Metplan - Going back to the future

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In any review of the contemporary development of Melbourne's public transport ticketing the May 1988 draft stratagy of Metplan has to be acknowledged. This 39 page document was prepared under the direction of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and released to encourage public comment as input to a vast, though unfunded, blueprint for Melbourne's future public transport needs. It was the first attempt by any Victorian government to plan specifically for public transport independantly of roads and as well it gave consideration to all modes and the rolls they have in providing a total transport service.

The section relevant to public transport ticketing is reproduced here and provides a fascinating, and now, quite accurate predictions based on what the M.T.A was desirous to implement. In hindsight this section was the only part of Metplan that successive state governments' have persued at the, (literal) expense of many of the other worthwhile proposals contained within the document. The key ticketing proposals in Metplan are concepts now recognisable to Melbourne public transport patrons, even if Metplans interpretations don't quite use the terminology familiar today. Keep in mind that Metplan originated during the currency of the Neighbourhood fare structure and accordingly recommends a simplification of this before any of the ticketing proposals were persued. In scrutinising the Metplan draft stratagy the concept of off system ticket sales and driver only trams are revealed. Furthur still the desire to encourage public transport users to buy in bulk and validate as they travel mimicks both the future automatic fare collection system, Metcard, and the forthcoming Myki fare payment system. If these ideas still don't quite convince historians then the reference to stored value smartcards was proof at least that the M.T.A was aware of technological developments then in their infancy.

When the finished Metplan was released in September 1988 the section on fares and ticketing was very much slimmed in its voicing of anything too specific, possibly as a precaution at raising the ire of transport users - and transport unions. It repeated the need to replace the existing neighbourhood fare system - and it was the return to a zonal based system in August 1989 in response - and this is the reason why we have acknowledeged Metplan at this point in our website.


Metplan draft stratagy ISBN 0-7241-7088-X
Metplan ISBN 0-7241-7187-8

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