Transportation in Melbourne is quite interesting as the city has the world’s biggest tram network and several additional public transportation options. Especially in the city center, there’s no better way to get around than by public transportation!
As it’s the norm for cities in Australia, there are not a lot of long-distance rail services departing from or arriving in Melbourne. There’s a train service to Sydney and also one to Adelaide, but that’s basically it. However, Melbourne always had an extensive railway network connecting the city with its suburbs and several cities in the greater Melbourne area. At the moment, there are 16 electrified lines, which mainly terminate at Flinders Street Station in the city center of Melbourne. Several lines are partly running underground through the so-called Melbourne City Loop with five stations.
As there is no subway as such in Melbourne (leaving aside the Melbourne City Loop), most public transportation in the city center is organized by trams. Melbourne actually has the world’s largest tram network with a total of 25 routes, nearly 500 trams and more than 1.500 stations.
Most of the tram lines in Melbourne terminate in the city center and thus allow easy transportation from Melbourne to its suburbs. Something special about the tram network in Melbourne is the fact that there is a so-called free zone. In a specified zone in the city centre, you can use all tram lines without paying. If you are leaving the free zone, you have to pay however.
In addition to the many tram lines, buses are the backbone of the public transportation network in Melbourne. There are hundreds of bus lines, which mainly operate in the suburbs of Melbourne. The city center is dominated by trams, but there are a couple of bus lines as well. The latter are especially important for connecting the city center with suburbs not served by the tram and inter-connecting different suburbs with each other.
The trams and buses in Melbourne share one fare system and can be used with myki, a top-up card, which automatically calculates your fare depending on where you get on and where you get off your tram. Excluded from the public transportation system is the privately operated SkyBus, which connects the city center with Melbourne Airport and comes with a steep price of 18 AUD per way (35 AUD return).
If you don’t want to use public transportation in Melbourne, taxis might be your preferred option to get around. There’s not too much congestion in Melbourne usually, making taxis the quicker option to get from A to B compared to public transportation.
However, be aware that public transportation might be the better option in rush hour. While taxis in Melbourne are very safe and usually quite comfortable, you should be aware that the prices are quite high. An alternative to taking taxis in Melbourne is Uber, which is available all over the city. Usually, the prices for Uber are a little lower, while the comfort is comparable.
When it comes to alternative means of transportation, there are quite some options in Melbourne. There is a bike sharing service as well as several touristic options including sightseeing buses.
If you like ferries, you may also use the Westgate Punt from Spotswood Jetty to the Port of Melbourne or the French Island Ferry.