Thursday, 16 February 2012

Minister response - MYKI may change

Yesterday I was told that the Minister and the Minister's office was aware of me and the issues I have raised about MYKI.  At last!

After receiving the news from Liberal Member, Mr Andrew Elsbury, that the current processes for switching MYKI cards to match changes in concession status was "suitable" and that bank cheque refunds would continue to be used, I am pleased to let you know I have a better story to tell today.

Wade Noonan MP is another of my local representatives whom I contacted about the MYKI refund debacle which I've written about a few times.  (I'm still trying to work out state representative structures in Victoria!)  Today I received a letter from him, along with a letter from the Minister for Transport, Hon. Terry Mulder MP, addressing the issues I have been raising since May 2011.

The Minister opens with a conventional thank you for raising the issues and notes that he has also been contacted by another local representative.  I'm pleased to see my local representatives following up issues raised by their constituents.

Then we have the inevitable political point scoring in the second paragraph: "The Coaltion Government inherited myki from the previous Labor Government. myki was substantially over budget and behind schedule. The Coalition Government is continuing to work to fix these problems."  This whole paragraph seems to have little to do with me. I know what happened with myki and just want to deal with the present and the future.  Since the letter is actually written to Mr Noonan, I guess some sniping at the political opponents is inevitable.  Shame it's not useful.

Some history of what actually happened in my particular case is then recounted.  It is emphasised that the closing balance of 94 cents was refunded to me in full. by cheque.  Then: "The bank fee of $10.00 is a fee charged by Westpac and is not controlled by the TTA" (Transport Ticketing Authority).  Oh look, that's true.  It's a little amusing to see the government engaged in the national sport of  bank bashing, albeit at a low level.  The bit that is controlled by the TTA (or the government) is the decision to use bank cheques to provide a refund, rather than use the smart card technology to place the balance on the new card.

The lead is buried right in the last paragraph: "The process required when a myki user changes concession status may change in future to allow a balance transfer from the old myki card to the new myki card.  The TTA has advised me that it expects to have an improved process in place by December 2012."

Light the fireworks! The bets are hedged with the "may change" in that first sentence, but I'm pleased that at least this ridiculous process has been acknowledged and there is now a time frame of December 2012 in place to "improve" it.  Time will tell.

My reason for writing about this is to encourage others to take up issues of public interest.  Users of the ticketing systems are the ones who know where the problems are and also suffer when these problems are not rectified.  Our elected representatives are there to represent us.  Today with email, it is relatively simple to correspond with them and stay in contact.  Give them feedback.  Ask them questions.

I noticed that there is a red sticker on the Metcard machine at my local unstaffed suburban train station advising that it will be turned off on 27 February.  MYKI is being rolled out to everyone, so now is the time to identify the issues and fix them.

Now, when will they widen the exit points and put in more readers so we can actually get out of the station during peak hour?

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