THE Victorian state government has signed a 15-year, $A 1.7bn ($US 1.13bn) contract with US-based Conduent to operate Melbourne’s Myki public transport ticketing system. Conduent, which operates ticketing systems in 24 countries including in Paris, Dubai, Montreal and New Jersey, will take over from the current operator, NTT Data, on December 1.

The Myki system has been plagued by technical issues and, unlike other public transport ticketing systems, does not accept bank cards or contactless payment using mobile devices. Passengers are required to purchase a Myki card costing $A 6 before any credit is added for travel.

The mobile Myki app is also only available for Android devices and not iPhones. Conduent has promised that passengers in Melbourne will soon be able to use their phones, bank cards and smartwatches to pay for travel on the city’s commuter and light rail networks.

 “This is a very important moment for Victoria and public transport,” said state public transport minister, Mr Ben Carroll. “For the past 16 years we have had a card-based ticketing system under Myki.

“We will now reach the 21st century, with account-based ticketing that is simpler and easier to use through your credit card, through your smartphone and through your smartwatch.”

Carroll said the new system would be rolled out over two years. Trials of the new system are expected to begin next year, while the Myki name will be retained.

Elsewhere in Australia, passengers in New South Wales have been able to use credit or debit cards to pay for their journeys on public transport since 2018.