Myki gates: weren’t they supposed to be better?

Myki: a few months ago the queues to exit Melbourne’s railway stations each morning grew to colossal lengths because of the exceeding slow ‘Frankbarriers’ that commuters needed to pass through. The solution promised to us was the rollout of proper Myki ticket barriers, that give passengers audible and visible notifications of their touch on and touch off.

Over at Flagstaff Station the changeover was made on the weekend of October 12, when the main bank of Metcard barriers were replaced with a bank of Myki gates.

Metcard barriers at Flagstaff station ready to be removed

The new gates didn’t survive very long in service: by October 18 the complete gate array went down in the middle of afternoon peak, requiring intending passengers to enter the station via the overflow readers, or the remaining pair of Metcard gates.

Bytecraft technician trying to repair faulty Myki barriers at Flagstaff station

Failures continued to plague the gates, with the morning of October 31 seeing a defective Myki gate requiring a technician with a laptop to fiddle around with the insides.

Two weeks after being installed, a technician attends to a defective Myki gate at Flagstaff station

However the worst failure so far was on November 7, when the entire gate array went down in the middle of morning peak.

Middle of morning peak, the Myki gates at Flagstaff station are completely dead

With increasing numbers of passengers unable to leave the station, the queues to exit backed up past the escalators.

Queues to exit Flagstaff station back up past the escalators

I was at the station for around 5 minutes with the gates being down the entire time, but the failure appeared to have lasted much longer: former PTUA president Daniel Bowen tweeted the following at 9:05am:

So the cause of the problem – supposedly software issues are the blame, but there hasn’t been any official statements regarding this. Whatever the issue, the first Myki gates entered service two years ago, so the bugs should have been worked out now.

These frequent breakdowns seem to be making a mockery of this statement by Bernie Carolan, chief executive officer of the Transport Ticketing Authority:

“The new myki gates will provide a better experience for passengers at gated stations.”

Footnote

The first Myki gates were installed at Parliament Station in October 2010 for field testing and went live to the public a few days after, while a full sized bank of Myki gates went live at Melbourne Central Station in January 2011.

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One Response to “Myki gates: weren’t they supposed to be better?”

  1. [...] I did some data collection of my own (on a day where the gates were working as normal – not broken down and needing technical assistance):Cycle time of #Myki barriers at Flagstaff station is somewhere between 1.6 and 3 seconds. [...]

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