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MyZone ticketing: Easier and Simpler? NOT QUITE

Submitted by on May 11, 2010 – 1:47 pm6 Comments

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a university student in possession of a meagre income must be in want of cheaper and simpler public transportation fares. This is why students had high hopes ahead of the NSW Government’s implementation of the new MyZone “fairer, simpler and easier” fare structure on 18 April.

Sadly, they’ll need to include expert travel planning in their courses in order to get the best value out of their MyZone fares. This new system intended to simplify fares by  collapsing 20 rail fare bands to 5, offering 3 bus fare bands instead of 5, only 2 ferry bands instead of 5, and adding the almighty MyMulti – ‘all you can travel’ pass.

But according to Dr Rhonda Daniels, Senior Research Analyst, Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at University of Sydney, how you travel will also influence whether or not you will benefit or be worse off under the MyZone scheme.

Although fares have dropped if you are a bus user from section 10 and above,  if you transfer to a ferry as part of your journey, ferry fares have increased – at least if you are travelling beyond 9 kilometres to and from central Sydney.

Chris Loader, author of Charting Transport blog took the time and effort to compare the different fare structures and bands across modes of travel. He came up with the following analysis:

•    For single fares, buses are cheaper for travel under 2 kilometres and over 35 kilometres (but your travel time will increase if you just stay on the bus and not transfer)
•    For weekly fares, get a MyMulti if you use buses 14 times a week but only if you’re travelling between 5-35 kilometres.
•    For yearly fares, if you travel on a MyTrain ticket and avoid buses, you’ll save money on most travel distances. Also, the MyMulti is better value on buses when travelling 11-14 trips per week for more than 2 kilometres or for 5-10kilometres if travelling 10 times a week.

Confused much? And this does not include the additional cost of transfers should you get off at your usual train station and transfer by bus to your destination!

So my fellow students, although we have the benefit of our concessions – get out your spreadsheets , maps and calculators to work out the best deal for you.

Sounds like too much hard work? Well, best we can do is just walk to our intended destination and perhaps that is the hidden objective of the new MyZone system – to get users to abandon public transport altogether

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6 Comments »

  • Vesna Zigic says:

    Interesting article May, this new ticketing system seems more complicated than easy. Originally I thought that they were introducing a prepaid card that you could top up. London has this system, where you buy an ‘oyster card’ and just top it up whenever your transport credit runs low with cash or via your debit/credit card in many booths available at stations. Perhaps a similar system should be introduced here? Just a suggestion.

  • Jolie Chantharath says:

    MyZone sounds confusing when it was designed to make things easier.
    I don’t bother with catching a train to uni anymore. There aren’t enough trains available and not worth the price we pay even as a student.
    I’d rather pay for petrol and parking.
    Though I guess the system suits some people like you’ve pointed out and not everyone can save money.
    Maybe Sydney trains should have a flat rate like NYC trains do

  • Seraphin Petin says:

    Sydney is trying to discourage car use, which is a positive step against green house gases, but meanwhile they increase the price of their ticket system (at least for my case).

    I commute from Gladesville to Sydney UNI everyday. I have to take 4 buses per day. Result: the only card that I can take is the weekly yellow one costing $40 which is $5 more than the previous card for the exactly same services! Thus, when I will leave in June I will have increase my transport expenses by $60 (5×12 weeks) for … nothing more. Moreover, as an international student, I can’t benefit from the transport concession.

    Time is really coming that the state government thinks about what it wants: discourage car use, encourage cycling, encourage public transports or ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO STAY AT HOME BECAUSE NOTHING WORK ADEQUATELY TOGETHER !!

  • Shahirah Mohamed Ansari says:

    I think both Vesna and Julie offer very good suggestions.

    Sydney should adopt a prepaid card system. Not only will it save a LOT of paper, it’s also extremely convenient for regular commuters. Implementing it will involve quite a fair bit of funds (installing card readers and turnstiles) but I think it will go a long way in preventing fare evasion.

    Having a flat rate is a good idea, but can be disadvantageous to commuters who only travel short distances.

  • May Ho says:

    Vesna – great point and I am familiar with the Oyster card system which adapted would streamline Sydney’s public transportation in a more efficient and cost effective way.

    According to my sources, the electronic ticketing system has been in planning stages since 5 years ago but there appears to be a problem with appointing a suitable contractor to fit in the new electronic system.

    Seems to me the NSW Govt prefers a band-aid solution to the many problems faced by students and users rather than truly invest in a properly planned and integrated efficient and cost effective public transportation system.

  • Nina-Cathrin Trunk says:

    May, I totally agree with you and made similarly experiences as a daily passenger of Sydney’s public transportation system. For me, the new fare structure is both confusing and annoying.

    But I got even more upset on the current fare system when I read your lines “Although we have the benefits of our concessions”, because… No, we don’t!

    International students still have to pay full ticket prices!

    Given the fact that we already pay higher fees for the same academic services, we at least deserve the same public transport concessions as domestic students.

    Over the long run, Australia’s $15 billion education industry depends it!

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