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HE Baillieu government has made an exception to its ruling that there will be no short-term myki tickets on Melbourne's public transport, just days before the Metcard system is to be shut down.
Paper myki tickets will be sold on two bus routes on the Mornington Peninsula after it was found some concession card holders would be charged between $1.42 and $5.22 more using myki than Metcard, because buses operate in zones 2, 3 and 4.
It is the second time the government has made an exception to its decision to scrap short-term tickets, following the issuing in July of a disposable myki day pass for charities.
Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton said the release of short-term myki tickets in limited circumstances meant they could operate alongside the wider system. ''This is proof positive that paper tickets can be made to work alongside myki,'' he said.
''Given the system can accommodate this option, it should be made available to occasional travellers, visitors and tourists who neither want nor need to pay $6 for a myki card that won't be used again for months.''
His group is lobbying the government to reverse its decision to eliminate disposable short-term tickets, warning it will make travel less convenient and increase fare evasion.
The government chose to scrap short-term tickets from myki last year after a review by accounting firm Deloitte. It also chose not to put myki vending machines on trams, meaning from Saturday it will not be possible to buy a ticket on a tram.
It will not publish the review, a decision that is being challenged in court by Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber.
Dr Morton predicted new anomalies would emerge that would require further compromises on short-term tickets.
''These cracks will keep appearing, it basically tells you that there will always be paper tickets operating alongside the myki system,'' he said. ''The government doesn't want to admit it, because it would collapse their rationale for not allowing regular passengers to also use paper tickets with the myki system, if that's what their travel needs suggest is the best option for them.''
Metcard will be consigned to history after the last service on Friday. But late last week one in five Melbourne bus passengers were still using Metcards, a much higher rate than on trains and trams. Almost three-quarters of Melbourne bus passengers are students or seniors.
''In Melbourne … we don't have a lot of use of buses by full-fare travellers, which arises from the fact that the bus system is not all that competitive with car travel,'' Dr Morton said.
Bus Association chief executive Chris Lowe strongly advised bus passengers to switch to myki before Saturday.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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