Department of
Transport Victoria


How an ongoing 10-year partnership continues to deliver better digital and real world journeys for over a million Public Transport passengers a month


Ten Years Together

Our partnership with Department of Transport Victoria began when they were still known as Metlink and then Public Transport Victoria (PTV).

For the last ten years we've worked collaboratively with PTV to deliver multiple technology and major user experience projects, as well as ongoing support and continuous improvements programs of improvements.

Symbiote PTV Website Desktop Mobile mockup

Their Challenge

Their Challenge

The scope of work PTV has challenges them to meet the diverse needs of a broad customer base.

Delivering the day-to-day information needs of commuters, enabling myki top ups, and addressing disruptions and alternative travel instructions amongst all the other customer service needs on a digital platform that is fast and stable is a big challenge.

Behind the scenes wrestling their complex set of data sources into something that makes sense to users and ensuring the entire technology ecosystem works together in a cohesive way has been a major challenge for the organisation.
Further internal changes and responding to an ever changing environment has seen a number of website redevelopments and rebranding activities, which Symbiote has been there to deliver.

In addition, PTV and Symbiote work together to take a strategic approach to digital service delivery, envisioning ways to meet these user needs against the four focus areas: time and effort, empathy, personalisation and expectations.

The Solution

The Solution

Over the years we have partnered with PTV to deliver a number of customer experience and technology improvement initiatives, including:

  • Improved customer engagement and service delivery with multiple brand and website iterations
  • Built a cloud-based infrastructure that improved website availability and reduced costs while serving over 10 million page views per month
  • Implemented multiple API integrations that pull from multiple data sources to facilitate a seamless content delivery platform for users
  • Improved self-service capabilities for myki top up services by expanding account management and improving UX design
  • Built a consolidated disruptions platform that pushes just-in-time content about delays to the website, in-station boards, mobile app and other platforms
  • Delivered capability for live vehicle tracking
  • A comprehensive user research initiative to understand the disruption experience for commuters, and then progressing those findings into digital solutions to better meet the needs of these disrupted travellers

The Secret Ingredient

One of the most crucial factors in the ongoing success of our collaboration with PTV has been our shared values.

We share a passion for improving end users’ experience and that helped build a mutual trust, which then laid the foundation for a transparent relationship.

PTV’s trust and transparency has also allowed us to deliver better outcomes for their users more efficiently thanks to a greater understanding of their current state of play and challenges. Working with a client who is so open and trusting has helped us improve our processes and efficiencies too.

Our Process

UX Talk

"Our process working with DoT is really collaborative, from daily stand-ups to quick pings on Slack we're in regular contact into order to deliver the best digital experience to the end-user."

Rachel Kelly - UX/UI Designer - Ex Rummikub Pro

Team member

Rachel Kelly - UX/UI Designer - Ex Rummikub Pro

Read UX Process
A motif of six squares arranged in a grid pattern with three squares on top and three squares on the bottom

UX Process 

Our UX process at Symbiote aligns with the double diamond design methodology, each project we delver for DoT follows this process to ensure the research uncovered defines the core problem in which we are to design and deliver solutions for.


The Problem space

The discovery phase of each project involves the end-user from the beginning, this ensures the voice of the customer is captured and heard throughout every step of the project. Insights gathered during discovery allow us to define the problem in detail this ensures we are designing solutions that are of high value to the end user.

UX research techniques used:

  • Listening sessions
  • Stake holder interviews
  • Observations
  • Co-design workshops
  • Existing research analysis
  • Data analytics
  • Usability testing


The solution space

The second phase of the project aims to develop and designing concepts for testing, this phase involves rapid iteration to ensure solutions meet the needs of real end users. 

UX design techniques used:

  • 'How might we?' frame work
  • Information Architecture
  • Card sorting
  • UI wireframe design
  • Prototyping
  • Usability testing



Flinders Station Melbourne weyne yew unspalsh
Flinders Station Melbourne weyne yew unspalsh
Symbiote UX PTV Hub Interview
Symbiote UX PTV Hub Interview

UX Summary

We use a variety of UX techniques to uncover and apply user led insights to the solutions we create and deliver.

Discover more about the UX services we offer by clicking on the button below.

Our Services

UX methodologies often used with DoT:

  • Listening sessions
  • Stake holder interviews
  • Observations
  • Co-design workshops
  • Existing research analysis
  • Data analysis
  • Information Architecture
  • Card sorting
  • UI design and prototyping
  • Usability testing
  • Research repository

Tech Talk

"Delivering systems at the scale of the PTV website provides great opportunity to work with a variety of technology stacks, and solve problems with a range of software you may not normally get a chance to work with in smaller implementations. We have a great relationship with their architecture team, which enables us to quickly iterate to optimum solutions." 

Marcus Nyeholt - Head of Technology - Cycling enthusiast

Team member

Marcus Nyeholt - Head of Technology - Cycling enthusiast

Our tech process
Stylised dark green circle motif

Our Tech Process 

As the public transport landscape has changed over the years, so have the techniques we've used to keep up with the growing demand on the network. We are now delivering a fully integrated end-to-end user experience across the public transport network, making use of a range of languages to build the sites, and a full suite of Amazon Web Services to deliver reliability at scale. 

The PTV website has several components that come together to build the complete output, with Silverstripe CMS playing the pivotal role in presenting page content. Using modules such as Elemental, Advanced workflow, Elastic Search and several custom built element types, content authoring is completely distributed within the organisation amongst business units. 

Behind the scenes there are other Silverstripe instances performing singular roles such as disruption management, and third party applications for providing departure information, which are integrated via APIs and delivered to a React managed frontend layer. Coupled to an API integration with the myki management backend, a user can manage their full journey from the website. 

The full solution is deployed to AWS across isolated environments, making use of automated scaling policies to ensure availability during critical times. All of this seemingly complex infrastructure environment is simplified by utilising Terraform to manage this environment state in code configuration assets. Coupled with Gitlab CI build pipelines for test execution and AMI building, we are able to go from a code review to production deployment in minutes.  



Tech Summary

Delivering content to millions of unique visitors a month provides fun challenges, and the opportunity to use a variety of tools to solve those problems. 

Technologies used in the PTV website

  • PHP7
  • Silverstripe CMS
  • React
  • Typescript
  • Javascript
  • Slim Framework
  • NodeJS
  • Elastic Search
  • Redis
  • AWS Lambda
  • AWS Pinpoint
  • AWS API Gateway
  • Terraform
  • Cloudflare


"With multiple systems in play, the role supporting the PTV website is not just one of technical aptitude, it is about working with stakeholders from across the business to ensure outcomes are met not just for stakeholders, but the Victorian commuter."

Marcus Nyeholt - Head of Technology - Cycling enthusiast

Team member

Marcus Nyeholt - Head of Technology - Cycling enthusiast

Read our process
A motif of six squares arranged in a grid pattern with three squares on top and three squares on the bottom

Supporting DoT

"Support" at this scale is not just about having a ticketing system that allows someone to email a question. It is ensuring we support people across the entire organisation to guarantee that their day ends better than it began. 

We're proud of our uptime record, but not complacent to the fact that network conditions can change minute to minute, and have established a trust relationship that allows for open and frank discussions of challenges as they arise, meaning that both organisations work in an outcomes focused manner to finding solutions. 

While supporting systems, we're also in daily contact with members of the day-to-day operational team. This could be a slack message like "this image looks off in IE11" to a phone call asking "how do we make it easier for someone to replace their myki" to a coffee catchup and wondering whether we like the new TFL colour scheme. 

By encouraging and fostering a healthy customer relationship, the process of dealing with bugs and issues instead become opportunities. 



Support Summary

Supporting a large site with many interconnected pieces is not just about technology. It extends to the teams and people, and working together for customer outcomes. 

Support tools we use with DoT:

  • Slack
  • Daily stand ups
  • JIRA
  • Confluence
  • Bitbucket
  • Service Now
  • Email
  • Mobile
  • Coffee!