PTO/WEstjustice myki pilot

Working with WEstjustice to help young people in need

In 2017 WEstjustice, a community legal centre in the western suburbs of Melbourne, contacted us to discuss the challenges facing high school students in the Wyndham area who were couch surfing. These students were facing major barriers as they dealt with family issues and tried to maintain their connections with school and social contacts. We became involved to look at the problem of students being fined as they travelled on public transport without the money for a myki.

The Wyndham Schools’ Couch Surfing myki pilot was developed by WEstjustice and the PTO following extensive consultations with public transport operators and TFV. Students who are identified by the school’s wellbeing team as requiring assistance under the program are given a pre-paid myki, to encourage them to engage with wellbeing staff to gain the assistance and referrals they need. This allows them to travel compliantly on public transport and when they no longer need the program, the myki is made available to another student in need. The funding for the pilot was generously provided by a number of public transport operators approached by WEstjustice, and at the time of writing the State Government had just announced a grant of $175,000 for an expanded program in 2019. Initial feedback on the pilot indicates that the program is having a positive impact on these young people and helping them stay engaged with school.

The pilot has allowed us to reach out and assist disadvantaged young people with public transport issues who may not otherwise have engaged with our office. It is a more proactive approach to dispute resolution, making our service more accessible and helping us to identify systemic barriers to travel being experienced by the students.

We are passionate about our work in helping these young people, and thrilled that we have been recognised for our work as the winner for ADR Innovation of the Year, in the 2018 Australian ADR Awards.

ADR Awards Winner Logo