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 is free service 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, concession card holders and Australian seniors. The cost of this 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 each visitor more than $130.

(For further details, see   http://ptv.vic.gov.au/  - and the article entitled "Public Transportation" - on the right.)

The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle could be a great way to explore inner city Melbourne. This service provides an audio commentary that shares stories of the city's past and present. You may hop on and off at any of the 13 stops along the route (between 9.30am and 3.45pm from Stop 1) and enjoy the bustling markets, cultural precincts, lush gardens, shopping arcades, sporting stadiums and more. Tickets cost $10, are valid for two days and children under 9  travel free. The shuttle runs every 30 minutes and a full journey takes 90 minutes. Tickets may be purchased on line, at the Melbourne Visitor Centre, or at the ticket machines located at each stop.  http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/visi...

You may also make use of free Wi-Fi during your journey. 

An "app" called TripGo may also be checked for a comparison of all your transport options, combining public and private modes to give you the most suitable plans depending on your priorities (budget or convenience).

Trams (Street-Cars) 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" and "touch off".

In the Melbourne Central Busines District (CBD) a Free Tram Zone exists. This zone includes the area from Queen Victoria Market, across to Victoria Harbour in Docklands, up to Spring Street and over to Flinders Street Station and Federation Square, with the "Free Tram Zone" stops clrearely marked.  If traveling completely within this zone, it is not necessart validate your Myki card when entering or leaving the tram. But if your journey extends beyond the free zone you must touch on as normal. 

In addition to this, 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 and are painted in a distinctive colour scheme.  

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 because those in the outer areas do stop running earlier and the last service back to the city arrives at around midnight. There is now a "night network" on selected train, tram and bus routes that runs in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings.

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 many 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.

 

See also Melbourne Public Transportation for more information,