Perth’s public transport system is clean, reliable, and easy to use.
With free inner-city bus routes and an extensive network of trains, buses and ferries connecting you to the outer suburbs, you won’t have any problems making your way around the city. Plus, with a significant discount for tertiary students of participating institutions, it’s a cheap way to travel.
Perth’s network of more than 282 bus routes gives you access to almost every corner of the Perth metro area. Services into and out of the city centre generally leave every 15 minutes but often run more frequently at busier times of the day. If you’re travelling on the weekend, make sure to check your timetable carefully as these times do change outside of business hours. You can keep up to date with bus times by checking the Transperth app and website.
You can expect to pay around $1.12 for short journeys and up to $4.48 for an all-day ticket. There are also a number of free public transport routes in Perth. The 10 free bus routes are called CAT buses. CAT bus routes run in loops around the Perth, East Perth, West Perth, Leederville, and Fremantle areas. In early 2022, this service will include a new Purple CAT bus that will trace from Elizabeth Quay Bus Station to Perth Children’s Hospital, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and The University of Western Australia.
There are six main train lines that connect the different areas of the Perth metro region. Named after their final destinations, these lines consist of the Mandurah, Fremantle, Midland, Armadale, Thornlie, and Joondalup lines. All stopping at Perth Station in the city centre, you can easily access all these train lines from one place.
Like the bus system, Perth’s train lines run regularly during business hours and less frequently outside of business hours. You will find that trains run every few minutes in particularly busy periods and extend to around one every 15 minutes in quieter periods. Again, you can check the train timetables and live times on the Transperth website and app.
Plus, Perth’s city rail network has been rated the best in Australia and Perth rail passengers are the most satisfied in the country (a ranking Transperth has held for seven years!).
If you happen to be travelling to or from South Perth, you have the option to take the ferry across the river. Round-trip journeys cross the river every 30 minutes from the Barrack Street jetty on the city side to the Mends Street jetty in South Perth. The bus might be a little quicker, but the view from the river is worth it.
There are a few different options when it comes to buying public transport tickets. You can purchase a ticket onboard any bus with cash, or with cash or card from any train station.
Your other (cheaper and much easier option) is to organise a prepaid Perth public transport card for yourself. These preloaded cards are called a Transperth SmartRider and they let you add money to the card before a journey. Simply keep the card topped up with funds and you’re good to go! Just remember to tap on and off at the beginning and end of every journey using the green SmartRider machine.
If you’re someone that frequently forgets to load their SmartRider with funds, Autoload is a great option. Autoload enables a direct debit to be made automatically from a nominated bank account or credit card to your SmartRider card account when the balance on your card falls below $6 (standard users) and $3 (concession users). You can get a 20 per cent discount on fares with Autoload.
If you’re a full-time tertiary education student at a Western Australian university or TAFE, you also have access to a Tertiary SmartRider card. With the Tertiary SmartRider, you receive concession fares, which are significantly cheaper than the fares on a Standard SmartRider. Note: Transperth doesn’t accept student identification from your educational institution as proof that you are a full-time tertiary student. If you want a concession fare, you must carry your Tertiary SmartRider with you, even if you buy a cash ticket. No other form of concession will be accepted.
The process for getting a Tertiary SmartRider depends on whether you attend a participating or non-participating institution. Participating institutions have an arrangement with Transperth to automatically update your enrolment status and concession entitlements, making it a fairly easy process to get your Tertiary Smartrider. For more details, and to check if your university or TAFE is a participating institution, head to the Transperth website.
All of Perth’s public trains, buses and ferries are run by Transperth. You can access information about ticketing, timetables, routes, and maps on their website. You can also download the Transperth public transport app to access live bus, train, and ferry arrival times conveniently from your phone.