Sunday 24 February 2013

"can I ride the tram?": a flowchart explaining melbourne's new myki ticketing system

Some of my favourite childhood memories from the late 1980s and early 1990s were our family trips to Melbourne.  We didn't actually move here until I started high school, and so before that time, every trip down here took on an extra-special aura.

More specifically, I loved riding the clunky old trams.  I'd dash straight up to the seat behind the driver, and kneel on the worn vinyl seat cushions to peer through the wooden-framed front windows, watching as the driver worked his magic with all manner of handles and switches.

Meanwhile, my Mum would be paying our fares by way of a rather quaint system, where she would say "two tickets please!" to a person selling tickets, following which cash would be exchanged for tickets and we would happily travel on to our destination.

However, these glowing childhood recollections have now been ruined by the state government of Victoria, which has spent more than $1,500,000,000 trampling all over my youth by implementing a new ticketing system.

Now, I could have been vindictive and written an article about how this new myki "smart" card is so plagued by bureaucratic incompetence and general nonsense that even Terry Gilliam would struggle to design a more convoluted system.

However, I'm not going to do that.  Instead, I've produced a handy flowchart that you can print out and stick up on your wall (or carry around as a giant scroll) to help you navigate the new system.  The flowchart also includes a comparison as of fifty years ago, in case you happen to travel back in time to 1963 and need to take public transport to get to one of the nation's eighty computers, perhaps to start the world's first blog.

Enjoy (click here for full-size version).


  1. There is an extra dimension for rural travelers. there are few seven elevens in regional towns.
    you must go on line.
    1. do you trvel in melbourne less than once evry 3 months.?
    Yes top up card two days before travel.
    No you must pay an extra $7 to re activate card. Then top up card.
    If you are on a single trip from Ballarat going to Williamstown.
    2012. get off at footscray. change trains . take next train to williams town.
    2013. take train to Southern cross. que up for 30 minutes to get regional tickets date stamped. then take train back through Footscray one and half hours later to Williamstown.
    Time saving????/

  2. They are called slurpees at 7-11 not slushies.
    Otherwise, brilliant!

  3. You should turn these into stickers and put them up at popular tram stops. A little community service goes a long way! And maybe a variant covering the hilarious extra steps for country-folk too.

  4. Your flowchart is all wrong. The heading in the top left should say Sydney 2013.

  5. Does the following scenario still exist?

    - I owe myki 10 cents.
    - I buy a monthly card for $100
    - Can I ride the tram.
    - No,

    1. unfortunately that situation does still exist. :(

    2. I can't stand that! They don't offer any sort of warning system if you're near your pass expiry, but they'll take your money and make you go into negative so you need to renew your pass And then top up as well! So frustrating!

      I contacted them and suggested they should have an expiry warning system in place and all I got was a curt reply saying they didn't have that facility which I obviously already new as it was a suggestion. Recurring theme perhaps?

  6. Sunday for me was:
    Touch on in morning on way to work
    touch off leaving station
    (Try to) Touch on leaving work and getting to station
    "Why can't I touch on?"
    "Because there is no money on the card?"
    "I touched on this morning"
    "Yeah and you need to put money on the card"
    "It's valid til 3am tomorrow!"
    "That's right and you need to put money on the card" :S

    1. Well, to be fair, if your card goes into negative (which prevents a touch on) your ticket isn't really valid until 3am because you haven't actually paid for the full ticket.

      It's far from user friendly, however.

  7. I wonder how long they could have paid those tram conductors with the 1.5 billion they spent on Myki??

    1. Many many years, in fact many more years than Myki is likely to last. This has nothing to do with saving money. If they wanted to save money they would just go back to connies.

  8. Brilliant. No thanks, I'm driving. Or cycling or taxiing. Thank you for making it clearer.

    I might wait for the phone ticket version to come along.

    What a monumental Public Relations Disaster for our great city.

  9. LOL I LOVE This article. Speaking as a TAFE student that has to take the Metro every day, I can soundly say that the "old" (paper ticket) system they had when I was in high school was a walk in the park compared to the myki. I've lost count of the number times I've been stuck at boom gates when the Myki has refused to work! And the long ques to "touch on and off" at the station or on the trams is a NIGHTMARE if you're in a hurry!! THANKS MYKI FOR MAKING MY TRIP THAT LITTLE BIT HARDER :(

  10. Rofl... being one of the people who implemented Metcard it's easy to see why they replaced it with a system which is so much better than ours was. Better bugs. Better problems. Better delays. Better misunderstanding. Better unfriendliness. Better all round really.

    1. I think that was the problem with metcard. It made too much sense and worked perfectly. After metcard, the government was being held to too high of a standard. They couldn't keep up. What's that, a system that works? What will the public expect next?! Thankfully, myki has solved that problem. Now when the government stuffs up, they can simply lean back and go:

      "Yeah, but at least it's not myki"

  11. What is the flowchart software you used to create this flowchart ? Is it creately ?