Touching off... you don't always have to.

One of the biggest bugbears for people about myki is that you are required to touch on AND touch off, and many people see this as an afront to their humanity being forced to do something extra in their daily commute that they may not have been required to do before. But the good news is, that there are many instances where you won't need to touch off if you don't want to.

Remember, if possible it's a good idea to always touch off however (it also makes it easier to reconcile your travel history online). But here's a list of some (because I might not remember them all) of the times when you can forget about it.

myki pass.

if you have purchased a myki pass (as opposed to myki money), there are several instances where you are not required to touch off.

1. If you are only travelling in the zone/s for which your pass is valid, you will not be charged a default fare if you fail to touch off. So if you travel into the city (zone1), and back home (zone2), and that's your normal commute, then you don't have to touch off when you get home again (unless you are going through a gated station which means you'd touch off if you liked it or not).

2. If your pass is either zone 1, or 2 (but not both) then you only need to touch off if you are exiting your service in a different zone to the one you started your trip in. (eg you live in the city and travel to Blackburn, you need to touch off otherwise you are technically fare evading for the zone 2 portion of the trip).

If you get home and don't touch off in your home zone, then the next morning you will get a "default fare" message, but it will be a $0.00 amount.

If you got home, and did not touch off, and then decided you needed to go somewhere else, and you travelled by train within a couple of hours of arriving home, then you may find when you get to the station that the reader touches you off rather than on because you were still touched on from your previous journey. You then need to wait 30 seconds (the "passback" period) and then touch on again before you can travel. This ONLY applies to train, not tram or bus (though there is a very unlikely chance that you might get the same tram or bus you were on before. In this case if the reader said it touched you off then for tram the passback period is 5 seconds, and for bus the passback period is 15 seconds).

A touch on will always clear overnight however.

myki money.

if you use myki money rather than myki pass, there are still times where you don't need to touch off.

If your regular daily commute is zone 1-2, then you are already paying the fully myki money fare ($11.08 as of Jan 1 2012) so you aren't going to be charged any extra if you don't touch off. So say you travelled from Bonbeach to Toorak each day and didn't touch off at Toorak. When you touch on in the afternoon to go home, you will be charged a default fare the same as if you had touched off in the morning. If you then go home and don't touch off, you will be charged a default fare the next morning when you touch on, but it would still only add up to the full daily amounts mentioned above. So you aren't losing anything by not touching off. This rule applies regardless of what modes you use.

If you regularly travel at the weekend, then the most you will be charged is $3.30 to travel anywhere in zones 1 & 2. So say you went into a different zone to do some shopping or something, and stayed there for a few hours, it's not going to hurt you to not touch off, because you will only be charged the $3.30 daily weekend cap anyway. The same rule applies on public holidays.

If you are only travelling in one zone, and change modes, then you don't really need to touch off. So say you catch a train from Frankston to Moorabbin, and then switch to a bus. There's no need to touch off because you wouldn't get charged a default fare unless more than 2 or 3 hours had passed between the touches. You will still get a default fare message when you touch on, but it will be $0.00.

If you travel by tram, then if you are only travelling in zone 1 there is no need to touch off since the default fare on a tram is a zone 1 fare only (zone 2 was abolished on trams). If you travel in the zone 1/2 overlap which only exists on routes 75, 86 and 109, you would still need to touch off to get the cheapest fare.

I'm pretty sure those are the main circumstances when touching off is not required. There may be others and if so I'll add them in the comments.

A few points to note:

At gated stations you will always be touching off anyway, unless there is some problem with readers or your card.

If Authorised Officers are at your station when you arrive, it's probably a good idea to touch off ;-) Then you can't be accused of doing anything wrong.

Remember, with myki money you only need $0.01 on your card to travel. When you touch off at the other end you will go into a negative balance and won't be able to touch on again until you go at least $0.01 in credit. If you don't touch off you will be charged a default fare next time you touch on, and then will be declined until you top up again.

Remember, with myki pass if you travel into a zone for which your pass is not valid, and you touch off you may go negative. I would suggest you always keep the equivalent of a 2 hour fare in the zone for which your pass is not valid on your card, just in case.

If you are planning to travel again within a couple of hours of failing to touch off, you will need to touch off and then on again before you can travel again. So probably best just to touch off anyway in the first place.

And remember the one MAIN rule... you should ALWAYS TOUCH ON.

Hopefully this all makes sense. I know some people will say "this is all terribly complicated, why should I have to remember any of this?" and the answer is you don't. Simply remember to touch on and off for every trip and you will be fine. But if you really want to avoid doing something extra, then learn the rules and off you go :)

EDIT 23/5/2012 updated pricing mentioned in post to reflect current pricing.


  1. Heh, this is similar to an old post of mine - but it's good to get it more widely known.

    "currently $9.92, or $10.20 from March 12 2011 for full fare" - that's a daily fare; remembering that default fares are based on the 2-hour fare.

    "If you are only travelling in one zone, and change modes, then you don't really need to touch off. So say you catch a train from Frankston to Moorabbin, and then switch to a bus. There's no need to touch off because you wouldn't get charged a default fare unless more than 2 or 3 hours had passed between the touches." - I'm not sure I'd trust the system on this. Has it been tested? How does it know you didn't travel through Z1 on the tram and get on a completely different Z2 bus?

  2. I've found that this isn't strictly true the hard way. I typically travel only in zone 1, and use a pass since I commute daily and use transport at least one day over the weekend. I also have money loaded as I can be forgetful about when my pass expires, and I work night shift a lot of the time, so my pass may be good going to work and expired on the way home. My commute to work typically involves a 55 tram and then a bus, any of the 905/6/7/8 that run on Lonsdale. All of these busses travel into zone 2, and I've consistently found that if I don't touch off (even though I get off just past St. Vincent's Plaza), my money mysteriously goes down for the cost of a zone 2 2-hour.

  3. A few days ago, I unfortunately purchased a new Myki Money card. I touched on a bus at Moorabbin (zone 2) and got off in the same suburb, just down the road. That was the only time I travelled...BUT I COMPLETELY FORGOT to touch off! I logged into my Myki account as soon as I got home and remembered about not touching off, which still stated that nothing had been deducted from Myki Money. What I'd like to know is, what's going to happen the next time I touch on, which won't be for the next couple of days? Am I going to be charged the past few days since I forgot to touch off? :o Help!

  4. Your bus travel wouldn't have shown up the same day on the myki website, it probably would take until the next day. If you looked now all that would show is the touch on aboard the bus, and your balance would be unaffected since you don't get charged til you touch off (and you didn't).

    At the present time, if you don't touch off on buses, and you are travelling in the same zone, you don't need to touch off, and you won't get charged any extra. So when you next touch on you'll get a default fare for that trip you took in Moorabbin of $2.26 (or $1.13 if you're concession).

    So no need to panic :) You should be fine.


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