Dear Ted, please don't scrap it.

Here's my public transport story.

In March 2007 I sold my car, and have not owned one since, so almost four years now. I use public transport in Melbourne almost every day (mainly Train and Tram, though sometimes I do use the odd bus).

So naturally I was interested in myki and was hanging out for it to arrive, as it was mostly going to make things easier for me.

It failed me on the very first day, when I touched off at Flinders Street Station the barrier didn't let me through (although I later confirmed that it HAD touched me off, so I wasn't overcharged). This was probably due to me "swiping" rather than "touching", a skill I soon learned, and now it would appear many others have as well. Apparently 75000 people are using myki on a daily basis from the last statitistics I heard, so not an insignificant number.

I've had small issues with the dreaded Frankenbarriers ever since... though probably no more than I did with Metcard, which used to fail me at least two or three times a year, regardless of how well I treated the card, or one validator which would read my metcard and another one which wouldn't. Both systems have their issues.

Even during the period of Train only myki use, I used myki on trams and buses and where the readers were working I mostly had no problems.

I touch on (and mostly off) on every trip. I've never held up a doorway for anybody on a crowded tram. Even with Metcard I always validated my metcard when boarding a tram, after all it's in the rules. There are far more readers per tram than there ever were with metcard.

My myki lives in my wallet and rarely leaves it. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen metcard users juggling various metcards, missing a train while waiting for a metcard to validate. When it works (which it does 99% of the time) myki is quicker.

There have been other problems, and these need to be solved: Buses (which I don't use) seem to have the most complaints associated with them, readers out of order or slow to respond. Online Topup not reaching tram and bus readers within the 24 hour period (it does appear to mostly work well on train station readers and machines). It would be great if it was on Vline as this is going to save people who live in Melbourne and want to travel out into the country a substantial amount of money, and also the convenience of not having to buy a ticket, simply top up your myki and go. Also many PT related staff appear to have only been given rudimentary training and have little or no interaction with the system in it's current "headless mode".

Yes sure there are niggles, but it works far better than much of the media would have us believe. As far as functionality goes, I think it would be a great shame if the system is dumped completely, but I'm personally hoping this doesn't happen (at the very least it will annoy me as I've just bought a yearly myki pass).

Of course with myki there's the other far more talked about issue which I have rarely touched on, and that is the cost of the system, and the length of time it has taken to get it up and running.

I'm not really an expert on the pricing of the system, though I know a bit of course. From what I've read and heard, Myki will cost $1.35 Billion over ten years. (I'm happy to be corrected on this point). Some of this is to install and commission the system, and then a cost per year to run it. At the moment, this is costing even more because metcard is still being run in tandem. When in a perfect rollout metcard would have been long gone by now.

That in itself has been one of the major issues with the system: The previous government treading on eggshells, meaning the rollout is far less advanced than it could have been. Even once Trams and buses came online in July last year, much more could have happened in the meantime but the government were to scared to do anything prior to an election, or at least that's how it looks to me.

Was it worth the money? Well, as much as people seem to love to answer this question, the point is really moot. The money has been spent. The machines are installed, and people are using it. People can argue until the cows come home (and they do) on if it was worth it or not, and what else the money could have been spent on instead, but the fact is the money is gone and there is probably no getting it back. myki is at least partially to blame for Mr Brumby and his government being kicked out of office, so I leave you to draw your own conclusion.

The challenge of course now is for the new government to take what they've been given and run with it. As mentioned by Mr Baillieu today, they have three options. Dump it, modify it, proceed the way it is. None of these will be cheap, and if they do dump it, what then? Metcard isn't going to last forever. If they dump it and replace it with something else, well that's only going to cost even more. By far, I would imagine, the cheapest option would probably be to simply continue forward as planned. I would imagine that what will actually occur is some cost saving modifications will be made and the rollout will then proceed.

There are savings to be made. Short Term Tickets (yet to be made available in Melbourne), the option for those using the system that don't have a "proper" myki card, could be dumped, and casual users of the system issued with tickets printed on Thermal paper instead. One would hope this modification could be made very easily to the system, and would also encourage take up of the actual myki cards themselves. That is but one possible option of course, I'm sure there are many others on the table.

I would hope that our new government are clever enough to work with what they have been given (which really isn't that bad if you spend more than a cursory moment examining it, and even better if you actually make an effort and give it a go) and make this system into what it should be. We're very nearly there, more people are using it each day and finding it's really not the evil creature some people portray it as.