building a community of interest and practice in service design
I never know whether to swipe off on a tram or not. Over time Myki has communicated it differently. First there were ads up that you don't have to swipe off on a tram, however now they're saying you have to always swipe off.
Agree with Tania, that if you're commuting regularly at stops where there are no myki top-ups, it's annoying to go and search for one. Online topup takes 24 hours at least!
I don't trust Myki because it's not clear what's the amount it takes off my card. The type is ridiculously tiny for the screen in the trams and it's not visually easy to see the amounts on it (especially if you have to move fast away from the doorway so that the next passanger could get on).
Experience 1: My brother has an intellectual disability. He is very set in his ways and doesn't like change. He has a limited capacity for understanding complex systems. However - he uses public transport as his primary mode of transport. He used to buy his weekly Metcard ticket from the local milkbar. The Milk Bar owner realised that Myki would be new for him. So they told him there was a new system coming in that would be easy to use and he wouldnt have to buy zone 1 tickets if he was going into the city - he could just use his Myki, but not to let the balance fall belwo $20 balance on it. That way he would always be covered and wouldn't have to deal with top ups etc elsewhere. He goes to the Milk Bar every Saturday and asks them to put a regular weekly amount on it. He comes to the milkbar every other day to check his balance. They have the time to talk to him, no queues and they know him. The Milk bar owner also went and spoke to his parents and told them about the changes and suggested they take my brother to the station to try it out. My parents took my brother to the station when they knew it wouldn't be busy and worked with the station master to show him what he needed to do each way. With the informal support - the milk bar owner, my parents and the station master, my brother has mastered myki on the bus and train. The exception is - trams move to fast for him to touch on and off on board and he is left stressed and frustrated by not being able to use it. So he just doesn't catch trams anymore without someone with him. I think that's a social justice and accessiblity issue.
Experience 2: My parents are in their 70's. They have never used Myki. I took them to a 7/11 to buy one and top it up as I knew they wouldn't want to use the machines. We boarded a tram. They couldn't see or work out if they had successfully touched on or not - the cues were'nt adequate. The tram started moving before they could work it out and they had to sit down. They tried to touch off when they needed to get off, but couldn't make it work (nor could I). They were going to stay on the tram until they could get it to work as they didn't know if they would be fine for not doing it. I convinced them to hop off anyway and sort it out at the station. They decided they would walk in future or plead 'aged' if they ran into problems. They thought their should be touch on / off points at the tram stops to make it easier for people who needed more time to read and work it out.
I use Myki every day. I put it off until I had to use it. I liked my Metcard. I watched all the Myki users waiting in long queues trying to tap and swipe etc - to make the barriers work and let themselves out - my metcard worked every time. Plus at the end of the line I could just walk through the barriers, while they were all trying to touch off.
Eventually i was forced into using one. Now I stand at the bottleneck at the end of the line and wait 3+minutes to get through the barriers and watch the embarrassed new users, elderly and disabled struggle to make it work, while all the impatient regular users are waiting for them to swipe and go. In the late afternoon the sun is bright on the touch pads and they are unreadable as to whether you have touched off successfully and what your balance is.
I talked to the station master about why some barriers seem to work some of the time and not others. He explained that once every few minutes or so many 100 swipes the computer system has to send the information to the central computer. While it does this it takes 20-90 seconds for it to do so, during which time the swipe system doesn't work. People don't like to wait and can't understand why it isn't working.
Experience 4: Office commuter by train. Interveiw:
If you had to tell someone in a lift about Myki - what would be your short story?
Prety positive. I don't really understand all the complaints about it. I have used the system in singapore and its pretty similar - in the ball park. Although I am curious why it was so expensive to develop given the examples around the world to copy from.
Do you have any ideas for improvements for MyKi?
I spoke to Myki about an idea - but was told it couldn't be done. I would like a hole punched in the top of the card that you could attach to your lanyard along with your secuirity card so you can just wear it around your neck and don't have to fish it out of your wallet every time.
How do you use MyKi?
Two ways. I put a regular amount on at the machine each fortnight. I also go to the newspaper kiosk to top up if there is a queue at the machine and get the man there to top it up. But I prefer the machine if there is no queue. I always touch on and off in the morning. I only touch on at night and not off, I figure I have used my daily limit already and why stand in the bottleneck at the other end. So I never touch off at night.
Any other thoughts, stories or comments?
Did you know that MyKi has MyKi Money OR MyKi pass? (No I didn't). I discovered it accidently when I was looking into an option for visitors from overseas. MyKi pass is cheaper if you travel consecutive days several days a week. Myki Money is better for the infrequent user. When you go to top up your card it asks which one you want to top up. I don't think most people realise this option is there and just automatically top up their pass. Its not really clear for most people what the difference is or that they have a choice. I use MyKi Money as I only travel 3 days a week.
I think Myki is a classic example of a technology push rather than a demand/needs-driven service which has been designed and developed as a response to a well explored and consulted process involving the end users - the public. Further, the specific requirements and capabilities of the various user segments have not been considered - particularly, the elderly. I have continually asked myself the question why an existing (overseas) system has not been fully considered - one that has a track record and has been finely tuned and optimised. Surely, adopting such a system to our needs would have been more prudent ... and possibly far less costly. We seem to have a "not-invented-here" aversion and are reticent to learn from others.
Even the technology falls short. The need to hold the card in just the right position for some time is far from practical in situations where there is passenger congestion ... particularly trams. And try reading your available credit in this situation ... and in bright sunlight ... impossible. I could go on and on ... but I feel most of all that the system is far from conducive to the elderly.
When, oh when, will decision makers start having a dialogue with and involving the end users in a new system ... instead of an arrogant "we-know-whats-best-for-you" approach. And if ever decision makers are conned and seduced by technology suppliers this is a classic example.
I arrived at the station when a train pulled in. The turnstiles were full of people coming out. There was no aisle for me to go in. I wanted to get on the train and felt I couldn't wait for everyone to pass through or I would miss the train. I swiped my card in what appeared to be a break in traffic but the person on the other side had also tried to swipe. The gates opened and we both passed through but we didn't know who's card had registered. I didn't know how to tell if I had logged on or not so I swiped it again.
The inspectors got on and with some trepidation I handed over my card. Apparently I had swiped on the first time and by swiping again had swiped off. I thought I was just confirming I was on the system. I don't think I am getting a fine but who knows. He came back and swiped my card.
Of course, I get to the other end and my card doesn't work to let me out...The inspector gave no advice on what the correct thing to when this happened.
Hard to read, even when new (sun on surface). Hard to hear with train warning bells ringing.