The app will allow Android users with the Myki app to use their phones to travel. (ABC News: Kathy Lord)
Victorian public transport users will be able to put away their Myki cards and tap on using their smartphones with a new mobile ticketing system being introduced this week.
- A third of Melbourne’s public transport users will be able to use the app
- The Government is in talks with Apple to develop an iPhone version
- Allowing users to pay credit cards is more difficult due to the city’s multi-modal ticketing system, the PTUA says
But the Victorian Government said the custom-built smartphone app would only be available for Android users following a trial of the concept that began last year.
There are plans for an Apple version to be developed.
Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne said the new system would be introduced on Thursday and could be used on trains, trams and buses.
“That’s effectively a benefit for about 33 per cent of people that we know have got Android technology and it makes it simpler and easier for people to tap on and tap off,” she said.
“We’ve had more than 4,000 people out there testing the technology and we’ve had an overwhelming positive response to it,” she said.
The new technology uses Google Pay and allows passengers to travel on any fare.
Tony Morton, the president of Victoria’s Public Transport User Association (PTUA), said the move was a good step towards making the system more user friendly.
“We see this as a good incremental improvement to the ticketing system, it just adds to the options people have to pay their fare in a convenient manner,” he said.
The PTUA said the app was a step in the direction of making the system more user-friendly. (ABC Radio Melbourne: Nicole Mills)
“Unfortunately it’s still only available in Android, but we understand the Government is in negotiations with Apple to extend that to the iPhone platform and we’ll be most pleased to see that made universal in the future.”
Why not credit card payments?
In Sydney, commuters have been able to use their credit or debit card — and mobile phones that are connected to those cards to pay for trains, ferries and light rail since last year.
The NSW Government plans to expand the service to Sydney’s buses by mid this year.
Mr Morton said Melbourne’s complex fare system made implementing that sort of technology difficult for Victoria’s capital.
“What Sydney has is a system of separate fares — so you pay a separate fare every time you go from one vehicle to another vehicle,” he said.
“The whole idea behind Melbourne’s fare system is that you don’t cop a penalty if, for example, you don’t live within walking distance to the railway station so you have to catch a bus to your final destination.
“With a system that relies on a credit card to make the fare payment, it’s very difficult to integrate that with a multi-modal fare system such as we have.”
But he said the PTUA would still like to see another option introduced in Melbourne that would work well for occasional users and visitors to the city.
“We used to have the short term ticket option, which was scrapped, we still think that there needs to be some option of that sort,” he said.
“The way that is implemented is really for the Government to have a good think about.”
Currently, public transport users can use auto top-up, or top up a Myki card online, which takes up to 90 minutes to update.