Victoria is preparing to allow customers to pay for public transport using their Android-based smartphones.
The state government announced today that it will launch a trial of a new ‘mobile myki’ app that will utilise the Near Field Communications (NFC) capabilities of handsets.
Initially the trial, which will launch “in the coming months,” will be limited to an industry-based group of users before being thrown open to a broader group of participants later this year.
The trial is expected to conclude early next year. The government will then decide whether to permanently offer the service.
“Over the next year we will watch how the trial goes, and make sure we get the technology right before making it available for all Victorians,” said public transport minister Jacinta Allan.
The government indicated the trial might expand to support other platforms.
The myki smartcard-based ticketing system initially went live in late 2008, with support for regional buses in Geelong. Since December 2012 it has been the only valid ticket for Melbourne’s public transport.
There are more 12 million active cards myki cards, and the system processes 700 million transactions each year, according to the government.
In mid-2016 the state government revealed that system operator NTT Data had won a new seven-year, $700 million contract to run myki.
The development and implementation of the myki system was expected to take two years, but blew out to more than nine years and cost more than $550 million than anticipated.
“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 of myki 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,” the Victorian Auditor-General’s report stated.