Saturday, April 7, 2012

Myki swipes $12 million from commuters

The Transport Ticketing Authority is reaping hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest from money stored on passenger's myki cards, a windfall set to balloon as Metcards are phased out.

As commuter frustration mounts over smartcard barrier crushes at train stations, myki millions are flowing smoothly into the authority's operating budget - but how the money will be spent remains a mystery.

About $12 million of myki money is currently stored on the smartcards - more than double the amount held on the cards nine months ago, and 10 times that stored in myki accounts three years ago.

Last financial year the Transport Ticketing Authority earned $150,000 in interest from money stored on commuters' cards, and current figures show just 46 per cent of ticket validations are conducted with myki.

"Any interest earned will be used by the TTA to support the cost of myki operations," the authority's chief executive Bernie Carolan said.

But so far, the authority has provided no breakdown of the expenditure. A spokesman said it was "not possible to specify exactly what [myki operations] it pays for".

Myki money is held in a Transport Ticketing Authority bank account, which collected an interest rate of 4.57 per cent last financial year.

The authority has not responded to questions about where the account is held and why the interest rate appears so low. Banks are currently offering about 5.5% interest on one-year term deposits.

Mr Carolan said the situation was not that different from Metcards.

"For example, people may purchase a 5 x daily ticket and cash is immediately paid, even though the trips may not be made for some weeks or months."

But as people have moved away from carrying coins and notes to storing value on their myki card, passenger money held in the authority's bank account has increased.

When a passenger touches on with myki money, it triggers a transfer and the cash is split between the various companies involved in public transport provision, as well as the Department of Transport.

Myki pass top-ups are immediately distributed to public transport providers in the same way as weekly and monthly Metcards.

In the 2009-10 financial year $1.1 million of myki cardholder funds were held in the authority's bank account.

As at June 30 last year there was $4.8 million of cardholder funds stored in their account.

The Transport Ticketing Authority is the state body responsible for managing the myki ticket system and the phasing out of Metcards.

It works with public transport operators, including the Department of Transport and private operator Metro, to ensure "a smooth introduction" of the myki ticket system.

Kamco is the private company that was contracted by the former Brumby government in 2005 to create myki. 5 Apr 2012

Another money for mates scam that should have has the people involved in the project sacked.

Taxpayer funds wasted on a faulty non operational system that is behind the rest of the world.

Australia is truly an over governed backwards country .

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