A Barrier to Success.

So even people who have no interesting in public transport have probably found it hard to miss the media coverage of overcrowding at city gates, Free For All:  Gates Flung Open in myki Crush is but one example, which appear to have come to a head since the removal of weekly and monthly Metcards on the 25th of March which saw a large spike in the number of myki users, from 30 percent up to perhaps 46 depending on which media story you read.

The issues are thus:
  • Some users are swiping, waving, or rubbing their cards instead of touching.  The message is slowly getting out but until it does some users will continue to have problems
  • Some users no doubt have faulty cards.  I have experienced this myself, so if it happened to me it can happent to anyone, most likely when you least expect it.
  • Gates themselves which for unexplained reasons fail to respond to even healthy cards.
Going through a "Frankenbarrier" as the hybrid myki/metcard gates have become known, should be as easy as this:

And, in fact, at least for me, most of the time that is my experience.  I rarely have problems and delays are mostly caused by those in front of me.  I have had gates fail on me, and I've had one card fail on me.  So those things do happen.  The problem is, with no myki reader screen to indicate exactly what the problem is, if the gate fails to open you are left standing there like an idiot with the possibility of a massive crowd building up behind you.  Invariably you have to step out of the way and wait for another chance to try again.  When this has happened to me I've mostly tried another gate, and joila got straight through.  

Anyway, all that is academic.  We know the Frankenbarriers are bad, and they have to go.  And some of them have to go NOW. 

We have to keep some for Metcard, but if myki is to move forward, and the public is to get any confidence in the system, dedicated myki barriers need to be installed within weeks if possible.  

According to what I've read and been told, Metcard barriers can only exist in the existing "Banks" they are in.  So for instance, at Parliament (south end) there is a huge bank, and then a smaller bank of I think three barriers off to one side on an angle.  You can't apparently replace half the metcard barriers in the main bank and then do the rest later, they ones left won't work without their mates.  Here is how I would do it (assuming it's technically possible... I can't see why not.  If someone who knows better wants to comment, go right ahead!)
  1. Replace the single barriers in Elizabeth Street Subway at Flinders Street with single Myki barriers, except for the one at the end near Southbank. 
  2. Replace the large separate gate to the left at Elizabeth Street Subway entrance with a myki gate.
  3. Replace the leftmost bank (facing inwards) at Flinders Street main entrance
  4. Move that bank to the Pokies end and replace the rest with myki barriers.
  5. Replace three gates off to one side at Parliament with myki gates.
  6. Replace the two gates next to the ticket office at Melbourne Central Swanston end with myki gates.
  7. Replace the two separate gates near the remaining Metcard Machine at Elizabeth Street end of Melb Central.
  8. Replace the entire Bank which faces out to Fairfax at Southern Cross.  In fact, do that one first, so they can report on it.
  9. Replace the smaller Bank of Barriers at Flagstaff.
Suburban gated stations probably need to be done later, but we need them in the CBD Loop stations ASAP.  


  1. "Move that bank to the Pokies end" - I don't think they'll want to move anything which will later be removed. They seem to be trying to save any money they can.

    If it were me, I'd be pretty aggressive about replacing the bulk of Metcard barriers now. Myki use is already over 50%, and probably much higher (and rising rapidly) among 9-5 commuters, so in my view it makes sense to switch most (say 75%-80%) of the gates immediately... so for example at Parliament south, I'd probably do all of them now *except* the three on the side. If it's too much for morning peak, open some (converted) gates for Metcard users only and have AOs or other stuff visually checking them.

  2. I agree with you Daniel, I'd prefer they were all gone tomorrow :) I think we can safely say, however, that going by the myki rollout so far, whichever way they do it will probably be the least sensible way possible.


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