Without question, one of the best reasons to live in Sydney is its diverse, clean and reliable transport system. With trams, buses, trains and ferries, there are plenty of transport options for getting around the city easily and efficiently.
Sydney’s light rail network consists of three lines that run across various parts of the city and surrounding areas: the L1 Dulwich Hill Line, the L2 Randwick Line and the L3 Kingsford line.
The L1 Dulwich Hill Line runs Monday to Sunday from 6am to 11pm (midnight on Fridays). The L2 Randwick Line and L3 Kingsford Lines run Monday to Sunday from 5am to 1am (including on public holidays).
The frequency of the trams varies depending on the line, day of the week and time of day. With this in mind, you can expect to wait between five and 20 minutes for a tram on average.
Sydney has several train lines from Central that head east, north, west and south from the Central Business District (CBD). There are plenty of stations along each line, so check the timetable to see if any are close to where you live.
The train system is an effective choice for accessing many hubs in the outer suburbs, including Bondi Junction, Mascot (Domestic and International Airport), Cronulla, Parramatta, Lidcombe, Chatswood and Hornsby.
To get to many of Sydney’s metropolitan areas, buses are the best option. Buses service almost all parts of Sydney and its outer suburbs, so it’s pretty likely there will be a bus stop near you.
Buses around Sydney vary in arrival times, usually averaging between 5-15 minutes at popular bus stops and ranging up to an hour in the outer suburbs.
If the bus has an L or X somewhere in the number, be careful! Some of these buses are express buses, meaning they won’t stop at certain bus stops. Check with the driver if you’re unsure.
Ferries cover almost every suburb that’s fronted by Sydney Harbour, including Manly, Balmain and Circular Quay, and even extend as far as Parramatta. The ferry system is one of the prettiest ways to get around the city, giving you a unique opportunity to soak up views of the city’s harbour, port and river system.
Tickets are a little more expensive than those for trams, trains or buses, but worth it for the scenery.
You can ride Sydney public transport using an Opal card, a contactless payment card or device (i.e. credit or debit card), or a single-use ticket. If you are using an Opal card, debit card or credit card, remember to tap on and off as fares are calculated based on the distance travelled. If you don’t do this, you may be charged a higher rate.
If you want to use Opal, you’ll need to purchase a card and load money onto it at a station or an authorised store such as 7-Eleven. Visit this website for information on where to buy and top up an Opal card.
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: Touch on before getting on the tram and touch off when you get off the trams. You will see the tap stations on the platform.
Ferries: Touch on before getting on the ferry and touch off at the station when you disembark.
It’s important to note that international students are generally not entitled to transport concessions in NSW unless their study is fully funded by specified Australian Government scholarships.
To get real-time travel information for buses, trains, light rail and ferries in Sydney, download the TripView app. Available from the App Store, Google Play and Windows Phone Store, it makes planning your travel around the city a lot easier. With information on delays, vehicle locations and service interruptions, it will help you select the best available option for your journey.
See the Transport NSW website for more information.