Myki rolls on

Victoria’s Myki smartcard ticketing system won’t be scrapped as expected, as the TTA gets back to fixing the bugs and making it work

Myki rolls on
Myki rolls on

By David Goeldner | July 7, 2011

Victoria’s bus operators were given an exclusive briefing this week by Transport Ticketing Authority (TTA) CEO Bernie Carolan on a recent decision to continue with the troubled Myki smartcard ticketing system.

A special BusVic Maintenance Conference session was convened to give Carolan the opportunity to explain TTA’s role in Myki’s continuing roll-out, warning that Metcard will cease by December 2012.

The decision to continue with Myki comes after a six-month government review, completed in June, which recommended sticking with the smartcard.

Carolan says the review has not been made public and any requests to obtain a copy of the findings would be turned down, but did give a summary of the findings to BusVic conference delegates.

He says a third party will be brought in to work with Victoria’s Treasury and Transport departments, and with the TTA, to oversight Myki’s remaining build phase.

"That independent third party has also been advising Government during the review," Carolan says.

"The method of the review that we all know took some months did involve initial briefings from ourselves, the Department of Transport and industry."

He says Metcard will be wound down from now until December 2012, but some Metcards will still be available through next year.

"Once the Metcard ticketing machines are withdrawn from trams they won’t be replaced with Myki vending machines, so there will be no opportunity to purchase Myki on a tram," Carolan says.

He says the decision on short term tickets hadn’t been absorbed by everyone.

"There will be no short term tickets on metropolitan services."

Although Carolan agrees there should be no short term tickets there will remain the matter of visitors to Melbourne requiring access to public transport.

"We will need booths at the airport, at Southern Cross Station and main arrival points – we will need some hotels to be equipped."

The likely outcome, yet to be determined, is that visitors will obtain smartcards at the arrival points and top up as required for travel around Melbourne.

Carolan says that by making it clear that travellers and commuters need a smartcard before they travel, Victoria will draw closer to the national norm.

"The intention is that there will be no short term tickets sold anywhere on any mode, it will be a Myki only system," he says.

Carolan says V/Line services between regional bus areas and Melbourne will be introduced to Myki as soon as possible through the remaining roll out of the project into 2012.

He says the introduction of Myki on the long distance V/Line network has been deferred and won’t be reconsidered until after the metropolitan and inter-urban V/Line situation is operating in a steady state.

And on regional bus services, TTA will continue to offer short term smartcards into 2012 but not beyond December 2012.

Carolan says the detail of the implementation schedule still needs to be sorted.

"There is already a lot of work going on and we will be making sure this is shared with industry, but we have to be clear the Government has a firm expectation that nothing is going to alter the achievement of the end of Metcard by December 2012," he says.

Carolan says early action is likely to be taken to allow multi-depot recording and access to information needed in the metropolitan area.

And the vexed issue of hand held devices not working to a required standard will be addressed.

"The hand held device has to be made to work properly," Carolan says.

All up, Carolan says the TTA is ‘quite pleased’ with some elements of the Myki system, but other elements need improvement.

"The system has to work so that it is satisfactory for use by all customers all day, every day on all modes," he says.

Leading up to the BusVic conference, the Victorian Government had been in consultation with Kamco’s parent company NTT Data, securing commitments to deliver the ticketing system within new parameters.

Transport Minister Terry Mulder says the revised contract, oversight, monitoring and testing regime will ensure the chronic system and project delivery failures that have plagued Myki will end and the risk of further cost blowouts be minimised.

"Many problems with the Myki ticketing system originated with the inadequate contract," Mulder says.

He claims the previous Government’s contract did not include appropriate governance, project management or financial controls for a project of Myki’s size and complexity.

"As a result, the project has blown out by hundreds of millions of dollars, and experienced ongoing delays and systemic failures."

Victoria’s Premier Ted Baillieu says continuing with Myki was the most cost effective outcome for Victorian taxpayers, allowing a reliable ticketing system to be delivered in the shortest possible timeframe.

"The costs of paying out the existing contract, removing the existing system infrastructure, and funding a new system would be far higher than the funding required to make Myki work," says Baillieu.

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