The Pros and Cons of Myki Pass.

Since Myki started in Melbourne, I have mostly used Myki Pass rather than Myki Money, and as a consequence have had (almost) no problems. Myki Pass has a number of benefits which make it far superior to Monthly Metcards in several ways.


For a start, the card itself is much more durable.
I haven't done it myself, but I have seen people on twitter who accidentally put their myki through the wash, with no ill effects. Try doing that with a metcard. Also, Metcards are prone to failure (particularly Monthly tickets... Monthly Metcards used to fail on me on a semi regular basis, and I was very careful with the way I treated the card). Of course myki can also fail but the chances of that are much more remote. Your myki can theoretically last up to four years (the cards have a built in expiry date). No metcard will last that long if used on a daily basis.

Flexibility in Length of the Pass.
Periodical Metcard was only available as a weekly, a monthly, or a yearly. myki however is a bit more flexible. You can of course buy a weekly myki pass, however the real benefit is with 28 days or longer passes. You are able to purchase any number of travel days between 28 and 365. So say you regularly buy a 28 day pass which gives you four weeks of travel, and your current pass expires and in six weeks you are going on leave and won't need public transport for a month. You are able to buy a six week pass, or even 6 week and 3 days if necessary. This would represent a significant saving as opposed to buying a monthly metcard and two weeklies and 3 daily tickets for example. Also if you buy a 365 day pass, the last 40 days are free... so you only pay for 325.

Buying your Pass with Myki Money.
The Myki Machines have a little known feature, which allows you to convert myki money to a myki pass. So how it might work is this:
You buy a new myki, and buy your first pass for 28 days.
throughout the month, you get rid of loose change into the myki machine, topping up your myki money balance as you go.
when your pass expires, your myki money balance needs to be the same as or more than the cost of the pass you are buying. If it's not, first you need to top up to a balance higher than the amount of the pass.
Then, when you buy the pass, you will get a "Pay with myki money" option.
I call it the "myki money box" method.

EDIT added 04/05/2012.  I did this video showing how to buy your myki pass using myki money at the myki machine, hopefully some will find it helpful.

No need to touch off on any mode (not just tram), in the zones for which your pass is valid.

Now, in reality most of the time you might be forced to touch off, eg exiting city gates. But, if you exit at a station that has normal myki readers, or even get off a bus, and you don't touch off, you aren't going to be charged a default fare with myki pass. Of course you should still endeavour to do so... but it's definitely not going to cost you anything if you don't, unlike myki money. You should, however, ensure you touch off if you are in a zone for which your pass is not valid. So if your pass is zone 1, and you go to a zone 2 station such as Blackburn or Box Hill, you will need to touch off, otherwise you are technically fare evading and if Authorised Officers catch you, you may be fined. Touching off in a different zone will mean you must have a myki money balance to pay for the non pass portion of your trip, but more on that later.

Buying your Pass online.
You can buy your pass online on the myki website, and by rights it should load onto your card at your next touch on within 24 hours. In practice, I have found online topup will be available at train readers the next morning if you topup online the previous day. The same rule should apply to trams and buses as well. But more on that later.

You can have two passes loaded on your myki at once.
So there is no need to wait until your current pass expires to load a new one. You can buy another pass at any time and once your existing pass expires, the new one will be activated at your first touch on after that. So if your pass expires on a Saturday, and you don't use myki until Monday, your new pass will start on the monday. You are able to view details of both the active pass and the inactive newer pass at myki vending machines and blue myki check machines.

Travel into another zone is easier.
With Metcard, you were technically required to buy an "extension ticket" to travel into another zone with a periodical metcard that wasn't valid in that zone (eg z1 metcard, travelling to z2). This probably wasn't well known by some people, and many would buy completely separate daily tickets to travel into another zone. With myki these worries are gone, and as long as you have a myki money balance on your card you are charged the difference for the other zone on touch off.

Registration means your card can be replaced.
Regardless of whether you use myki money or myki pass, if you lose your card or it is stolen you are able to get it replaced with the remaining portion of your pass or myki money balance. If you lost anything other than a yearly metcard (which were also registered) bad luck.

Those are the main benefits I can think of. So now to the


You must have at least a $0.00 myki money balance for the pass to be valid.
If you travel into a zone where your pass is not valid (eg z1 pass, travel into zone 2) and you touch off, you may (but not always) get charged an extra fare. If your myki money balance is not high enough, this can drag your myki into a negative myki money balance. As a consequence of this your myki pass will not be valid (and won't let you touch on) until you topup to a positive amount of at least $0.00. Personally I recommend keeping a balance of at least a few dollars on your card just in case. The way myki is structured this is a necessary evil, but if you aren't aware of it you could be trapped with a worthless pass.

Unreliable Online Topup.
Online Topup has been plagued with problems since myki launched last year. Delays of days or weeks were not uncommon, and in some cases topups never arrived. So loading an expensive myki pass of 28 days or longer via online topup was fraught with danger. Thankfully, at least on trains, this appears to have been fixed so in most cases your pass will load on the next day when you either touch on or touch your card to a vending machine. But personally I still wouldn't rely on it, and if travelling by train would just load my pass at the vending machine. Trams and buses are different of course as they don't have vending machines and even if they did they don't have the facility to load a pass, so online topup is the only option. Unfortunately it seems getting the message to the bus and tram readers to load your new pass is unreliable and certainly won't happen within 24 hours, sometimes longer. This needs to be fixed.

If your card does die, there is currently no easy way to get it replaced.
At this point in time, if your card dies for whatever reason (eg is not recognised by readers) you are not able to easily get a new one with the same pass loaded straight away. Instead you need to fill in a form and wait for myki to send you a new one, which could take some time. In the meantime you would be forced to use metcard or buy another myki and use myki money or buy a separate pass to your first one.

You could possibly be overcharged.
This should not happen on trams as trams are only in zone 1 or the zone 1/2 overlap. But there is a chance at the moment when getting on a bus that it may think it is in the wrong zone due to GPS problems. If this happens there is a chance you could be overcharged if your pass is not valid for that zone, and if you don't have a high enough myki money balance you may go negative and then would not be able to legitimately travel until you topup again. This is why a myki money balance of at least a few dollars is a good idea.

EDIT added 24/5/2012
When your pass starts may not be completely obvious
Say you go into the city on myki money.  Whilst there, for whatever reason, you decide to buy a myki pass, thinking it won't start until tomorrow.  BZZZZT!!!  DON'T!  If would appear, that the pass will start after the next touch off of that card, regardless of how much you have already paid for that day.  So say you worked on St Kilda Rd.  You travel by train into the city (paying a 2 hour fare).  You catch the tram out to work on St Kilda Rd.  In the afternoon you tram back in (paying another 2 hour fare, bringing your myki put to a daily cap).  At Flinders Street you topup with a myki pass, thinking it won't start til tomorrow.

When you touch off at your destination station, it will activate the myki pass (assuming the station is in one of the zones that the pass is valid for).

I hope this makes sense.  The moral of the story is:  If you are going to buy a myki pass, don't do so until after you no longer plan to travel using myki money.  So if you arrived home on Friday night with no plan to travel that weekend, and wanted your pass to start on Monday morning, buy your pass AFTER you touch off on Friday night.  

I think that's about it. All in all I think the Pros outweight the cons. If you mainly use train or tram in zone 1, and you bought weekly, monthly or yearly metcards, myki pass is really a no brainer. If you bought a zone1&2 pass you won't be effected by many of the problems mentioned here as you are basically covered for everywhere that myki works in Melbourne (unless you happen to go to one of the regional centres where myki is on buses).

EDIT as of March 25, 2012, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Metcards are no longer sold.  So if you were using these tickets, your only choice is to switch to myki and load a myki pass.


  1. posting anonymously. a few points:

    There is an easy way to get a replacement if your card dies - provided you commute through the city. On the spot replacements are available, for defective cards only, not damaged, at Southern Cross, Flinders St, and the Metshop, which are all city locations. The admin fee of $9.80 is waived for defective cards, but not damaged, ie if there is a clear bend or crack in the card.

    You are still required to fill out a replacement form and should download and print one out beforehand if you have a spare five minutes. This service should be available at premium stations already and there is no reason why it should not, it discriminates against people who do not travel through the CBD. This may change in the future I suppose.

    I'm also curious to know why the 'cons' list doesn't include your previous mention of the declined auto top up process. It certainly hasn't been improved since you last discussed it.

    One other thing worth mentioning is the failure to engage with the public on all fronts -,,, and the PTUA, who are still advising people to stick with metcard. This is either an inadvertent consequence of the fractured relationship between the organisations supplying the ticketing system, private and public, thus unable to mount a top-down PR response - or a deliberate decision to ignore the little people (on both sides of the ticket window!) Either way, they continue this at their peril.

  2. Thanks for the comments. You are correct about auto topup still being an issue, I didn't mention it because I was only talking about myki pass but of course if your auto topup fails then your pass will no longer function.

    Although not related to myki pass yes you are correct, it would be nice if an official representative from myki were able to post and respond to the myki discussion on various internet fora. We've already got @mykimate on twitter so perhaps they could spend time on the forums as well, though I'd imagine they would be limited as to what sort of issues they could discuss.

  3. I have found your site to be helpful. I have been trying to work out how to set up my Myki pass as I did not seem to have that option on the machine. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Will I be able to buy a pass at 7/11 or newsagents?

  4. Yes myki pass is sold at all retailers with a top up machine, including now 7/11.

    1. Is there a difference between a Myki Pass and Myki Topup? I just bought myself a Myki Full fare, registered it online and added a Pass and a $20 topup to it.

      Still showing the pass as inactive after 5 business days but i assume its because i need to touch on first?

  5. There's another significant con with myki passes; the inability to choose when to activate one.

    At the moment, if there's a pass waiting to activate, it will do so at the first available opportunity, regardless of whether it is the best value time to do so (eg on a weekend day ($3 cap) or in the afternoon, if you used myki money to get into the city and topped the pass up after work, for instance). Using a pass in either of these scenarios for travel works out worse than just using myki money.

    With a metcard, you could pull the monthly any chosen moment, but the pass, it chooses you - eg if you topped up online and it takes a day or two to load up - your timing can be thrown right out.

    Surely a touch-hold to activate a pass, or touch twice in 10 seconds or similar could be used to enable choice of pass activation?

    You can get around it by using two mykis - one for money, one for passes - but then you're getting back to the having multiple cards that myki was meant to help fix.

  6. I'm curious if anyone here knows the answer to this. What is the protocol if a myki reader isn't working? I've never seen this happen at a train station, but I've quite often seen it happen on a bus. Granted, ticket inspectors are rarely seen on buses with the only exception I regularly encounter being Monash Uni, where there are very frequently ticket inspectors going to and from Huntingdale. This just happens to be where I spend most of my time.

    So what should I do? In the past I've just ignored it. I had heard from people (as you do) that you're supposed to buy a metcard, but this will no longer be an option in the near future. I could take a photo of the non-functioning device with my phone, but would this hold up to an inspector?

  7. I'm trying to understand the following:
    I've an active 28 day myki pass activated yesterday, I've therefore paid my fare for the foloowing 28 days from yesterday.
    According to the myki customer care people, unless I touch on each time of travel then I don't have a valid ticket and can be fined even though I've paid my fare...

    I don't get how this works...I've paid my fare have valid active myki pass yet if I don't touch on I don't have a valid ticket and the met police can fine me :( .... Something is really wrong with this system....


  8. Well, this is not a myki problem. The same issue existed under metcard. The catch, of course, is that instead of the Authorised Officers (AOs) visually inspecting your metcard, they scan your myki. So with metcard they had no way of knowing if you had validated or not. But you were still meant to validate every time you boarded a tram or bus, or entered a train station. When I used metcard prior to myki (and I did... for ten years) I always validated my metcard, (unless of course the magnetic strip had failed... which it used to do on a regular basis!).

    Of course the intent to fare evade isn't there, after all you paid your fare. So it's up to the individual AO to interpret this.

    As far as I'm aware when AO's scan your myki the first thing the see is if it's touched on or off. They need to check another screen to see if it has a valid pass on it or not. So by not touching on you are creating more work for them. I guess it depends on if you encounter a friendly happy AO who has had a good day.

    Also, consider this... if you are using trains, by not touching on you won't be able to exit the system at city stations.

    And if you are using trams... well, it's not THAT hard to touch on every time you get on board, there are readers everywhere on most trams. If you listen for the myki beeps, you will hear far more of them than you ever heard metcards validating, which is a good thing because it means more usage stats. And remember on trams you don't need to touch off, at all.

    And if you are using buses... well, the driver will probably give you a strange look at the very least if you try to board without touching on.


Post a Comment