I was on a route 86 tram yesterday, and watched a gentleman studying the onboard information - route maps, the stopping pattern for the route we were on, stuff like that. You know how you can tell when someone is a bit lost, but they seem confident they’ll be able to figure it out by themselves? That was the situation.
Sure enough, a few moments later he approached me and rather than ask for directions - which is fairly common and what I expected - he asked how to use his myki! He seemed confused about touching off - did he need to touch off or not? A very good bloody question! He’d heard that you don’t need to touch off, but had then seen some of the signs around the tram that mention touching off in zone 2 and had no clue what or where zone 2 was.
The route we were on wasn’t going near zone 2 so I told him touching off was optional, which already sounds stupid. I also asked him where he was going as the tram we were on started it’s journey in the free tram zone. It turns out he was indeed travelling entirely within the free tram zone, so I then had to explain what that means and implored the guy not to touch on or off if he’s staying inside the free zone.
It’s embarrassing that the process takes more than one sentence to explain.
But I started thinking… is that stuff about keeping your myki away from the readers if you’re only travelling within the free tram zone true? I know myki used to charge you back when the free tram zone was new, but that was over 8 years ago. Surely they fixed that. So I pulled out my myki and touched on somewhere around Queen Street and touched off at the end of my journey (ignoring the “optional” complaint from above because I wanted to give the system all the information I could) and yep, I was charged $5 for a free journey.
It feels like whatever conglomerate runs myki gave up years ago - they knew their time would be up so why bother exerting any effort on the thing. I really hope the next incarnation of our once-world-leading ticketing system sorts this crap out.