Tram couple

Imagine arriving in Australia and not being able to speak the language, read the signage or understand the public transport system. While many of us take for granted touching on and off with our myki cards, it’s easy to forget that for some Australian seniors from refugee backgrounds navigating the public transport system and using a myki can be daunting.

To help them become familiar with Melbourne’s public transport, staff from the Seniors Card program and the West Division of the Department of Health and Human Services took a small group of seniors from Karen backgrounds through the practical steps of topping up, touching on and touching off with their myki cards.

Drawn from a social group coordinated by Australian Unity, the seniors were building confidence and awareness by travelling by train from Hoppers Crossing to Footscray with an interpreter, to learn more about their Seniors Card, Seniors myki and the public transport system more broadly.

By showing them how to use the trams, trains and buses, participants gain confidence so they can get out and about to community events and to see family and friends, says Elleni Bereded-Samuel, the Diversity Capability Development Manager, at Australian Unity.

Participant Ah Tin, 67, said: this is wonderful. Now I can go and visit my friends from Brimbank every Sunday.

Tips for using your Seniors myki

  • A Seniors myki cuts the cost of travelling on Melbourne’s public transport in half and the same applies for most of regional Victoria.
  • Choose myki Moneyif you travel occasionally, or myki Pass if you travel most days.
  • You can top up your card at myki machines at selected stations and stops, on board a bus ($20 max), at more than 800 stops, at www.ptv.vic.gov.au (allow about 90 minutes for top ups to be processed), or by calling 1800 800 007.
  • Find your nearest place to top up at www.ptv.vic.gov.au retail and be sure to top up with enough money to pay for your entire journey.
  • As a guide, $5 will get you around Melbourne for a day, with a little change.
  • Remember to carry your Seniors Card and Seniors myki when you travel.
  • Touch on at all times (unless you’re travelling in the Free Tram Zone) and touch off when travelling on trains and buses.
  • Finally, it pays to register your myki online so you can see the cost of your recent trips and balances, set up auto top up, protect your card’s balance if it is lost or stolen, manage another person’s myki, and automatically receive a new card when yours expires (every four years).

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