The Myki smart card system used by Victorians for accessing public transport is getting dragged into the 21st century. A trial is about to commence that will allow passengers to touch on and off from trains, busses and trams using their smartphone. However, as Apple doesn't yet allow developers to use the NFC radio in iPhones, the trial will be limited to Android devices.
The new app, called Mobile myki, will allow you to top up on the go, check the balance of your Mobile myki, avoid queues at myki machines and reduce the chance of forgetting or losing your physical myki card.
As someone with five cards as the result of forgetting one and having to buy another in order to get around, this would be a great step forward although I'm an iPhone user and won't be part of the trial. Public Transport Victoria said in a statement "The trial will commence in the coming months, through a limited, industry-based test group of users on Android devices before extending to a wider, public test group later in the year".
Earlier today, I reported on rumours that Apple will be opening up access to the NFC radio in their devices during next week's WWDC developer shindig. If that happens that will be a welcome move as, based on recent data from IDC, the iPhone is the most popular smartphone platform in Australia.
Hopefully, Mobile myki will have a better start than the Myki system which was dogged by project delays and a farcical photo opp where the minister unveiling the system had the card reader fall apart and the top-up machine refusing to collect her money during a staged demonstration.
The existing physical myki card will continue to remain in use during and after the trial with a decision about whether Mobile myki will be made available for all passengers coming in the new year.
If you're interested you'll need to ensure you have a registered Myki card.