You don't need to touch off any more!!! (mostly)

Short, hopefully simple version:
In Metropolitan Melbourne zones 1 and 2, the only times you need to touch OFF are:
  • If you are travelling entirely within zone 2
  • If you need to travel again, on a train, within two hours of your last touch ON
  • If you are exiting at a gated station where you will obviously have no choice but to touch OFF.
  • If there are Ticket Inspectors standing there expecting you to touch OFF.
IF your last trip of the day starts in zone 1, you DON'T NEED TO TOUCH OFF when exiting your Station, Tram, or Bus.

Long, Boring Version:
Yeah, I know.  You don't trust myki and so you'd rather touch OFF.  But you really don't need to, particularly if any part of your trip is in zone 1.  Most of the time.  (It's always something with myki, isn't it.  It's never just a simple yes or no, is it).

The olden days.  They weren't that long ago.

In the olden days (eg prior to January 1 2015), if you were travelling on myki money, and you didn't touch OFF, you would be charged a default fare of up to $6.06.  This meant, if you were only travelling in zone 1, that you would also be charged as if you'd gone into zone 2, unless you touched off.

However since January 1, the maximum you can be charged for a 2 hour trip in zone 1+2 is $3.76, or $7.52 for a daily fare.

So if you forget to touch OFF, you won't get charged any more than $3.76 the next time you touch ON.  You'll still pay exactly the same amount, regardless of if you touch OFF now, or later when you touch ON.

As mentioned above, the only times you need to touch OFF are:

Not sure why this is relevant

If you are travelling entirely within zone 2.  A zone 2 fare is only $2.60.  So you can travel from Sunbury to Diggers Rest and as long as you touch OFF, you will only be charged $2.60.  If you don't touch OFF within two hours, next time you touch ON you will be charged a 2 hour Fare of $3.76.  This might actually be fine if you are then going into zone 1, and coming back more than two hours later.  But if you are only travelling in Zone 2, then to save yourself some cash, touch OFF.

If you need to travel again on a train, within two hours of your last touch ON.
So say I touch ON at 5PM at Melbourne Central.  I arrive at Hawthorn a 5:15 and don't touch OFF. Then at 6 I decide I need to go to Glenferrie for some Groceries.  If I go to the station and touch my card to the reader, the reader will actually touch me OFF rather than ON because it's less than 2 hours since I touched ON.  If I then went to Glenferrie I wouldn't be able to exit the gates and if there were Ticket Inspectors there, I could well risk a fine, because I'm not touched ON.

So if you don't touch OFF and then find you need to travel again, what you actually need to do is touch OFF, wait 30 seconds (this is called the "passback" period) and then you will be able to touch ON.

Personally I still touch OFF sometimes if I think I'm going to travel again.  But if I'm coming home and have no intention of going out again, I never touch OFF.

The same rule applies to individual Trams and Buses.  If you get on a particular tram, don't touch OFF and then board that same tram again (I've accidentally done this several times), you will actually be touching OFF instead of ON.  This was a problem prior to the zoning change and is still one now.  The only difference with Trains is that the PASSBACK period mentioned above is 5 seconds on a Tram, and 15 seconds on a Bus.

If you are exiting at a gated station where you will obviously have no choice but to touch OFF.

You could always leap them but that's not at all graceful.

Fairly self explanatory, but if you told people they didn't need to touch OFF, at least some of them are likely to mill around inside the gates going "But how do I get out, without touching OFF?"

If there are Ticket Inspectors standing there expecting you to touch OFF.
You may well have noticed, like me, that Ticket Inspectors at Stations don't even pay you any attention any more unless something goes wrong with your myki.  In the olden days of Metcard, they had to look at your Ticket at ungated stations to check it had a valid date.  Now all they need to do is see you touching OFF and hear the sound that the reader makes.  If you just walk through without doing that, they're probably going to want to know why.  Personally even though I don't touch OFF most of the time, if there are Inspectors there, I just touch OFF.  It's simply common sense.  Of course they may still want to look at your card and scan it with their Hand Held myki readers.  Enjoy the interaction with cool 2007 technology,  and then head home.

Some things to note:

Vline Zones 3 and above
All of this only applies in Zones 1+2.  If you are travelling further afield on Vline Regional Commuter Services and using myki, you should definitely touch OFF.  Sorry folks, but our cool benefits in the big smoke don't apply to you.

The fares I've quoted are Full Adult Fares.  You can work out your own concession Fares, I'm not doing all the hard work :) Plus Seniors and Full time Students of various types get other perks that the rest of us don't get, and besides most of the time I never see students touching ON or OFF anyway.

ALWAYS touch ON!
Hopefully this goes with out saying, but you should ALWAYS touch ON each time you:

  • Enter the paid area of a Metropolitan Train Station
  • Board a tram (except in the rather marvellous new FREE TRAM ZONE which I won't go into here)
  • Board a bus
Confirm your Touch on by listening for the sound and viewing the message on the screen.  I've heard so many times where people thought they were touched on but didn't confirm it and then were later fined.  Regardless of how crappy myki is, you are the one responsible for making sure you are touched ON.

EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that if there is a month where Metro is due to pay compensation to myki pass users due to poor performance that they can refuse to do so if you fail to touch off.  However as far as I'm aware, this rule only applies if you NEVER touch off... so, for instance, if you travel into the city and touch off at gates, and then return home at night and don't touch off, it shouldn't matter since it's quite obvious you actually made a trip.  I'm yet to hear of a case where this has actually been challenged by someone.  Of course Metro has gotten away with not paying compensation for quite some time due to the skipping stations policy.  Who knows when this might become an issue again.