A mere 1,000 select users will reportedly be cherry-picked to take part in a trial that will allow them to use a smartphone app to touch on to Melbourne’s MC Esher-esque public transport ticketing system, Myki.

The trial will focus on the tiny, very small amount of people, who will be given the Android app that will allow them to touch on and off using their smart phones, as well as pay and top up their account. This trial will cover the entire bus, tram, and rail network, and will reportedly “function” on the existing smart readers already in place across the city.

The trial of the app system will not require any new infrastructure to be installed, but despite this it still carries a $3million price tag, which is being tacked on top of the existing Myki contract, which commenced last year, that carries with it a hefty cost of $700million.

Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allan stressed that the trial was in its very early, industry-based stages, but if successful it would be rolled out to a larger test group later in the year.

This is a very large and complex network that we have, the ticketing system has to work across all those different aspects of it.

If successful, the app would eventually be rolled out across the network to users, with officials hoping that it brings Melbourne’s network in line with other major cities like Houston, London, and even Sydney, which is slowly rolling out similar features of its own on its light rail and ferry networks.

It’s hoped that the app would allow people to better manage their Myki accounts by giving them easy access to balances, as well as reducing queues at top-up machines by allowing people to add money on the go.

There are no plans to extend the service to iPhone users at this stage.

The trial plan does not include provision for single-use tickets aimed at tourists and infrequent users.

You still cannot purchase a physical ticket while on-board a tram, nor can you purchase one at the majority of tram and bus stops across Melbourne.

Source: The Age
Image: Getty Images / Michael Dodge