Formation of the Metropolitan Transit Authority

Page last modified/checked: Monday, 4 November 2002

The Cain Labor Government gained office at the Victorian State election on April 3rd 1982. The cornerstone of their campaign had been the need for far reaching improvements to the State's public transport system, in particular, Metropolitan services. Now at the head of the Transport Ministry was Mr. Steve Crabb, a man who demonstrated a zeal for his new position, outshining usual Government wit. Labors election campaign material had clearly outlined their desire to create a single "Metropolitan Transit Authority" to administer and plan Melbournes pubic transport network. It followed (logically?) that this "single authority" should also offer a "single ticket system" to its patrons. Labor critisized the Liberals newly created zonal fare structure, saying it needed to be "restructured to simplify ticketing". They also cited that it had merely been a screen for unjustified "huge fare increases". Conveniently overlooked was the question of whether the existing zonal structure was actually suitable for a city the size of Melbourne, also that it offered the choice between a multi-modal ticket (Travelcard), or to pay just for the service used. It is a sad fact of politics that the desire to dismantle the opponents achievements was nothing new...

Before continuing with our review of ticketing, some background on the M.T.A. and images of its early days may be of interest.

The arrival of the MTA on the 1st July 1983 bought no change to the zonal system itself, but on some tickets the new Authorities initials and/or logo were applied. As these tickets were on issue only until the Neighbourhood system was introduced on the 15th November 1983, they should be considered uncommon items. A selection from those types we know of follows:

Tram cash fares

On tram cash fare tickets, the MMTB title was replaced by that of the MTA. There is no doubt this occurred with all issues, however we are yet to see the 10c and 20c tickets so treated. Subtle as this alteration may have been, these paper tickets had been an aspect of the former Tramways Board for generations, and could not be properly associated with the new Authourity.

Pre-sold tram / bus

Even after all this time we probably have not seen every MMTB issue / variety in this series so we can't categorically say that they were all altered to an MTA title. Note the 3 section ticket with "Police Department" overstamp. Had the dedicated prints for these special requirements ceased some time prior?

Tram and Bus issued Travelcards

It is doubtful that the full range of these tickets were printed with the wording and logo of the MTA. Only the more popular and therefore faster moving zone combinations have been seen in this format. All are in green print.

Rail Date to Date

By far the most garish example of a ticket altered to reflect the MTA is the plastic rail date to date. When compared with the earlier Vicrail issue, other more subtle changes can be seen
the signature panel is now on the front
the conditions have been altered to reflect the new Authority, who also no longer enforce "By-Laws"
the number on the rear went from serif to plain
Jenkins Security no longer advertise themselves - presumably they still provided these cards for the MTA?