Canberra’s population is spread across a large area so many people rely on cars and bicycles. The bus system is available in key regions and the introduction of light rail provides 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 rather 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. 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, 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.
Canberra’s new light rail system, Canberra Metro, is now open. It provides a quick, direct way to travel between Civic and Gungahlin (the route goes through Braddon, Dickson and Lyneham). Stage two to the city’s south will commence in 2020.
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 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 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 at 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 on-board.