Zone 1 Pass holders from 2014, rejoice :)

PTV released it's FAQ for the new 2015 Fare Structure sometime last year.  At that time, there was a glaring omission.

There was lots of talk about the new Free Tram Zone, and also the fact that any travel across both Zones 1 and 2 would now only attract a Zone 1 Fare.

But there was one thing missing, which actually affects a lot of people.  It didn't specify what would happen if you had a zone 1 pass which would expire in 2015.  One might guess that it would now cover travel into zone 2 at no extra cost, but it's always nice to get this stuff in writing.

In fact, the only mention of Zone One passes was this:

Zone 1 travellers only 

32. I live in Zone 1, how will these fare changes benefit me? 
From 1 January 2015, you will be able to travel in Zones 1 and 2, for the same price as a Zone 1 fare.
If you live in Zone 1, you will be able to travel across Zones 1 and 2 for the price of a Zone 1 fare, saving almost $2.50 (2014 prices) for a two hour full fare and almost $5 (2014 prices) for a daily fare.
If you travel with a myki pass, Zone 1 passes will no longer be sold. All myki passes will be a Zone 1+2 pass, providing travel across both zones for the price of a Zone 1 pass.
This will make it cheaper for people in Zone 1 to travel across the entire metropolitan network.

It didn't say if a zone 1 pass purchased in 2014 would also cover and include travel into zone 2.  So I asked @mykimate on twitter, and go this response which put my mind at ease somewhat:


But why didn't they then put this in the FAQ?  People could potentially save a lot of money.  For instance I purchased my Commuter club Yearly from the PTUA, which cost me $1300.  This is $201.50 saving from the retail price of a 2015 pass bought at a myki machine ($1501.50).

I guess PTV's job isn't to teach people how to save money.

Or, could there be some other reason why they didn't want people to have a zone 1 only pass, and instead encouraged them to wait until 2015 to buy a new z1+2 pass at the now cheaper price?

So on New Years Day I activated my new Zone 1 only (but valid in zones 1+2) 365 Day Myki pass.

This is my first travel of 2015 under the new Fare Structure, on a public holiday at the Holiday cap rate of $6.00 per day max across zones 1+2.  I'm travelling on an old z1 pass, but, as explained by mykimate above, it's valid for travel into zone 2.

As you can see I went from Hawthorn to Westall (with a quick stop in Richmond).  

When I returned from Westall, more than 2 hours later, I was surprised, delighted, but confused, to find I suddenly had $1.52 myki money credit on my card.  Why?

As pointed out by Daniel Bowen, it boils down to this rule from the Myki Fares and Ticketing Manual:

Where a product already exists on a customer’s myki (a 2 hour product, Daily product or a myki pass) that is valid for a zone(s) and the customer makes a journey that consists of, or includes, travel in a zone(s) for which the existing product is not valid, the fare for the journey is the 2 hour fare for all zones for which the existing product is valid combined with the zone(s) for which the existing product is not valid minus the 2 hour fare for all zones for which the existing product is valid.

Now we might need Stephen Hawking himself to interpret this, so, let's break it down and apply it to my situation:

I have a zone 1 myki pass product on my myki.

When I travel into zone 2, I get a separate zone 1+2 fare product created on my card when I touch off in zone 2.  However this expires 2 hours after the touch on for the trip that ended in zone 2 (you can see in the history above I touched on at Richmond at 13:25, and then touched back on at Westall at 15:38, more than 2 hours later).

When I got back to Melbourne Central at 16:17, it changes my z1+2 2 hour fare to a z1+2 daily fare.

A Z1+2 daily fare is $7.52 in 2015, but the weekend Cap is only $6.00.  So, myki, following the rule set above, gives me a credit of $1.52.

Yep, I know, believe me it does make sense.  Once you sit there and stare at it long enough.

BUT the bigger revelation is this:  If you buy a z1+2 pass in 2015, this won't happen for you.  You won't get that credit.  Because your card already has a fare product on it that covers both zones, you won't get an extra one added, and it won't even do that calculation.

So anyone who bought a z1 pass prior to the end of 2014, especially those who live in zone 2, and who travel into zone 1 on weekends, could potentially get $1.52 per Saturday and Sunday, as well as public holidays.  That adds up to a nice myki money balance of more than $150 at the end of the year, which you could put towards another myki pass into 2016, or you could even buy a pass for someone else and load it onto another card.

So my $1300 myki pass could potentially end up only costing me $1150 or so.

I've done this three times now and so far have $4.56 credit on my card.

Of course, the obvious question is, am I going to waste my time travelling out to zone 2 on weekends for $1.52 per day?  (I should point out if not already obvious that this doesn't work on weekdays).   Well, probably not every Saturday or Sunday, and probably not even every weekend.  But hey, I can see myself heading into zone 2 a lot more this year than before.

And for the rest of you who didn't buy a zone 1 pass in 2014... whoops.  Sorry.

EDIT: In a nested Loop of Blogposts, Daniel Bowen has also blogged about this and his explanation is probably easier to understand than mine :)