Victoria's Transport Ticketing Authority has confirmed that 30,000 myki smart cards have been recalled from distributors as they were issued to retailers "in an inactive state".
The new smart card system is currently being rolled out across Melbourne after trial implementations in other centres in Victoria.
"30,000 concession mykis for tertiary students were recalled from stations, not customers," the authority said in a statement issued today, confirming earlier media reports. Only about 25 customers were actually issued with the inactive cards, with the rest never making it to the public.
The 25 recipients have been contacted and will be issued with replacements. The TTA did not directly answer a question about how many cards had been issued so far, but said over 130,000 registered cards had so been "requested" as part of a promotional offer currently running.
The news came as the myki project has also come under fire over the past few days on privacy grounds from the State Opposition following the revelation it would share commuter's travel itineraries and personal information with police in the event of an investigation.
The TTA confirmed in its statement that it "may disclose" information to police to assist them with a criminal investigation, "like a number of public and private enterprises". However, the authority pointed out it was subject to the Information Privacy Act (2000) and said it took the protection of customer information "seriously".
A myki spokesperson said no personal information was stored on the myki cards, except commuters' names if they chose to have it printed on their card.
"If customers choose to register their myki, minimum contact details are required and these are stored securely in the back office," the spokesperson added. "Registration ensures the balance or value on your myki will be protected if it is lost or stolen."