Polishing a turd – PTV is rebranding Myki

If you know anything about public transport in Melbourne, you know the go to solution for ‘fixing’ any issue is spending big dollars on a rebranding – a classic case of fire and motion, or to put it less poetically – polishing a turd.

We are currently 18 months into the replacement of ‘Metlink’ logos with brand new ‘Public Transport Victoria’ ones all across the network, yet those in charge have decided to fiddle with something even more pointless – the brand identity of Melbourne’s biggest dog – myki.

Myki 'Melbourne Install Manager' starting up

The history of the Myki brand

Work on introducing a smartcard ticking system to Melbourne’s public transport network commenced in July 2004, when the newly established Transport Ticketing Authority opened a tender for a ‘New Ticketing Solution’, but it took until September 2006 for the ‘myki’ name to be officially announced by then Transport Minister Peter Batchelor.

Early advertising for Myki featured the same lime and blue colours that are familiar today.

Half page myki rollout ad in the Geelong Advertiser - March 7 2009

The same colours also being used as Myki was rolled out across the network.

Myki Discovery Centre at Southern Cross reopened

In the years since ‘myki blue’ has become the focus of transport ticketing related advertising.

Out of date 'Always touch off to pay the lowest fare' sticker onboard a tram

As has the green myki logo, with the stupid little ‘door’ icon in the middle.

Myki branding as featured on the 2013 version of the Yarra Trams network map onboard trams

Dismantling the brand

The first signs of change came in April 2012 when the first parts of the myki empire were subsumed into the rest of Public Transport Victoria. The first casualty was the dedicated 13 myki phone number, which was redirected to the general public transport information hotline at 1800 800 007.

A few months later, a much larger change occurred in the background, when in January 2013 the functions of the Transport Ticketing Authority, previously the government authority responsible for myki, was rolled into Public Transport Victoria.

This was followed in May 2013 by the integration of the standalone http://www.myki.com.au/ website with the main PTV website.

Over the coming weeks you will notice some changes as the myki website progressively moves to the Public Transport Victoria website.

We’ve already updated myki management forms to include the PTV website and call centre number.

And we’ve just replaced all references to the myki call centre number with the PTV call centre number (1800 800 007) on the myki website, but because cards last for four years, your myki card will continue to carry the 13 6954 number for a while. There’s no need to worry. If you call the myki call centre number you will continue to be diverted to the PTV call centre.

We are also in the process of moving to a single myki card design which will allow us to add PTV information to all new cards produced in the future. These cards are expected to be available later this year.

The next stage of the transfer includes updating all auto reply emails with PTV information, as well as carrier letters that accompany the new or replacement myki sent to you in the post.

We would like to thank all customers for their patience while these changes are made.

As for the final part of myki rebranding, it appears to have slipped through with little fanfare, as new signage is introduced across the network.

I first spotted a more subtle use of the myki brand onboard trams.

New PTV branded Myki information onboard trams

As well as on top of ticket machines.

'You'll never wait in line with Myki auto top up' advertisement, sitting atop a CVM

And in newspaper advertisements.

'Did you know myki cards expire?' advertisement featuring the new Myki branding

It turns out the new, more suble myki logo dates back to at least October 2013, having been outed by Sydney-based journalist Tim Lince (@timlince), who runs http://tmwatch.net/ – a blog monitoring Australian trade mark developments.

Copyright application for the rebranding of Myki - dated October 2013

My question is – how much is Public Transport Victoria going to spend on rebranding every myki machine across Victoria, and how long until this new myki identity gets dumped in an attempt to cover up the smell?


July 2016 – an update

It took until July 2016 for the ticket machines to be rebranded – thanks to some new stickers.

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9 Responses to “Polishing a turd – PTV is rebranding Myki”

  1. Simon Russell says:

    PTV’s main purpose seems to be rebranding; there doesn’t seem to be much else going on.

    I just wish they’d spent a little more time designing a decent logo (and colour scheme) for PTV.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      If one audited PTV’s books without knowing what their corporate mission was, then ‘front for an organised crime run signage manufacturing company’ would be a plausible answer.

  2. Somebody says:

    Witnessed a new TV commercial for Myki being filmed at my local station recently – why do they need to keep marketing something that is already the only choice for virtually all of it’s potential users?

    Though it is amusing watching a film crew continually re-shooting a scene involving someone touching on at a Myki reader whilst walking with actors pretending to be fellow passengers standing around.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      I wonder if the reason for the repeated re-shoots of the Myki scanner was due to the response time being too slow?

      As for TV commercials, you could argue that the “Use auto topup and never wait in line” and “Touch, don’t swipe your card” campaigns served a purpose.

      On the other hand, neither would be necessary if auto topup was reliable enough for the average person to trust, if in person top up options were available for tram passengers, and response time for myki readers were anything less than glacial.

  3. Dave says:

    Slightly OT, but I can’t resist. I have noticed the new public transport logo – PT>. What are they trying to say? Public transport is greater than what? Nothing? Not much of a boast.

  4. […] When repainting things Public Transport Victoria walks a fine line between polishing turds and keeping things fit for purpose – at least this time the work wasn’t an attempt to distract the public. […]

  5. […] As you might expect, having to keep four different types of card in stock was a logistical pain, so in May 2013 it was decided to move to a single card design, as part of a larger rebrand of Myki. […]

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