Canberra’s population is spread across a large area so many people rely on cars and bicycles to get around. However, Canberra’s public transport system is another excellent option. Buses are available in key regions and the light rail acts as an additional option for many commuters.
Buses are the primary public transport option for getting around Canberra. The city isn’t designed in a grid pattern like most other capitals but is a network of town centres and suburbs branching out from Civic.
Canberra’s public bus service operates from four bus interchanges at Civic, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Woden, which have regular routes to and from Civic and other town centres.
When you board the bus you can either pay cash for your fare or use the prepaid MyWay card. We’ll discuss fares and ticketing options in greater detail in one of the following sections.
Canberra is home to an exceptional light rail system, which allows you to travel seamlessly from Canberra City (Alinga Street) to North Canberra (Gungahlin Place). The light rail network is set to be expanded to more areas in the coming years, including Fyshwick and Woden. You can find the full list of Canberra light rail stops here.
The frequency of trams varies depending on the line, day of the week and time of day. However, according to the Canberra Metro frequency guide, you can expect to wait between five and 15 minutes for a tram on average.
On buses and trams, all single-trip fares give you travel on any bus for a 90-minute period from the time of payment. Fares are cheaper for MyWay card users,
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, when using the MyWay card, you must tap off the bus when you get off. If you forget to tap off, you’ll be charged the maximum fare rate.
Getting your MyWay
You can apply for a MyWay tertiary student card at either a tertiary agent at The University of Canberra (UC), Australian National University (ANU) or Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) Reid, or at any Access Canberra Service Centre. You can also apply online through the Transport Canberra website.
When you apply you’ll have to show your tertiary student ID card to prove you’re entitled to the cheaper student fare rate. This card must include your full name, photo, proof of full-time status, and be issued by an Australian education provider. You can also add money to your card when you apply.
When it’s time to recharge, either do so online, at a MyWay recharge agent or an Access Canberra Service Centre.
To plan your bus or light rail route, visit the Transport Canberra website. You can also see in real time which buses are due within the next 90 minutes by jumping online and using the NXTBUS service. 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 take your bike on the light rail, too – it will just need to be placed in the allocated bike rack onboard.