The current operator of Victoria’s myki smartcard ticketing system, NTT Data, has won a new contract to run the system for another seven years.
The state government said that the contract — worth $700 million — includes “stronger performance requirements”.
The new contract term begins on 1 January 2017.
The government revealed last year that NTT Data, Accenture, and Cubic Transportation Systems had been shortlisted for the new contract.
Victoria in 2005 entered the initial contract to develop and operate myki, with the aim of having the system up and running by 2007. However, the design and implementation timeline stretched out from the initial estimate of two years to over nine years, resulting in a $550 million budget blowout.
“The implementation of myki experienced significant delays and related cost increases, due largely to deficiencies in the original contract and governance arrangements,” a 2015 audit found.
“This has resulted in a poor outcome for Victoria’s public transport system and users, which has compromised achievement of myki’s original business case objectives and related benefits,” stated the report from the Victorian Auditor-General.
The capital and operating budget for myki until 2016 had grown from $999 million to $1.55 billion, the report noted.
In addition to the issues involving the rollout, the system received a poor response, the report added.
“There were a number of implementation issues with myki—including slow card reader response times, intermittent technical failures particularly on trams and buses, and concerns with the accuracy of data for measuring patronage,” it stated.
“The Public Transport Ombudsman received over 5 450 complaints about myki between July 2010 and June 2014. Most of the issues raised were associated with account charges and refunds and reimbursements.”
The myki system comprises more than 25,000 devices installed at train stations and on trams and buses. More than 1 million myki transactions are conducted per day.
The state government today said it would begin investigating the potential to rollout new technology for the ticketing system, including allowing passengers to pay fares using their credit card or smartphone.
“This is a stronger contract that provides a better deal for Victoria and paves the way for major improvements to myki,” Victoria’s public transport minister, Jacinta Allan, said.
“It provides stronger performance requirements and will deliver better value for money by ensuring any unanticipated costs are borne by the operator – not taxpayers.“We’ve made major upgrades to myki and work on the next generation of improvements starts today – looking at the latest technology to make it quicker and easier to top up, touch on and get where you need to go.”