there needs to be a change?
I know from having lived in Tasmania for many years and having used public transport more times than I can count in that time, the system here is vastly easier, and less confusing if I have to be honest, as you only have to tap on or pay once when you get on the bus (as we don’t have trains or trams spread out over the city and outer suburbs), with there also being a set cost for travelling depending on whether you are a child, student, adult, or concession traveller.
But back to Myki.
Despite all the confusion of tapping on/off, how much you pay each trip, and where the free tram zone begins and ends, there seems to a very small, dim light at the end of the tunnel, which also could be seen as good or bad news depending on how you look at it.
That news, which I’m not even sure about myself, is that the public transport system may be getting upgraded to be able to read smartphones and credit cards, which is set to cast Victorian taxpayers a cool $50 mill.
But regardless of whether the system changes or stays the same, I’m sure we can all agree that the least that can happen is more emphasize on where the free tram zone is and when you should be tapping on or off when travelling outside of it.