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To get around Melbourne using public transport (trams, buses and trains) it is necessary for all visitors to purchase a Myki smartcard There are no longer "tickets" available for purchase. The City Circle Tram and the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle Bus are free services but please note that Myki is not valid on the Skybus to and from Melbourne Airport.
A Myki smartcard costs A$6 for adults and $3 for children, concesscion card holders and Australian seniors. The card is non refundable. When purchased, it needs to be "loaded" with stored value "Myki Money". Later, it can be "topped up" from a blue Myki machine, located at all train stations and major tram and bus interchanges, as well as about 800 retailers, including all 7-Eleven stores, the ticket office window at Premium stations (those staffed for all trains, which include all stations in the CBD) and staffed V/Line commuter stations.
A "Visitor Pack" (A$14) is also available from the Melbourne
Visitor Centre at Federation Square, SkyBus terminals at Melbourne Airport and from the PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station. The pack includes a Myki smartcard, pre-loaded with A$8 of stored value
"Myki Money", a public transport map, information on how to use
Myki and discount offers at 15 attractions including Melbourne Aquarium,
the National Sports Museum, Eureka Skydeck and Puffing Billy, which may save
visitors more than $130.
(For further details, see http://ptv.vic.gov.au/ - and the article entitled "Public Transportation" - on the right.)
The free City Circle tram (route 35) is a big drawcard and runs every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday. City Circle trams are the old (50-70 years) W class type, painted in a distinctive colour scheme.
Trams are a well-loved feature of the city and are very easy to use. Just hop on and off, using your Miyki smartcard to “touch on".
While fares are not based directly on distance travelled but (largely) on time taken, there are two Fare Zones (Inner Zone 1 and Outer Zone 2). When you travel with Myki on a tram (only) you do not always need to "touch off" shortly before you get off - because you can now travel from one end of a tram route to the other on a Zone 1 fare. On three tram routes, however, (75, 86 and 109) the ends of the line furthest from the city have a short Zone 2 section (with some overlap with Zone 1). If your tram trip is entirely within Zone 2 you must "touch on" and "touch off" in Zone 2 to get the lower Zone 2 fare - otherwise there is no need to "touch off" on a tram (which is useful in easing congestion at the doorways). If in doubt, "touch-off."
Make sure that, if you are far from your hotel, you leave in time to make it to the tram back becuase those in the outer areas do stop running earlier and the last service back to the city arrives at around midnight.
Fare evasion is a big problem in Melbourne and ticket inspectors (Authorised Officers) regularly patrol vehicles and stations. Trying to avoid paying a fare isn't recommended. The ticket inspectors have a difficult job to do but are approachable and, as their duties permit, will assist a visitor who may be confused by Melbourne's public transport and its Myki smartcard system.
Melbourne is a motorised suburban metropolis and most residents prefer to travel by car. Traffic congestion can be horrendous and does delay public transport, especially trams. However, visitors will find Melbourne's public transport system both good to use and generally safe.