The other night I was heading home via Southern Cross Station, when I was stopped in my tracks at the myki gates. I’m used to finding useless error messages displayed on myki readers, but this one sets a new standard for deception.
Each myki gate has two forms of feedback to the passenger: the myki reader itself, and a direction indicator which shows a a green arrow if the gate is operational, or a red cross when it is closed. In the above case the gate had somehow become confused, displaying the ‘go’ indication on the approach, but the myki reader was showing a ‘Validator disabled. Direction blocked’ message, preventing passengers from passing through.
In normal operation each myki gate in the array can be configured by staff in three ways – bidirectional, inbound only, or outbound only. The first state is only used at quieter times when conflicts between oncoming passengers are less likely, while a mix of inbound and outbound gates are used in peak times to keep the conflicting passenger streams apart.
So how badly can you confuse passengers when you show them a green ‘go’ arrow, but cockblock them at the myki reader?
Here it is in video form.
In one minute I counted eleven passengers caught out by the deceptive gate, and two near collisions!
A year ago I found a similar fault situation on another gate – the myki reader had died, but the indicator below was still at ‘proceed’.