Meet the deceptive myki gate

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.

'Validator disabled. Direction blocked' message incorrectly displayed with a green 'proceed' arrow

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?

More passengers confused by the proceed arrow and disabled validator combination

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’.

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3 Responses to “Meet the deceptive myki gate”

  1. Dave says:

    It’s been a common problem at Parliament station. Doesn’t seem to get noticed quickly by staff, despite the constant disruption of ‘rejected’ commuters trying to get into the line for adjacent gates.

    Haven’t noticed it so much in recent weeks, but the extra-wide gates seem to have been out of service a lot, and seem susceptible to fare evaders pushing on the paddles to just get them to snap open.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      In peak times, the barrier staff would presumably be so busy that dealing with passenger queries that they wouldn’t have enough time to see that the rest of the gates are working as expected.

      Also, if myki was a reliable ticketing system, the only reason for a passenger getting stuck at the gates would be due to them doing something wrong. Having a ticket gate displaying mixed messages shouldn’t happen!

  2. […] indications are also deceptive when the Myki gate develops a fault, displaying the ‘go’ indication on the approach, but the ticker reader isn’t […]

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