Victoria is preparing for the roll-out of its new myki smart card in Melbourne after introducing the system to regional areas around the capital.
A myki reader
Already 300 trams, 1200 buses and 170 train stations have been fitted out with myki equipment, according to a spokesperson for the state's Transport Ticketing Authority.
This amounted to 74 per cent of the equipment on trams, 81 per cent in train stations and 71 per cent in buses — leading to 74 per cent completed over all. There will be 17,000 pieces of equipment installed across Melbourne at the end.
Although there had been some problems with vandalism of installed equipment, the spokesperson said that most of the damage was superficial. Less than 1 per cent of installed equipment had been seriously damaged.
The system was being tested in Melbourne, but the spokesperson could not name a specific launch date for the system apart from repeating the state's promise that it would go live before the end of the year.
"The program tests an upgraded version of the software across all three modes of transport with pilot participants travelling throughout Melbourne's public transport system using myki along planned routes," the spokesperson said.
The number of pilot participants varied from day to day, the spokesperson continued, but on average around 20 people a day were using the new system in Victoria's capital.
"Myki is successfully operating in regional Victoria with almost 40,000 myki cards in use and more than one million trips made using the new system," Victoria's Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said this week when she announced 600 new jobs for people who would work as "myki mates" — people who help commuters decide on which myki to buy, how to top up and how to touch-on and touch-off at the readers.
An advertising campaign for the casual positions was starting this weekend. "The creation of 600 new customer service jobs signals another major milestone in the delivery of the new ticketing system," she said.
Yet the myki project hasn't had a smooth past, experiencing cost overruns and missed deadlines. Kamco signed a $494 million contract with the Victorian Government in 2005, but its budget has run out to $844 million to install the system and $550 million to run it for a decade.