Woah to No

26 August 2020

Local punters at Flinders Street Station were stunned today as a fellow traveller moved through the gate without pausing or stopping.

“It was amazing,” one baffled onlooker commented. “She aimed at one boomgate the whole way in, and that was actually the one she went through. She had money on her card and everything. No noise, no hesitation, just ‘bing’ and away she went.”

The onlooker then informed us that they’d captured the scene on film, but seemed unable to locate their phone in the bottom of their bag. “It was in here just a minute ago, I swear,” they mumbled, slowly drifting towards the growing queue as they rifled through their bag.

While waiting for our eyewitness, we witnessed the daily struggle of other, less fortunate commuters. The looks of bafflement as card readers flashed red at unwitting would-be passengers. The constant, last-minute lane shifts as hopeful passengers departed from any semblance of civilised behaviour, by not heading for the turnstiles they were aiming at, or even in front of. After watching no fewer than three people attempt to slip in behind other commuters, we wondered if the inopportune, unwilling conga line of frustrated Melburnians was our city’s legacy.

“I just recharged it,” one youth commented to a Public Transport Officer, having jumped the barrier in apparent frustration. “Come on man, I’m going to miss my train.” The look of dissatisfaction on the officer’s face mirrored every person behind that gate who lacked the commitment, fitness or disposable income to withstand a $249 fine.

Although pending video confirmation, (“I swear, I just put it on the top of my bag like five minutes ago”), we are hopeful that the sign of one commuter with their shit together bodes well for the future. Perhaps one day, we too can bear witness to the mythical creature the Myki consortium envisioned when developing the system, instead of the frustrated masses watching themselves fail at yet another daily task.

Until then, this reporter, and their witness, will be metaphorically rifling through the bottom of their bags, looking for the answer.

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