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Destination guides > Australia > Victoria > Melbourne > Local transport

Melbourne

Local transport

Melbourne’s public transport system is operated by several companies collectively known

as Metlink and is comprised of buses, trams and trains.

BUS

Buses take you everywhere that isn’t covered by trams or trains, although it is unlikely

that you’ll need to travel by bus.


One bus you are likely to use is the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle. This is a free bus

that runs every 15 to 20 minutes between 9.30am and 4.30pm stopping at 11 points of

interest. Stops include NGV International, Federation Square, Melbourne Museum, Lygon

Street, Melbourne University, Queen Victoria Market, Southbank and the Shrine of

Remembrance.

TRAM

Most travellers find trams the most useful way to get around the city. They slowly rattle
down the major streets and cover most inner city neighbourhoods. Trams are particularly

useful for travelling between the city centre, South Melbourne and St Kilda.


The best deal is the free City Circle tram, which runs a circular route around the city

centre along Flinders, La Trobe, Spencer and Spring Streets.

tram on Collins Street, Melbourne

TRAIN

Trains are a good way to get to the outer suburbs. The five stations on the underground

city loop serve as the core of Melbourne’s extensive suburban train network of 232

stations. Taking a train is a handy way to get out to the choice hitchhiking spots on the

edge of town, for catching the Phillip Island ferry at Stony Point, for visiting friends

or going to job interviews in the suburbs.

FARES

The Metcard ticketing system allows you to transfer between these three modes of

transport within a two-hour, daily, weekly or monthly period. The Melbourne area is

divided into two fare zones, with virtually everything of interest located within Zone

One.


Two-hour tickets are valid for two hours from the next full hour. For instance a ticket

purchased or validated at 10.55am expires at 1pm, but if you wait 10 minutes and validate

your ticket at 11.05am it will not expire until 2pm. Two-hour tickets are valid until 2am

the next morning if validated after 6pm.


A limited range of tickets is available from buses, trams and at the machines at some of

the smaller train stations. The full range of tickets is available from major train

stations and many convenience stores. Note that some ticket machines only accept coins.
Refer to the following table for ticket prices:

 

Metlink two-hour, daily and weekly tickets
Zones two hour ticket daily pass weekly pass

One

$3.80

$7

$30.20

Two

$2.90

$5

$20.80

One & Two

$6

$11

$51

 

The two-hour and daily tickets are cheaper if you buy a multi-trip ticket that bundles

either 10 two-hour tickets or five daily tickets. This is often the best ticket option if

you’re staying a while in Melbourne, but don’t need to use public transport every day.

Prices for these tickets are as follows:

 

Metlink 10 X 2-hour and 5 X daily tickets
Zones 10 X two-hour ticket 5 X daily ticket

One

$30.20

$30.20

Two

$20.80

$20.80

One & Two

$51

$51

 


Another option is the City Saver ticket, which is good for a single trip within the city

centre and some inner city neighbourhoods. This ticket costs $2.90 or $22.40 for 10 City

Saver tickets.

Myki

Myki is a new ticketing system similar to London's Oyster card, which is in the process of being introduced.

 

A blank Myki card costs $10, which can be used to buy travel at a cheaper rate than a regular Metcard. Fares are capped to a daily maximum of $6.04 for travel in zone one and $10.20 for travel in zones one and two.

 

The Myki card is a good travel option if you're planning on spending considerable time in Melbourne. It can be used for travel on buses, trams and Metro trains.

 

Myki also works on local bus transport services in regional Victorian cities including Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and the Latrobe Valley.

MELBOURNE BIKE SHARE

Melbourne Bike Share is Melbourne's new bicycle share programme where you can pick up bicycles from pods around the city.

 

The pricing structure is comprised of a subscription fee ($2.50 per day, $8 per week or $50 per year) plus a fee for the time you use the bike (first 30 minutes free; 31-60 minutes $2; 61-90 minutes $5; every additional half hour $10).

 

The idea is that you just use the service for short trips (free for trips shorter than half an hour), that way you should never need to pay more than the subscription fee.

 

There are currently 10 pods in the city centre with plans to extend the network to 50 pods. However, it only operates within the City of Melbourne; which means that you can't pick up or drop off a bike outside the city limits (which rules out trips to neighbourhoods like Richmond, South Yarra or St Kilda).

 

The major drawback with the Melbourne Bike Share programme, compared with bicycle share programmes elsewhere in the world, is that by law you are required to wear a bicycle helmet in Australia. That takes away the spontaneous nature of the programme and it means that you need to buy a helmet and carry it around with you just in case you need to use a bike. Fortunately the Melbourne Bike Share programme sell cheap helmets, which cost just $5 (with a $3 deposit when you return it to some 7-Eleven stores in the city centre). You can buy these helmets from vending machines at Southern Cross station as well as from many 7-Eleven convenience stores and IGA supermarkets around the city centre.

DRIVING

Melbourne is one of Australia’s more challenging cities to drive in as you will be

sharing the road with trams.


Whenever a tram stops at a tram stop you must also come to a complete stop and wait until the tram leaves the tram stop before you start moving again, so people can alight safely. This is not necessary at many of the tram stops in the city centre which have a barrier called a Safety Zone or when you are travelling in the opposite direction to the tram.
If you’re driving in the rain, avoid braking on tram tracks. They can be very slippery.

Citylink & Eastlink

Melbourne has a couple of toll roads that are a quick way to get in and out of the city.

The Citylink (tel 13 26 29) tollway runs from Tullamarine Freeway at Bell Street to the Westgate Freeway and also from the city centre to the Monash Freeway up to Toorak Road. The Eastlink (tel 13 54 65 (13 LINK)) tollway runs north-south in the eastern suburbs between Ringwood and Frankston. The electronic payment system ensures that there are no queues at tollbooths and is a convenient system for residents, but for visitors to Melbourne it is much less convenient. Residents using Citylink or Eastlink affix an electronic device to their windscreen (called an eTag on Citylink and a Breeze Tag on Eastlink), which automatically debits the toll from their account.


If you’re just visiting Melbourne, it is inconvenient and expensive to buy an eTag and it

is a better idea to buy a 24-hour or weekend Citylink pass for $11.55 that allows you to

use Citylink for either a 24-hour period during weekdays or all weekend. Passes are

available from Citylink offices, Post Offices and from machines inside most Shell service

stations around Melbourne. You have until the following morning after driving on Citylink

to pay for your Citylink pass. Passes can also be ordered by calling 13 26 29 or online

at www.citylink.com.au. There are heavy fines if you do not pay. A one-way pass for

travel on Eastlink costs $4.96, you can pay for an Eastlink pass at post offices and

Coles Express service stations or by phoning 13 54 65 (13 LINK).

 

There are alternate routes if you want to avoid the tolls. Going to the airport from the

city centre, you can avoid Citylink by getting on the West Gate Freeway at Power Street

or Kings Way and heading west and then taking the Western Ring Road north to the

Tullamarine Freeway. If you’re heading to Gippsland, Phillip Island or the southeastern

suburbs, you can get to the Monash Freeway via Toorak Road. You can avoid Eastlink by

taking either Springvale or Stud Roads instead.

 


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