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Australia's AUS $1.3 billion smartcard public transit ticketing system finally rolled out late last year, with "less than auspicious" results, says Robert Charette on the IEEE's Spectrum Magazine "The Risk Factor' blog.

The Myki smartcard system was supposed to allow public transit passengers to travel via rail, tram or bus using a single smartcard that customers could put value on using a self-service kiosk, or over the telephone or Internet. The system was supposed to start public trials in March 2007; but the now-overbudget AUS $1.3 billion project introduced late last year is only being used on trains. Trams and buses are supposed to go live with the system later this year.

But the problems have continued with nearly 2,000 commuters getting smartcards they didn't order or that couldn't be activated; commuters getting charged incorrect fares; and travelers not being able to go through entrance and exit gates because of card malfunctions, resulting in a temporary suspension of card distribution.

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