The Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan has announced that current Myki operator NTT Data has been awarded a new seven year, $700 million, contract to operate Victoria's public transport ticketing system.
In a media release distributed on Tuesday morning, the Minister stated "this is a stronger contract that provides a better deal for Victoria and paves the way for major improvements to myki. It provides stronger performance requirements and will deliver better value for money by ensuring any unanticipated costs are borne by the operator - not taxpayers".
The Minister also stated that the government will "immediately begin investigating new contactless technology, including the ability for passengers to touch on and off with their credit card or smart phone".
No timeframe for the implementation of new access technology was provided however this new aspect of Myki 2.0 builds upon the marked improvements made to fare gates at central Melbourne and select suburban stations; the reduction in time it takes for online topups to credit to a Myki account; and the speed improvements to Myki readers on trams.
Famed for its Oyster smartcard system, implemented last decade, Transport for London (TfL) now offers a myriad of payment options that utilise contactless technology either through smart phones or smart phone accessories.
TfL accepts payment through apps that utilise Apple Pay (launched through ANZ in Australia) and Android Pay (imminent launch by ANZ and Westpac in Australia) as well as local payment methods such as utilising mobile phone credit through the UK Vodafone network.
If I were to create a wishlist for Myki 2.0, it would include the same depth of payment options as TfL's repertoire. Access should also be granted to the public transport network through the use of Bank-issued Visa Paywave and Mastercards Paypass enabled cards.
Notwithstanding the benefits to the Victorians who currently don't have a Myki card, as Melbourne gains more and more interstate and international travellers, allowing them to utilise a wide range of payment options can only be a good thing.
Likewise, bringing non-Myki services like Skybus on to the network should be a priority. An inbound traveller to Melbourne should simply be able to walk off the plane, collect their luggage and then walk on to the bus, swiping their credit/debit card or smartphone in the process and then be on their way.
There would be different fares for Skybus (and no doubt with any future airport rail service) but Myki 2.0 should aim to make access as universal as possible, without the need to have a specific card.
Lead image credit: "Myki improvements are an evolution, not a revolution" (danielbowen.com)