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Melbourne ticked off by ticketing system -

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Melbourne ticked off by ticketing system

Gus Goswell reported this story on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 12:39:00

ELEANOR HALL: Public transport is a topic guaranteed to rouse the anger of many Australians and
regional Victorians are the latest to experience the frustrations of trialling a new ticketing
system.

The myki system, as it's called, is well over budget, and three years late.

And now as the state prepares for the transition to the new system state wide, public transport
users are raising concerns that the current ticketing system is being allowed to decay.

In Melbourne Gus Goswell reports.

GUS GOSWELL: You don't have to spend long at a tram stop or train station to run into a disgruntled
Melbourne public transport user.

VOX POP 1: One day I validated my ticket but it was not validated. I said your machine was not
validating my ticket and you gave me fine. He said no it's not my problem, it's not our problem,
it's your problem - $172.

GUS GOSWELL: And there were plenty of other commuters keen to share their stories this morning
about the system that dispenses and "validates" tickets, known as Metcards.

VOX POP 2: Ticket doesn't work, the machines don't work half the time.

VOX POP 3: I've had a ticket machine eat my ticket once and I had to pull it out and it was half
ripped up and I was just like what the hell?

VOX POP 4: Have about 20 fines just from not my fault.

VOX POP 5: I make sure I buy a ticket at a manned station so that I don't run into problems. There
was once there was a ticket machine that wouldn't work so I just got on the train without a ticket
and felt awful.

VOX POP 6: I've gotten fined like three times because of them. One of them wouldn't take a $10 note
and just I didn't have a ticket and so then they fined me.

VOX POP 7: I've had three fines in the past two months, so it's all $172.

GUS GOSWELL: Daniel Bowen from Public Transport Users Association says the ticketing system is a
constant source of frustration.

DANIEL BOWEN: We do get a lot of complaints about ticketing. Most of them relate to people being
fined where they consider that it's unfair that they've been fined. There's certainly a lot of
situations where people have tried to do the right thing and tried to buy a ticket and validate it
and because of faults with the machines or other problems they've been unable to and they've found
themselves facing ticket inspectors who have decided to fine them for not having a valid ticket.

GUS GOSWELL: Daniel Bowen says the current ticketing system is fragmented and may be being allowed
to run down.

DANIEL BOWEN: It's not beyond the realms of possibility. Perhaps as a cost cutting measure they're
not being as careful as they should be at ensuring the system works.

GUS GOSWELL: Bernie Carolan from the State Government's public transport marketing group Metlink
says that's not the case.

BERNIE CAROLAN: The maintenance of the current system is being maintained very, very thoroughly.
That will prevail right through until the Metcard system is turned off sometime in 2010.

GUS GOSWELL: Mr Carolan says he sympathises with public transport users who get fined even when
they've tried to do the right thing, and he says attempts are always made to overturn fines given
in those circumstances.

BERNIE CAROLAN: Well, look, I think Victorians can definitely still have confidence in the
ticketing system, both the current one and the future myki system. That said, it is a very vast
system and there's always going to be the possibility of faults of one kind or another. What's
important is that when those faults occur, people identify them. It's obviously our responsibility
to have the system working as well as possible, not our customers.

GUS GOSWELL: Melbournians still don't know exactly when they'll begin using the myki system.
Neither the Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky nor myki spokeswoman Jean Kerr Walsh made
themselves available to be interviewed this morning.

ELEANOR HALL: That report from Gus Goswell in Melbourne.