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Everything you need to know about Melbourne’s public transportation before coming here

Trinity College Foundation Studies

Tue Jul 19 2016


NEW to Melbourne’s public transportation? Trinity College Foundation Studies students Tian Hao Zhou and Tauriq Ahmad offer their beginner’s guide to the city’s public transportation services to help prepare new and incoming visitors to the city.


Learning how to use and access a country’s public transportation can be tricky anywhere you go. Melbourne’s public transport network is no different and for the many international students and visitors who come to the city for the first time, getting used to the trams, trains and buses can take some time to become accustomed to.

So for those new to Melbourne, here’s a simple breakdown on what to expect and how you can prepare for Melbourne’s public transportation system.

Myki cards 

Get used to using a myki card a lot. The card — which can be purchased at all 7-Eleven stores, selected retailers, and some train stations — is your ticket to getting around town. The myki cards come in to forms: myki pass and myki money.

The myki pass is for those who need to travel everyday and lets commuters travel as many times as they like in their designated zone(s). These passes are available as a seven day myki pass but also anywhere between 28 and 365 day-long passes.

Meanwhile, myki money will simply deduct the money from your myki account at the stations you travel at, utilising a “pay as you go” system. Based on where you touch on and off, the myki machines will calculate what the most ideal and cheapest fare is for you.

Topping up your myki

To put money back onto your myki and reload, you can do so at the very same places you buy your myki cards. 7-Elevens all around Melbourne will be able to top up your myki card as will other select retailers like chemists, milk bars or other convenience stores. Just keep an eye out for your local stores that have a sign stating they do myki top ups.

Some tram stops will have myki machines also for commuters to top up from, as will most train stations.

Unlike Melbourne’s old Metcard system however,there are no myki top up machines on trains, trams and buses unfortunately.

Photo: Andrew Culverston via Flickr

Your typical myki top-up station. These can be found at most train stations and tram stops. | Photo: Andrew Culverston via Flickr


Even locals have trouble with determining which zone they’re in or travelling towards. To put it simply, there are four types of zones to travel in: Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 1+2 and the Free Tram Zone.

Zone 1 typically covers everything within the city, the inner suburbs and some outer suburbs. Zone 2 meanwhile is typically for most outer suburbs. Zone 1+2 is for the odd suburbs here and there that overlap with one another while the Free Tram Zone is just that — an area in which commuters can travel freely without having to touch on or off.

With regards to the Free Tram Zone, it is only within the CBD. The primary boundaries of the Free Tram Zone are Spring St, Flinders St and La Trobe St but can also stretch out towards Docklands too. If you’re travelling beyond the Free Tram Zone, make sure that you touch on so as to not get caught by inspectors (no one wants to pay a hefty fine!).

Public Transport Victoria app

To know when to expect your next train, find a myki top up station or what line you should be getting on to get to uni, make sure you have the official Public Transport Victoria app on you!

The app also allows commuters to plan their journey and determine what the best and fastest route available to them is. You can also pull up an entire timetable of your desired line or route and see what times your preferred mode of public transport will arrive. The app is available on iOS and Android and is free to download.


Keep the above in mind for when you come to Melbourne for the first time and hopefully you’ll have a more manageable experience with Melbourne’s public transportation once you arrive! If you wish to learn more about myki and Melbourne’s transportation network, visit the official Public Transport Victoria website.

What other public transport tips would you recommend to students, tourists and other visitors making their way to Melbourne for the first time? Is there anything you wish someone would have told you about Melbourne’s public transport services that you wish you had known? Let us know in the comments below!

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via