I only travel occasionally. I just want to be able to pay a human in cash a fixed amount for a trip form A to B.
I do not want a semi-functional (as it has turned out) gizmo with (equally semi-functional) whistles and bells which requires that I operate an account, pre-rent an electronic card, swipe it left right and centre and potentially have "errors" charged to my account if they cannot be proven to be system faults.
Why, oh why, can we not learn the "simple" lesson? Keep it simple, stupid (or KISS as it is referred to) and keep your customers happy. You can have all the discounted fares, periodicals and what ever you like and you can even offer them coded onto a piece of plastic but for goodness sake why do we have to abandon the simplest of public transport customer service principles of being able to pay cash at a known fare to someone as we start our journey?
No-one has yet offered a plain-English answer to this. We have had all sorts of techno-speak and propoganda (in general - not confined to this forum) in response but $1.5 BILLION later the question has not been answered.
And having trudged a lonely path for several years as Myki was developed, rolled out and now rolled back somewhat I now see there are other voices crying in the wilderness and gnashing teeth. Welcome to the dark side. We believe in cash and customer service!
We're on the same page, Gwiwer.
The answers are really complicated and buried back in time.
Peter Bachelor was swift-talked into it by slick IT sales people who told him that Metcard was about to break down (not the truth) and Melbourne would be left behind as other cities were going that way. In those days there was an unexpected river of money flowing in from our unprecedented housing boom and they were looking for things to spend it on. It was obvious from the start that the system was going to be engineered so that the customers have to meet the requirements of the system -
not the other way round. My first clue was the announcement a few years ago that passengers needed to familiarise themselves with the Myki Operations Manual. What? You mean there's a manual?
The problem of being hostile to cash is an old one. Everyone hates cash collection because it (ironically) costs money to do it but the weight of the law still says you are entitled to buy a service with it - hence this half-hearted attempt with TVM's and forcing you to buy a plastic card. The problem is that you aren't always in a situation where you can keep sufficient credit on some stupid debit card and the 90-day account lock-out is just sheer bloody-mindedness designed to add another layer of frustration to a system already structured to deter occasional users, the very people you should be trying to attract to public transport.
The other problem is the sheer unreliability of the system, in all it's modes. As I have mentioned previously I've been ripped off when trying to touch off on the rail system and ALL the validators are out of action at your destination. On this topic I have noticed that when they locate them exposed to the weather they appear to be much more unreliable (water damage?), common sense that they should avoid this wherever possible but again you don't associate common-sense with myki, do you. In this situation you are charged the default for the day which I must admit is only a few dollars more but it's happened frequently enough to make you really worry when they talk about 11 zones on V-Line (oh God please don't take away cash ticketing on V-Line!).
Now for the scoop. My own theory (hang onto your hats!) is that the secret advice that Baillieu got early in his premiership from Deloitte indicated that making myki slightly more customer unfriendly (removing some functionality such as short-term ticketing) would help with load-shedding on the busiest sections of the system as occasional users will be deterred from using it by the inflexibility of the ticketing. This is why they've resisted releasing it, they're embarrassed by the cynicism of that decision.
IN the meantime Gwiwer, you and me are stuck with it. It's the biblical mark-of-the-beast, isn't it... you can't leave home without it!