NTT Data secures AU$700m Myki contract for another seven years

The Victorian government has handed NTT Data a seven-year contract to work on improving the existing Myki transport ticketing system.

The Victorian government has extended its contract, valued at just under AU$700 million, with current Myki operator NTT Data for another seven years.

Under the contract, NTT Data will be responsible for delivering a fixed-price ticketing model, as well as investigating contactless technology that could potentially enable passengers to touch on and off with their credit card or smartphone, instead of their Myki smart card.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said the contract will see major enhancements for passengers.

"It provides stronger performance requirements and will deliver better value for money by ensuring any unanticipated costs are borne by the operator -- not taxpayers," she said.

"We've made major upgrades to Myki and work on the next generation of improvements starts today -- looking at the latest technology to make it quicker and easier to top up, touch on, and get where you need to go"

The new contract will begin January 1, 2017.

The Myki smart card ticketing system was introduced 10 years ago by the Victorian government to replace the then-ageing Metcard system.

A report tabled last month by the Victorian auditor-general's office examined whether the transporting system's "poor initial planning in its original scope" was an underlying reason for Myki's 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," Victorian Auditor-General John Doyle said in the report.

The auditor-general said the original contract was "vaguely specified and overly ambitious", and that the state 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.

The report also found that between July 2010 and June 2014 the Public Transport Ombudsman received more than 5,450 complaints about Myki.