🚧 This article may be subject to revision when further information becomes available

LAST UPDATE: 11 May 2024

In May 2023, the ACT Government entered into a contract with NEC Australia to implement and maintain a new Public Transport ticketing and real time passenger system.

ACT Bus has reviewed the contract and other publicly available information to provide this guide to how the new system will operate. (All information is based on our interpretation of the published contract and is subject to confirmation and amendment. Precise information will be available from Transport Canberra when the system is ready for use. This article will be updated as further details are known.)

What is being changed?

The current ‘MyWay’ fare payment system (from Flowbird – formerly Parkeon/Downer EDI) and the ‘NXTBUS’ real time passenger information system (from Trapeze) are being replaced with an account-based ticketing system and integrated real-time passenger information system, which will be known as ‘MyWay+‘.

How will I be able to pay for my Transport Fare?
The ticket validators will be the SCV500 model, from Aurionpro Transit

Each bus and every tram platform will be equipped with new card and ticket validators. Passengers are required to verify their fare by:

  • using the contactless card reader –
    • with a Transit Card (“MyWay+ card”)
    • with a credit/debit card – both physical cards and virtual cards on a mobile phone (e.g. Apple Pay or Google Wallet) or smartwatch will be accepted
  • using the barcode scanner to read a QR code –
    • from the MyWay+ mobile phone app
    • from a paper ticket issued by a Ticket Vending Machine (TVM)
    • from a ticket issued over the internet – either print at home, or from mobile phone screen (this includes tickets issued by welfare organisations)
Can I just show my ticket to the driver?

No. All ticket types will need to be tapped-on or scanned-on using the ticket validators. This will include paper tickets issued by a TVM and tickets purchased over the internet.

What is an account-based ticket system and how does it differ from MyWay?

MyWay+ will be an account-based ticketing system. Like a bank account or pre-paid mobile phone, your balance and transactions are centrally stored and accessed every time you tap on and tap off. This type of system requires every bus and tram platform to have an active internet data connection to enable access to the accounts.

If using a MyWay+ card or the MyWay+ app, you will be required to have sufficient funds in your account and the fare will be deducted from that account.

However, if you tap on with a credit/debit card, the fare payment will be charged to the card account provided there is available credit. After your initial tap-on for the day, the system will store all your travel details and charge a single transaction to your account at the end of the day.

The current MyWay system operates as a “stored value smartcard” in which the available balance and card concession type are stored on a microchip in the card. This allows the system to calculate and deduct fares on the spot without needing a data connection. The disadvantage of this type of system is that account top-ups and other adjustments need to be applied to the card after they are processed – if the top-up is performed by a TVM or an agent, the card is updated straight away; but when top-ups are performed over the internet, the transaction has to go through several steps (which take several days) before it is finally applied to a MyWay card.

Can I still use my old MyWay card?

Current MyWay cards will not be accepted by the new system. A new MyWay+ card will be available, but you will also have the ability to use a credit/debit card, or the MyWay+ app to tap on to buses and trams.

How do I top-up my MyWay+ card account?
  • through retailers connected to the epay network (which includes Coles, Woolworths, Australia Post, 7-Eleven, EG, Ampol and many other retailers such as newsagents, convenience stores and some IGA supermarkets)
  • by using a Ticket Vending Machine at tram platforms and selected bus stations
  • online through the MyWay+ website or app (this might not be available for unregistered cards)
  • autoload from a nominated credit card or direct debit – this option will not be available for unregistered cards
Will the new MyWay+ cards expire?

Current MyWay card expire after 2 years without use. There is no information on whether the new cards will expire or what will occur with inactive accounts.

Can I register a single account for all members of my family?

Yes. The system will allow for a master account to be created which can be accessed by multiple MyWay+ cards. This will allow school children (for instance) to travel while accessing a single family account.

I don’t want to register for a new account, will I still be able to use MyWay+ ?

You will be able to use a MyWay+ card without having to register it. However unregistered cards cannot be blocked in the event of loss and cannot be used for concession fares. Cards without a registered MyWay+ account will also not be able to transfer any card balances from an old MyWay card.

You will also be able to pay using a credit/debit card without registering for a MyWay+ account, but full adult fares will be charged.

I am entitled to a concession fare: can I use my credit/debit card?

Concession fares are available with credit/debit card only if a MyWay+ account has been registered. Details of your concession (e.g. Pensioner Concession Card) must be set up in the account as well as the credit/debit card to be used.

The exact method for doing this will need to confirmed, however the contract does mention that MyWay+ agents (such as newsagents) will play a role in verifying concession cards.

If I use my credit card, will the card details be safe from hackers?

The contract requires that MyWay+ complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and that all data is encrypted with ASD-approved cryptographic protocols.

Will there be any additional fees for paying by credit card?

As is currently the case with tickets purchased through a ticket vending machine, tapping on with a credit card will not attract any additional processing fee. Nor will any fees apply to account top-ups performed online or through a ticket vending machine.

Can I pay by cash?

The new system is designed to be cashless. You will not be able to purchase any tickets from bus drivers, nor will you be able to purchase tickets from a Ticket Vending Machine with cash (to be confirmed). Cash top ups to a MyWay+ account can still be made at retailers and agents.

If I am visiting Canberra, how do I pay for a bus fare without a MyWay+ card?

Without a MyWay+ card, the easiest way to pay is to simply tap on with your contactless credit or debit card. Or you can create a MyWay+ account which will allow you to tap on by scanning a QR code generated by the MyWay+ app.

If you don’t want to create an account, you can purchase scannable tickets in advance from the MyWay+ webstore.

Will the system be compatible with Queanbeyan buses, Opal or Myki?

The MyWay+ fare system can in theory be added to the Queanbeyan bus service (CDC Canberra), but will require the hardware to be installed on their buses. There is currently no known plan for this to occur.

However, credit/debit card payment systems are already available on transport services in many regions – including CDC buses in Queanbeyan. And for those services which don’t currently accept credit/debit cards (such as PTV in Melbourne), they are expected in implement such systems in the future.

Will I still need to tap off?

Yes. ACT Transport Minister Chris Steel has referred to “tapping off” in Media Releases and elsewhere when discussing the new system. Tapping off may be the method by which the system monitors passenger levels on board buses – and it will also provide data to Transport Canberra about passenger journeys.

Whether the new system will impose a “default fare” for not tapping off is not known.

Will the fares be the same?

There has been no information released about this.

However, an account-based ticketing system can allow many different fare options to be configured. One possibility is that the current monthly “trip cap” will be replaced by a monthly “fare cap” based on the value of the fares, rather than the number of journeys. It will also be technically possible to reintroduce time-based fare caps such as the “off peak daily” fare which existed prior to MyWay; and “weekly”, “school term” and “yearly” fare caps are also possible.

Will there be any additional Ticket Vending Machines?

At this stage, no. The existing 26 Ticket Vending Machines will be modified to support the new system but no additional machines are included in the contract.

How will tickets be checked?

Ticket Inspectors and Transport Officers will be issued with hand-held devices which can scan MyWay+ cards, credit/debit cards, QR codes and paper tickets. The device will display whether the inspected card or ticket has been validly tapped-on as well as concession status and account balance (where applicable).

Will there be an app and what will it do?

There will be a MyWay+ app for Android and iPhones. This app will provide journey planning and real time tracking of buses and trams (replacing the NXTBUS website). It will also offer account and card management functions including: account top-ups, transaction history and a function for tapping on and off using a QR code.

How will the transition to MyWay+ be managed?
In 2010-11 buses were equipped with both old and new ticket systems

In May 2024, Minister Steel announced that MyWay+ hardware will be rolled out from October 2024 to buses and tram platforms. During this transition period, the old system will be removed, so public transport will be fare-free until the new system is fully installed.

There will not be a dual ticketing system as occurred in 2011.

Commencing from May 2024, there will be four MyWay+ demonstration buses that will operate on the TC bus network to raise community awareness of the new system. These buses will only be equipped with the MyWay+ system and will operate on regular route services but will be fare-free (since they cannot accept old MyWay cards).

What will happen to the balance on my MyWay card?

While exact details are not yet known, registered MyWay card holders will likely be either given a new MyWay+ account or else sent instructions on how to set up an account. Once the old system is deactivated, registered MyWay card holders will be able to request their balance to be transferred to their new MyWay+ account; refunds will also be offered, but only if the MyWay card is registered.

Passengers without a registered MyWay account will not be able to access any remaining balance and so will be encouraged to either use up the balance of the current MyWay card or to register their card before the old system is removed.

How will Seniors Cards be changed to the new system?

When the MyWay system was introduced in 2011, Seniors Card holders were the first users brought onto the new system by being invited to apply for the new MyWay cards before they were released to the general public. We expect that a similar process will occur again with either new combined Seniors Cards or individual MyWay+ cards being issued prior to the new system commencing.

How will the 3G shutdown affect the implementation?

Contrary to some media reports, the MyWay ticketing system does not utilise mobile data to collect fares. When the Optus 3G network shuts down (expected in September 2024), the ticketing system can continue to function normally, however ticket agents might not be able to process top ups or card updates. (We have no information to confirm what type of data connection these terminals utilise.)

Ticket vending machines at tram stops and bus stations are believed to be using either 4G mobile or fixed line data networks.

On the other hand, the NXTBUS real-time location system does use the Optus 3G network to send bus location data. Once the network is switched off, there may be a period in which no real-time bus tracking data will be available – this may be before the system hardware is physically removed.

We assume that during the implementation period, once buses are equipped with the new MyWay+ equipment they will commence sending real-time locations, but that has yet to be confirmed.

When will the new system be implemented?

Full implementation of MyWay+ is expected to be completed by November 2024.

We have no information about when the MyWay+ app or website will be activated to enable new accounts to be set up.

Any further questions? Have we missed anything or got something wrong? Get in touch using the Contact Us link below, or find us on Facebook.

This page was last updated on 11 May 2024