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MYKI cards will be switched off in their thousands in coming weeks as they begin to reach their four-year expiry date.
Myki users in Geelong, where the smart-card ticketing system was first introduced on buses, will be the first affected, followed by commuters in other regional towns. Melburnians who took up an early offer of a free myki card will follow.
The Transport Ticketing Authority issued a notice on its website on Tuesday after Nine News reporter Andrew Lund reported on Twitter that his myki card, bought in Geelong on the first day they were issued, had just expired.
Myki cards will be switched off in their thousands.Photo: Steve Lightfoot
People with registered myki cards will be sent an email warning their card is due to expire within 14 days, an authority spokesman said. They could swap their old card for a new one at the PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station - the only place in the state where this can be done - or buy a new card for $6 and lodge a reimbursement form.
But the many myki users who have not registered their card will receive no warning it will expire. Instead, they can view the expiry date using a myki machine or myki check.
It also emerged on Tuesday that myki is overcharging more than 20,000 public transport users a week on average, accruing more than $51,000 in excess fares and reimbursing only $27,000 of that, according to data submitted to an online watchdog.
The website mykileaks.org has assessed more than 180,000 myki fare transactions in the past year and calculated the ticketing system still overcharges one in every 200 users. The site automatically deduces whether an error has occurred once users upload their myki statement.
The website has identified a number of recurring errors yet to be rectified, including incorrectly charging bus users for travel in zones 1 and 2 and charging users for two tram trips when they ought to have been charged for one.
''Myki has failed to deliver the fundamental requirement of any ticketing system - to charge the correct fare,'' website creator Jonathan Mullins said.
''Combined with the removal of single-use tickets, the system that was intended to make public transport more user-friendly has undoubtedly made it absurdly difficult.''
The Transport Ticketing Authority responded that a small amount of overcharging would occur while myki runs alongside Metcard, but that in all cases users were automatically reimbursed in full.
The authority's chief executive, Bernie Carolan, said the website had analysed too few fares to be credible.
''This website's claims are very extravagant, using a small sample size and erroneous calculations to come to a wildly incorrect and overblown conclusion,'' he said.
Mr Carolan said that of the more than 20 million trips taken in October, there were 1150 reimbursements issued due to a fare error, with a total value of about $3800 or 0.006 per cent.
But Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton said some bus passengers would continue to be incorrectly charged for travel in zones one and two, because the system relies on GPS technology to determine where passengers touch on and off.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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