Myki smartcard users in the Australian state of Victoria have been overcharged by AU$5 (US$4.60 or 3 euros) approximately 50 times in the past week, the regional government admitted in a statement yesterday. It is the latest problem for the contactless prepaid card consumers use to pay train, tram and bus fares. The scheme operates in six cities in Victoria and is scheduled for a rollout in Melbourne by the end of this year. According to the statement, the system overcharged 47 bus travelers in Seymour last week after a computer and [global-positioning system]-feed error. Already this year, Myki has overcharged users 10,800 times, according to a report in Australia-based The Age newspaper. Indeed, the country is struggling to establish a workable transit card system, Matthew Sinclair, executive director of Australia-based Carpadium Consulting, tells CardLine Global. "It seems like there have been many more failures than successes," he says. "In particular, the [New South Wales] government has had all sorts of problems trying to roll out a transit card, ending up with lots of legal bills and nothing much to show for it." For consumers, it is very difficult to audit their own transit bills, Sinclair adds. "This is because you typically make many trips, and it would be difficult to remember in detail which days you had or had not used the system," he says. "I suspect that they will iron out the bugs, and the main thing with this kind of system is that utility in the long term will almost certainly outweigh the short-term pain."

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