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Category Archives: MykiLeaks

I’ve released the core PHP classes that drive the website on GitHub:

I’ve been toying with the idea of open sourcing the whole site for some time, however there’s obvious security implications which would need to be addressed and managed. In the meantime, feel free to scrutinise the algorithms that attempt to identify overcharging from our friends at myki.

Having moved to Sydney last year and also becoming a Dad, I’m not actively maintaining the site – with the exception of responding to support requests and updating the current transport fares.

Enjoy 😀

Being overcharged by myki three times in a month isn’t that uncommon, in fact some people manage to achieve as many as seven overcharges a month (what a legend)!!! But today is particularly exciting for me because I learned that during May I scored my first myki hat-trick!

Number 1:

This travel pattern seems to cause an overcharge from time to time… I assume that the bus trips are to blame. There seems to be ongoing problems with buses while the readers continue to run in “headless mode”… their terminology, not mine.. although very aptly named, wouldn’t you say?

MykiLeaks only identified this as a “maybe” because it detected a “default fare” during the day, which depending on what mode of transport you’re on can rightly be charged to your account if you forget to touch off. In this case, I definitely should have paid zone 1 daily fare of $6.56, as the only time I didn’t touch off was at the end of a tram ride.

Number 2:

Both readers were out of service at Northcote station on the afternoon of the 28th May. This means that EVERY PASSENGER that alighted at Northcote during that period would have been charged an extra fare, as the system assumes they travelled to the end of the service (zone 2). This is the second time in the last few months this has happened – here’s the email I received following the first incident.

I’d just returned from Vanuatu that afternoon and caught the SkyBus / train home. Way to welcome me home from a tropical paradise myki…

Number 3:

No big surprises here, almost identical to number 1 above… probably another case of headless bus syndrome.

So there you have it… if you dream big, great things can happen! Make sure you let me know if you break current record of 7 in a month. I’ll probably arrange some sort of lame prize, and definitely give you a shout out on the MykiLeaks Facebook page :-)

A few weeks ago I emailed a formal complaint to the TTA, hoping that they would ignore me and give me reason to take the whole myki overcharging thing to the ombudsman. Unfortunately they were very professional and responsive. Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am writing to complain about the ongoing overcharging of a significant percentage of myki account holders. I’m the person responsible for the MykiLeaks website, and I find the prospect of having to maintain it for an indefinite amount of time unsatisfactory. Please provide answers to the following questions:

Are you aware that some travel patterns produce overcharges with near consistency?

What is the current accuracy rate for myki on trains, trams and buses respectively?

How do you calculate the accuracy? Is it based on the number of reimbursement requests, or some other means?

Is there likely to be a resolution to the overcharging problem in the form of a system improvement?

If not, will automated account auditing be implemented, such that reimbursements for overcharges occur without request from the user?


Jonathan Mullins

They wouldn’t provide me with a written answers to the questions on account of the ‘complexities of the system’, instead they invited me in for a little chit-chat with the TTA’s General Manager of Operations.

So last Monday I left work early to make my way to the TTA’s offices on Collins St, ironically arriving late on account of train problems.

Level 38 of the ANZ building sports a lovely view of the inner city, the buzz of Flinders St and Southbank against a backdrop of St Kilda and Port Phillip Bay in the distance. When I first stepped out of the elevator I thought… ‘well, I guess I could stomach telling my friends I worked for the TTA if I got to hang out here every day’.

A giant myki logo is proudly presented on the glass wall that separates from the lobby from the TTA’s office proper. The place really is presented well. In my dreams I always imagined a chaotic scene of bureaucrats running around yelling at each other, telephones ringing out, some bald guy occasionally poking his head from an office in the corner, swearing at his assistant for not producing the report he asked for 3 minutes ago.

In reality the TTA felt like a buddhist retreat in the clouds. Smiling faces, clean carpet, unscuffed desks and polished glass. I wonder if it’s like that every day?

After some introductions and smalltalk, we got down to the business of overcharging on the myki ticketing system. I wish I had some exciting news to report, but unfortunately the information I learned wont come as much of a surprise. The bottom line as I see it, based on what I learned at the meeting, is:

  • Overcharging will continue to occur until Metcard is phased out, at which time buses and trams will magically know what suburb they are in. Something to do with a driver console or some such. Maybe they currently use random number generators.
  • The TTA have some form of ongoing system testing in place, in the way of pretend passengers that travel through the network and then check their statements — I hope they use MykiLeaks, that would be so cool.
  • There is no automated checking of all customer trip data that alerts myki to a suspected overcharge and flags it for checking.
  • As a consequence, there is no automatic refunding of overcharges.
  • Implementing automated refunding of every overcharge is not an option, as Kamco / myki / TTA / whoever believe that not every ‘apparent’ overcharge is actually an overcharge.  Something about a zone or a GPS thing or something. Yeah I don’t know either.
So what did I learn? Well, I learned that the people at the TTA are very friendly and hospitable folk who manage to exist in a reasonable state of calm despite being at the pointy end of a very public fuck up. At least that’s how they roll on a Monday afternoon. Power to them, I wish I dealt with stress that well.