Ten years ago, the Victorian government invested almost AU$1 billion into the state's Myki smart card ticketing system, which was introduced to replace the ageing Metcard system.
A report published on Wednesday by the Victorian auditor-general's office, titled Operational Effectiveness of the Myki Ticketing System, has examined Myki to determine whether the expected benefits and outcomes are being achieved.
In his report, Victorian Auditor-General John Doyle pointed the finger at Myki's "poor initial planning in its original scope" as one of the underlying reasons behind its lack of success.
"The time taken to develop and implement Myki more than quadrupled from the initial expectation of two years, to in excess of nine years," Doyle said in his report.
The auditor-general said that the original contract was "vaguely specified and overly ambitious", and that the state has incurred "significant, additional, unanticipated costs", as Myki's budget blew out by 55 percent -- AU$550 million more than its initial AU$1 billion commitment.
In December 2012, Public Transport Victoria (PTV) assumed responsibility for Myki once the rollout had been completed and Metcard switched off; according to the report, PTV expected that Myki would deliver around AU$6.3 million to AU$10.8 million per year in economic benefits to Victoria and Victorians when they took on the responsibility.
Doyle said he is concerned that PTV does not yet possess a complete and reliable picture of Myki's operational performance, due to shortcomings in performance monitoring.
"PTV needs to urgently address these issues and assess the residual benefits achievable from Myki going forward, to optimise value from the state's significant and ongoing expenditure," he said.
With PTV planning to re-tender the contract once its 2016 expiry date is reached, the auditor-general suggested that the transport authority needs to urgently address current issues to avoid perpetuating past mistakes.
The report also found that between July 2010 and June 2014, the Public Transport Ombudsman received more than 5,450 complaints about Myki.
Additionally, as of December 2014, more than 13.4 million Myki cards had been issued, with the system processing around 7.8 million "touch on" transactions per week from 9.9 million active cards.
In FY2013-14, the total fares collected by Myki across all transport modes was around AU$800 million.