What a shock it was this morning to discover there’s been another technical problem with the myki ticketing system. The Age today reported that myki will be deducting money from thousands of customers bank accounts as a result of transactions not being processed.
So let’s get the story straight:
Users of the myki system who have been undercharged as a result of failed bank transactions don’t need to worry. A lump sum payment will be deducted from their accounts on October 14th, so long as the amount is under $100. No need to worry! Myki will make the calculations and deduct the appropriate amount. Automatically. Without the need for the customer to intervene.
Users of the myki system who have been overcharged on the other hand, which has been known to be occurring since at least December last year, can expect myki to do absolutely nothing. No automatic reimbursement, no periodic auditing of your statement, nothing. In fact, if you want to ensure that you are paying the correct fare, you can trawl over your statement in your free time, make the calculations, and then contact the customer service line to make your case. You could submit your statement to MykiLeaks for automatic assessment, but that involves trusting your personal information with a complete stranger (hi, that’s me), which is neither endorsed nor recommended by myki or the TTA.
Is it just me, or does this seem slightly unfair? Myki should start reclaiming their own lost coin when (and only when) they have audited every single myki account for overcharges, and reimbursed customers who have been duped by this mathematically challenged system.
I’ve already witnessed myki being used as a Software Engineering case study of how to not build a system, is it really going to become a case study for Public Relations experts as well?
Yesterday’s coverage of the latest results from MykiLeaks caused another media stir, but little else. It seems TTA chief Bernie Carolan is reluctant to do much more than encourage users to check their statements, and to re-assure Melbourne’s PT users that the TTA ‘believes’ the error rate to be below 1%.
In April, when the first major coverage of MykiLeaks hit the papers, there were 200 odd statements, with one third reporting overcharges. A small sample size, combined with the argument that someone is more likely to submit their statement to MykiLeaks for analysis if they already suspect overcharging, meant that the TTA were able to dodge the issue with relative ease.
The latest figures – 15% in error from 2000 statements – in my opinion are far less easy to write off as a statistical error. Unlike the first media release, this time I’ve referenced specific examples of overcharging, including an incident where a user was charged $18 for a days tram travel. That’s about 3 times the correct fare.
So what now? Well, I don’t want to have to maintain MykiLeaks site forever, and more to the point, Melbourne’s PT users shouldn’t have to submit their personal data to some guy on the Internets that they don’t know. Here are some reasonable demands that I intend on (somehow) getting fulfilled:
- Every myki card on the system needs to be audited BY KAMCO for overcharging, right back to the day it was issued.
- Any overcharges found should be credited back to the accounts without request from the user.
- Until there is sufficient evidence that the overcharging problem has been rectified, regular (weekly / monthly) audits of all accounts should occur, with overcharges credited back to the account.
I also take issue with the fact that myki statements do not show the user what actual fare [edit - i.e. 2hr / daily / zones] they have paid on a given day, but I’ll leave that fight for another day.
So there’s two ways to use the myki ticketing system, you can add myki money to your account, or you can purchase a myki pass for a fixed amount of time. Here’s my advice for young players:
If you’re used to buying single trip Metcard tickets (including 5x daily / 10x 2 hour), stick with Metcard. Not having to touch off at the end of each journey, there’s no chance of being charged a default dare, and you wont have to be one of those awkward people holding everyone up when exiting their suburban station. Also, we wont mention the overcharging that occurs using myki money, which is not an issue with the Metcard system.
If you are someone that uses a fixed term pass, there’s some advantages to using a myki pass. If you lose a Metcard pass, you’re out of pocket for the remaining balance of days. Using a registered myki, your replacement card will have the remaining balance of your pass transferred to it. The other main advantage is that the myki smartcard is more durable than a paper ticket, meaning that you can avoid the problems of bent Metcard tickets not validating in machines.