Myki. The wonderful public transport smartcard system that’s about as straightforward as a tangled slinky.

Melbourne‘s much maligned touch on/touch off (sometimes, not always) ticketing system continues to operate in the city, despite all empirical evidence suggesting that it’s fully cooked.

And with fare evading skyrocketing as a result of the confusing system that’s totally dependent on unreliable technology, a payment system that the vast majority of travellers still do not understand, and card readers that are impossible to keep operational at all times, overseeing organisation Public Transport Victoria attempted to fix the issues.

It’s just that their version of “fixing the issues” was “giving ticket inspectors free reign to strong arm passengers into paying on-the-spot fines because the actual fines fall-the-fuck-over in court 99% of the time.”

The tactic was effective, in the sense that regular people often find it far more palatable to simply fork over the $75 on the spot in order to make the bullying and intimidatory tactics employed by PTV’s “Authorised Officers” go away.

So because the system is so utterly, well and truly borked, we now have this.

Today marks the launch of a handy new website aimed at guiding travellers through the process of receiving a Myki fine, letting you know your rights every step of the way (because you’re absolutely not going to prise that information out of the YOU-ARE-NOT-POLICE-OFFICERS-AND-NEVER-WILL-BE knuckleheads trying desperately to get you to fork over your cash. provides you with the information you need to fight a fine. By answering a few simple questions, you’ll be able to figure out if you have a leg to stand on; which you’ll often find that you do.

FOR EXAMPLE: Did you know that being crook or suffering a traumatic event earlier in the day counts as a valid defence? Did you know that if you bought a ticket, topped it up, and attempted to touch on, but still had your card read as touched off when inspectors check it, that that counts as taking all reasonable steps to obtain a ticket? WHO WOULD’VE BLOODY WELL KNOWN.

The website is the brainchild of reform activist group Young Liberty for Law Reform, and aims to arm Victorians with the necessary knowledge to deal with the system that refuses to provide it.

After working with Julian Burnside‘s Myki Flying Squad legal team, the group has assembled the relevant information into a handy, very mobile friendly web resource.

Emma Buckley Lennox of Young Liberty stated that the website is a result of being tired of seeing people pressured into paying a fine for an offence they may not have been guilty of.

“We have seen too many people being pressured into paying fines because they don’t understand their rights.”

“The system is confusing and the government does not give people the information they need to be able to make proper and informed decisions.”

A press release issued with the launch of the website cites the case of Sophie, a 26-year-old commuter from Caulfield who received a fine earlier in the year.

“When the officers waved me over I was sure I had touched on. I do every morning. I even remember having my wallet in my hand before I reached the station entrance.”

“If I had known that I had a defence, or that I could have requested the CCTV footage from the station to prove that I touched on, I would not have taken the on-the-spot fine.”

“I was on the cusp of saying that I would fight it anyway, but I thought it would be too hard and I didn’t know where to begin.”

“The whole system seems like a form of bullying. They don’t tell you what your rights are, and then they intimidate you with the consequences of not choosing an on-the-spot fine.”

Save this one in your phones, pals. MYKIFINES.ORG.AU.

The truth shall set ye free (of having to hand over fistfuls of cash just because some jerk with a store-bought badge is being a see you next Tuesday).


Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty.