Written by Patricia Poppenbeek.
There are two forms of free transport by tram in the CBD:
1. The City Circle trams http://ptv.vic.gov.au/route/view/1112
These are vintage trams painted maroon and yellow, and helpfully titled ‘City Circle tram’. An audio commentary provides details of city landmarks and major attractions such as the City Museum, Parliament House, Docklands, Federation Square, Melbourne Aquarium and the Princess Theatre. Information leaflets are available on board each City Circle Tram. To catch a City Circle Tram service (route number 35), simply board the tram at any of the specially marked stops on the route. Anti-clockwise service goes Flinders Street > Spring Street > Nicholson Street > Victoria Parade > La Trobe Street > Docklands Drive > Harbour Esplanade > Flinders Street. Trams run in both directions approximately every twelve minutes between 10am and 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and extended hours, 10am – 9pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
2. The free tram zone in the CBD. The principal boundaries of the Free Tram Zone are Spring Street, Flinders Street and La Trobe Street. The tram routes along Victoria Street, William Street and Elizabeth Street that surround Victoria Market are also included as well as the Docklands area. The free tram zone is indicated on tram stops and there will also be an announcement by the driver that you are leaving it. A map of this is available on http://ptv.vic.gov.au/getting-around/maps/. Outside this area you must use a myki card, which you must validate on every trip. See below for details.
Trams are a fun way to get round the city, but beware peak hours. They will be crowded. Use the super stops if you are disabled. These have raised platforms and ramps and are designed for people with mobility issues.
This is a travel card you must use on all public transport in Melbourne and surrounds. Annoyingly, you must pay both for the card ($6 full, $3 concession) and the fares. Fares vary according to how far you travel and how long you travel for and is so complicated most Melbournians just put a certain amount on the card (e.g. $20) and top it up with extra cash when needed. Cash can be credited to MYKI cards at most train stations, outlets that sell MYKI cards or online —but note that it can take 24 hours for this to register if you take the online option. Grrr … See further details on http://ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/myki
If you plan to travel outside the Melbourne CBD free zone, the easiest place to buy a ticket from is Parliament Station, which is the closest major underground station to the conference venue, or the nearest 7-Eleven store.
You must touch the card on the touch pad before travelling on all trains and buses and touch off when you alight.
On trams you must touch the card on but don’t need to touch off (no, we don’t know why).
You know it has been successfully touched on because it will make a little beeping noise and a sign in very small print will indicate that you have successfully touched on (congrats!) and how much money is left on you MYKI card. Make sure you wait for this to verify you have in fact validated your ticket to travel.
If you’re caught without a myki card or one which (accidentally or deliberately) has not been touched on, you will be given a hurtful on-the-spot fine.
Online App’s, transport maps and schedules are available from Public Transport Website http://ptv.vic.gov.au/getting-around/mobile-apps/ If in doubt, ask a Metro employee at one of the train stations for assistance.
Depending on how far you want to travel and which attractions you want to go to, you might consider buying a myki Visitor Value Pack from the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square, SkyBus terminals at Melbourne Airport, Southern Cross Station or the PTV Hubs, plus some hotels. See
http://ptv.vic.gov.au/getting-around/visiting-melbourne /. These packs also give discount offers to some attractions but are only valid for one day. So do your sums first. It might be cheaper just to use the free trams or the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle bus.
The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle bus completes a 90 minute circuit around Melbourne and runs every 30 minutes from 9.30am – 4.30pm daily. For $5, you can hop on and hop off at any of the 13 stops. Each point of interest is only a short walk or tram ride away. Download the shuttle route brochure (PDF 3.2MB) or pick up a copy at the Melbourne Visitor Centre. From the Melbourne Visitor Centre and the Melbourne Visitor Booth, the closest stop to board the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle is Stop 2 – Federation Square. www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/visitors/transport/shuttle/Pages/VisitorShuttle.aspx