Friday, April 24, 2009

MYKI, Trams, Fares and Ticketing etc


So it appears that MYKIi is full steam ahead, with the system rolling out across buses in regional cities. One revelation that had not occurred to me, but was revealed over at Melbourne on Melbourne on Transit (and here), is that short term disposable tickets will be smartcards. There is no printing on the ticket issued by the bus driver to tell you what it is or how long it will be valid, it just comes of a pile of identical blank tickets (much like they do today with metcards on buses). I had imagined that the system would be similar to Perth and S.E. Queensland where short term tickets(ranging from 2 hour / single trip and dailys etc) are printed on thermal paper by the ticket machine or bus driver. The reason I thought this was that I noticed that the ticket machines at Perth rail stations are the same as those seen in the MYKI discovery centre at Southern Cross.

Examples of short term cash tickets.
From L to R, Brisbane from vending machine,
Perth from Bus driver and Perth from vending machine.

Thinking about it though retail tickets will probably be pre encoded, and therefore will probably have some sort of text denoting what they are. Vending machine tickets could also have printing applied as they are issued. This leaves just the fact that there is no way to tell how long the ticket is valid without pringing, although tram issues probably could as they would be tagged on as they are issued from the machine. This leaves only the bus issues with no physical indication at all. Doesn't seem very consistent or user friendly to me.

2. Tram Fares and Ticketing

On Sunday I took a tram ride along Bourke St, having driven to the city (I know I'm evil but I had a car and I had to go somewhere else on the way) I didn't have a ticket and so attempted to buy a city saver. As it turned out the machine was just spitting out all coins fed in, so I got a free ride. As I was pondering the fare structure on the sticker above the machine it occurred to me that having trams in both zone 1 and 2 is too complicated when considering that by and large the tram network is in zone 1. I'm not saying that the 3 tram lines (or is it 4?) that extend into zone 2 territory should should be curtailed at the zone boundary, but that tram ticketing would be greatly simplified it if they were treated as a zone 1 service no matter where they are.

I think I just like the simplified idea of having a single fare system for trams. Either buy a daily or a 2 hour, adult or concession, no need to worry about zones. I don't think it would or could happen with the current zone system as it would be unfair on people connecting too/from a bus or train in zone 2 .

3. Sunday Saver

On a related issue, I still can't believe they couldn't find a work around for dispensing Sunday savers from ticket machines. Actually IIRC it was never intended if a certain poster to some of the public transport forums is to be believed . On the tram I noticed some people using Sunday Savers and I couldn't help but feel that those buying tickets on the tram (this was on my return along Bourke St on tram that had a working ticket machine) were getting ripped off. The seniors daily button is useless on a Sunday as all seniors can apply and use a free Sunday ticket. Why not program the tram ticket machines to dispense a sunday saver when that button is pressed on a sunday?


Andrew said...

I once asked two revenue protection officers if they would report someone who had gone over their time on a two hour ticket on a Sunday, as the two hour ticket costs more than the Sunday Saver. One answered yes, and the other no.

What a system!

Daniel said...

Your point about tram zones is a good one. It's only a handful of routes, and most people use trams for short-distance travel, not long trips.

I assume your proposal would be to extend the zone 1/2 overlap to the ends of the lines, not make zone 2 people pay the additional zone 1 fare.

Another idea I've kicked around is (under Myki) to charge the cheapest zone possible; a zone 2 fare, or include the cost in zone 1 fare if it's already been paid for. Would avoid the scan-off mess that will surely eventuate otherwise.

Ben said...

Andrew, I hope I run into the first one if I ever find myself in that situation.

Daniel, yes I do remember that post and after re reading it I think it may be where I got the idea from.

I like your idea of using zone 2 as the base tram fare better than using zone 1.

Even better would be to as you say in your post to aim for a flat fare structure with a daily cap like London on all buses and trams in Melbourne. I think that is ultimately what we should be aiming for.