If you’re keen to understand how trains, trams and buses work in the Victorian capital, we’ve put together a guide to public transport in Melbourne.

Public transport options in Melbourne

Trams

Unlike other Australian cities, Melbourne has an extensive tram network that stretches outward from the CBD. In fact, Melbourne’s network is one of the largest in the world. During peak times, trams will run every six to 10 minutes. The free City Circle tram runs approximately every 30 minutes.

There’s also a Free Tram Zone that operates in Melbourne’s CBD. If you’re only travelling within this zone, you don’t need to pay. To see which parts of the city the Free Tram Zone covers, check out Public Transport Victoria’s handy map.

Buses

The tram network rules central Melbourne, but if you live in the outer suburbs, then buses may be a better solution. Bus frequency varies depending on the time of day; popular routes are frequented every 10–15 minutes during peak times, and once every 20 or 30 minutes during the evenings.

Trains

Melbourne has 15 train lines stretching from the CBD into the outer suburbs. They are an effective solution for travelling to these outer suburbs but can become very busy during peak hours. On busy lines at peak hour, trains can run every four or five minutes. During off-peak times, some trains may only run every 20 minutes.

Ticketing

Melbourne is a large city, so for ticketing purposes, it has been divided into ‘zones’.

Metropolitan zones determine the myki fares for metropolitan trains, trams and buses. Metropolitan zones include:

  • Free Tram Zone (applies to trams only)
  • Zone 1
  • Zone 2
  • The Zone 1/2 boundary overlap

You can find out more about zones here.

iUSEpass

The iUSEpass reduces the cost of travel for international students by 50% on the cost of a full fare annual pass. Check with your institution to see if they are participating.

Myki Card

The reusable smart card is easy to use. Simply top up before your journey and then touch on at a myki reader as you travel.

A myki works a bit like a debit card: first, you’ll need to load money onto your myki at a myki machine, station ticket office or authorised store (including all 7-Eleven stores), online, or by calling 1800 800 007. For information on where to buy and top up a myki, click here.

Touching on and off

Trains: Touch on before getting on the train and touch off when you exit the station. 

Buses: Touch on when you board the bus and touch off when you disembark.

Trams: If you’re travelling in Zone 1+2, remember to touch on. You don’t need to touch off.

If you’re just travelling in the city’s Free Tram Zone, don’t touch on or off.

If you’re just travelling in Zone 2, touch on and off for a cheaper fare.