This post is a little different from my usual blogging, so I hope you’ll bear with me. When you have something you want to say on a topic that has stirred your emotions in some way, then why should you not write it down simply because it might not fit your previous themes?
I think one of the problems citizens have with the new myki system is that it takes away choice. Long gone are the days when you could step onto a bus or tram and purchase just a short term ticket with some cash, or choose instead to go get a yearly pass, or maybe you’d just like to have a metcard for a bit. Now, those choices gone, people are forced to cooperate with and trust myki.
Generally, people don’t like to be backed into corners or told which way is now the best (only) way. They want to find that out for themselves by going through the options and picking the one that suits them best, or what they’re more comfortable with. Especially when the choice can be the difference between them getting to work on time or not. (If your myki card runs out of credit because you haven’t been organised enough, and let’s face it none of us are organised all the time, then you’ll be forced to make a stop to top it up as you can’t do this via the tram itself any more)
Perhaps the debate over whether or not myki is a good system is a little over-emphasized in importance? Well, I don’t think so. Not when it involves people’s money. Reports abound of myki ‘stealing’ money through transfers of credit simply never arriving onto the card, or that the cards take more than they should per tram ride, plus with the funds sometimes taking 3 days to be on the card itself, you’re potentially headed for fare evasions fines that you didn’t even know were coming – fares you could have easily avoided if say, there was a short term ticket option on your form of public transport.
I’m not exactly old, but even I remember the days when I could get on the bus to school and only pay 80 cents to get from one side of the town to the other. Then myki arrived for our buses and suddenly I found myself with an annoying green card that was constantly out of credit no matter how many times I recharged it with the bus driver. Of course, whenever my card was declined it was easy enough to just whip out a $2 coin and buy myself a short term ticket that the driver who dropped me at university would be kind enough to let me keep using that afternoon to go home despite it being expired. Ah, the good old days… those days all the way back just five years ago…
But five years ago the myki system was supposed to be already up and running perfectly, I shouldn’t be able to reminisce about the better system that was around when this new one should have been kink free and on the go then. Myki was scheduled to be in place for 2007. Hell, I don’t even remember what the heck I was doing in 2007.
What bugs me the most is the cost it took to transfer to the myki system. One and a half billion dollars. Hmm. As a random citizen without that keen political eye I have to say that from down here it seems like you guys could have put that money into something a little better – like say, mental health, hospital equipment, renewable energy resources, helping out the homeless population, helping victims of abuse, or please please please putting it into the heart of all things: education? *cough Victorian TAFEs cough* Because I gotta tell ya, we regular citizens could have and would have ‘dealt with’ the old system quite happily if it meant that the education or health systems were benefiting and we weren’t worrying about a stupid green card. In the article below ‘Oh how myki has fallen-” writer Bruce Guthrie points out that we could have even improved the transport system by buying 40 new trains and still having $800,000 left over. He also pointed out the below quote:
That’s right, we could have gone to Mars for the money we’ve spent on the wretched thing.*
I often have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that regular citizens don’t really get that much of a say in how society is run. Sometimes this is a good thing because if people are uneducated on topics then we’re unlikely to make the best choices, but hell, something like this myki fiasco has just rubbed so many people the wrong way. This was something that we didn’t really need, that isn’t really working out so well and we all realise that the cost for it has been huge – I can’t help but think how many people could have benefited from that sum of cash. It hurts, that.
Plus, you know, the government is totally tracking our transport movements now. I threw that one in for a little dose of paranoia. I’m sorry if you’re actually easily paranoid. They’re not watching you… closely.
- Myki: Disaster from touch on to touch off
- *Oh How the Myki Has Fallen…
- How I learned to Love Myki offers us one benefit – environmentally friendly in that it counters printing all those short term tickets. Good, but good enough reason?
Is anybody out there a myki fan? If so, let me know why, I might reassess my opinion. Maybe. We’ll see.