Understanding your transport options is an important concept when you arrive in a new place. Whether it is getting to university or exploring the city’s neighbourhoods, read on to discover Canberra’s transport system.

Ticketing

When you board an ACTION bus, you can either pay cash for your fare or use the prepaid MyWay card. All single trip fares give you travel on any ACTION bus for a 90-minute period from the time of payment. Fares are cheaper for MyWay card users, who pay around $1.50 less than a cash fare. All you have to do is touch your MyWay card against the validator inside the bus, and the fare will be automatically deducted from the value on your card. It’s important to remember that a condition of using the MyWay card is that you also need to tag off the bus when you get off. If you forget to tag off, you’ll be charged the maximum fare rate so make sure you get into the habit of doing this.

Types of Ticket

University students are eligible for subsidised student fares. Tertiary student prices are different depending on whether it’s a weekend or a weekday. During the week you’ll pay a maximum of $4.30 per day for bus travel using your MyWay card, while fares on weekends are half this price. Fares also change depending on the time of the day. Travelling during off-peak hours, which are weekdays 9 am – 4.30 pm, after 6 pm and all day on weekends and public holidays, is cheaper.

Getting your MyWay

You can apply for a MyWay tertiary student card at either a tertiary agent located at University of Canberra, Australian National University or CIT Reid, or at any Canberra Connect shop. You can also apply using an online application form through the Transport ACT website. When you apply, you’ll have to show your student ID card to prove you’re entitled to the cheaper student fare rate. You can also add money onto your card when you apply. When it’s time to recharge, either do so online, at a MyWay recharge agent or a Canberra Connect Shop.

Buses

Buses are the only public transport option for getting around Canberra. The city isn’t designed in a grid pattern like most other capitals but is rather a network of town centres and suburbs branching out from Civic. Canberra’s public bus service is called ACTION buses and operates from four bus interchanges at Civic, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Woden, which have regular routes to and from Civic and other town centres. If you need to take your bike on the bus, look out for the Blue Rapid or Red Rapid services, which have specially designed, carry racks. You can either pay cash for a ticket when you board or use a MyWay prepaid smartcard. To plan your route visit action.act.gov.au or ask the driver where they’re heading if you’re unsure of the bus’s destination. You can also see in real time which buses are due within the next 90 minutes by jumping online and using ACTION’s NXTBUS service.

Bikes

The first thing to do when buying a bike is to determine how often and where you will do your riding. This will help you decide what style of bicycle to purchase. Once you have established this, you can figure out whether you want to buy new or second-hand. It is illegal to ride in Australia without a helmet, and you must have a light on your bike if you plan to ride at night. Canberra features extensive bike paths or bike lanes throughout the city. Make sure you stay in these lanes while riding and obey all the relevant road rules. Visit the Transport and Municipal Services website to check the rules in detail. Bike hire is available in multiple locations across Canberra, including Mr Spokes on the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin. If mountain biking is more your style, check out Capital Bicycle Hire. ACTION has a BIKE ‘n RIDE policy to encourage commuters to combine bike riding and a bus trip on the same journey. Many bus stops have free facilities that allow you to lock your bicycle in a bike cage or locker during the day before transferring to the bus for the rest of your trip. Bike racks are also installed on some ACTION buses and allow up to two riders to secure their bike to the front of the bus. Foldable bikes specially designed for public transport are also generally allowed on buses.