Melbourne’s public transport system is envied across Australia. With 244km of tram lines weaving through the city and surrounds, you’re only a short (and sometimes free) ride away from your next lecture, tutorial or coffee catch-up.
We’ve put together this guide to help international students in Melbourne navigate the public transport system.
Unlike other Australian cities, Melbourne has an extensive tram network that stretches outward from the city centre. In fact, Melbourne’s network is
one of the largest in the world. There are 24 tram routes around Melbourne. During peak times, trams will run every seven to 10 minutes.
Trams are free within the centre of the city. To see which parts of the city the Free Tram Zone covers, check out Public Transport Victoria’s handy map.
@insiderguides If you’ve recently arrived in the city, you might be wondering how to take the tram in Melbourne 🚃 Well, we’re here to explain it in less than a minute! #melbourneaustralia #melbourne #melbourneaustralia🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺 #insiderguides #internationalstudents #melbournetram #publictransport #trammelbourne #melbournepublictransport ♬ Young Folks – Shindig Society
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.
Melbourne has 15 train lines stretching from the CBD into the outer suburbs. Trains 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. Melbourne is a large city, so for ticketing purposes, it has been divided into two ‘zones’. Zone 1 includes the CBD and the inner suburbs, while Zone 2 encompasses the outer suburbs.
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.
Travelling to and from regional Victoria has also never been more affordable. No matter where you live in Victoria, it will cost you the same amount to travel. The most you’ll pay is the same as a $10 metropolitan daily capped fare.
International Student Travel Pass
The International Student Travel Pass reduces the cost of travel for eligible international students by 50%. Save $975 on travel with a 365-day pass, $540 with a 180-day pass and $270 with a 90-day pass.
Check the PTV website to see if your institution is participating. International students are not entitled to general student concession fares in Victoria, and the International Student Travel Pass is the only discounted ticket available. Do not purchase student concession tickets as you risk being heavily fined.
The reusable myki 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, online, authorised store (including all 7-Eleven stores), 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 all your public transport enquiries, head to the PTV website. Here, you will find timetables, ticketing information, journey planners, maps, and phone numbers to call if you require information in a foreign language. If you prefer to speak to someone in person, you can visit the PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station, or call 1800 800 007.