The Australian city of Melbourne on July 25 extended the use of the Myki smartcard transit system to include trams and buses, according to the Transport Ticketing Authority, which operates the contactless card program.

The smart card system became available for use on Melbourne’s trains at the beginning of this year and has been used to access buses in six regional towns since late 2008.

Transit operators plan to spend AU$1.3 billion (US$1.2 billion or 893.5 million euros) to introduce the Myki contactless smartcard ticketing system for public transport throughout the entire state of Victoria after the rollout in Melbourne.

Myki is designed to replace a number of ticketing systems in Victoria, primarily the Metcard (metropolitan Melbourne) and V/Line (regional) systems. But most of the rollout was delayed after its launch in 2007 until the end 2009 because of a variety of issues, including technological and financial problems.

And problems continued in April, when the system was unable to adjust fares for senior cardholders automatically, forcing operators to manually adjust their accounts (see story).

In October last year, the system drew criticism for overcharging customers (see story). A month later, pilot participants in the Melbourne suburb of Geelong complained of faulty card readers and overcharging (see story).

Some 430,000 Myki cards are in circulation in Victoria, and 25,000 to 30,000 travelers are using Myki to access trains. However, the card has yet to replace the V/Line (regional) ticketing systems, and the Transport Ticketing Authority plans to continue the Metcard system until next Easter for the convenience of existing customers.

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