One thing that I had heard on the grapevine before I moved south of the border was that Melbourne’s public transport system was far superior to Sydney’s.
Being a daily victim of cityrail’s lengthy delays, graffiti-ridden train carriages and busy stations, this was something that I was seriously looking forward to when I decided to make the move. And when I finally arrived in Melbourne, I thought my prayers had been answered.
As a relatively spread-out city with a huge emphasis on city-fringe neighbourhoods, Melbourne’s public transport system really is a well-thought out and expansive system of trains, trams and buses.
No matter your location you are within a short walk of a tram line, a bus stop or a train station that will get you in and out of the city with the utmost ease and convenience.
Trains are on time (most of the time), trams are easily tracked with the TramTracker iPhone/Android app, and buses…well, let’s just say if you’re on a tight schedule you’d better stick to trams and trains.
Melbourne Ticketing Revolution
Traditionally relying on MetCards for daily, weekly or monthly travel, in 2012 the “Myki” was introduced as a replacement for paper tickets and a cheaper, easier way to travel.
Based on London’s ‘Oyster Card’, the Myki is a multiple use plastic card that can be topped up or bought at public vending machines, offering the user ease of travel, no use for coins and a reduced rate of fare.
The use of the Myki never worried me too much as it was easy enough to use and served my purposes, but when a couple of friends were visiting from NSW recently a serious flaw in the Myki system was drawn to my attention: single trip or day passes are no longer available to visitors on trains.
We turned up at the train station for a day trip to the city only to be told that not only are day passes no longer available, but my visitors would have to BUY a Myki for $6, and that’s before they even paid for their fare.
With no other option they were forced to forfeit $10 each for a 15 minute train ride to the city, and got to take a home a lime-green souveneir of their encounter with Melbourne’s public transport system.
You’ll love every piece of Victoria … except maybe the public transport!
Public Transport Victoria may be great for residents, but is seriously impractical for the hundreds of thousands of visitor that grace this beautiful city each week.
So a note for visitors: Stick to the trams – they’re the only place daily Metcards are available.
Or even better, why not have a go of the Melbourne Bike Share bicycles scattered around the city! There’s no better way to explore Melbourne – especially now that Myki is here to stay.
For visitor usability I think the score’s at Cityrail: 1, Metlink: 0.