The most iconic form of public transport, Melbourne’s trams crisscross the CBD’s streets, and tendril outwards towards the suburbs. While upgrades in recent years have allowed the trams to cope with population growth better than the trains, its not uncommon for peak time travellers to encounter trams so crowded with commuters that there is no room for them to get on. This inconvenience aside, the trams in use are generally clean, and far more punctual than trains.
As trams can quickly fill, there is some etiquette that applies to make sure you and fellow travellers are as comfortable as possible (or as comfortable as you can be with a stranger’s armpit in your face). The front-most door is generally reserved for those exiting, but all other doors can be used for entry or exit. If you are getting on, it’s polite (and saves times) to wait until all passengers disembarking are off before stepping inside. Once inside, you should move as far away from the doors as possible to make sure that everyone waiting to get on has room to do so. While it’s usually not necessary in a full tram in the CBD, if you need to alert the driver to your wish to get off at the next stuck, trams are equipped with pull-lines and buttons to sound your intent.
As trams share roads with cars, it is law in Australia that all cars must stop when a tram does, to allow passengers to alight in the road and cross to the sidewalk. This does not always happen, so check carefully before you step off the tram and into traffic. Don’t forget, look to the left!
The City Circle tram (easily identified by its red colour and old-fashioned wooden style) is a free tram that runs around the city perimeter. These trams arrive at every stop on the City Circle route once every 20 minutes. You may jump on or off as you please without having to purchase a ticket. This can be a great way to take a first look at the city and familiarize yourself with tram travel and the inner city network.
All trams use the Metlink ticketing system, and as follow the same pricing principles as buses and trains. Tickets can be purchased on any tram, but machines usually only take coins, so it’s worth it to be prepared as fines for fare evasion can be very high. While trams have recently been fit with scanners for the new Myki system, at the time of writing these scanners were not fully functioning with the rest of the system.
Prices as of May 2010 are as follows. For current prices, see http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/
|Zones||Zone 1||Zone 2||Zones 1 & 2|
|2-Hour Full Fare||$3.70||$2.80||$5.80|
|Daily Full Fare||$6.80||$4.80||$10.60|
|10 X 2 /5 X Daily /Weekly Full Fare||$29.40||$20.20||$49.60|
|Monthly Full Fare||$109.60||$73.40||$169.00|
|Yearly Full Fare Only||$1173.00||$785.00||$1808.00|
For more information, or to determine stops, routes and timetables see http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/
Bikes are used more frequently in Melbourne than in any other city in Australia. The Melbourne City Council has responded to (and encouraged) the switch to bikes by creating increasing Bike Networks (paths and trails) in and around the city. There are very few designated bike lanes on inner city roads, though, so you will have to take your chances with the traffic.
When riding in the CBD, be especially careful of tram tracks, which are the perfect width to easily swallow or catch up a bike tire. These tracks have claimed more than one life of an unfocused cyclist in traffic over the years.
It’s also worth noting that bicyclists are also subject to the uniquely Melbournian traffic law of Hook Turns. Hook Turns have claimed just as many cyclists’ lives as tram tracks (if not more), when riders aren’t aware of the rules, or refuse to follow them. For more information on Hook Turns, see the Driving Rules section.
Buying / Renting
Renting a bike is possible in Melbourne, although the cheap and accessible Rent-And-Go systems enjoyed by many European cities don’t yet exist in here. A central alternative is the bike hire business found in Federation Square, across from Flinders Street Station.
Federation Square, Melbourne
0417 339 203
Given rental rates, you would be well advised to buy a second-hand bike. Decent used bikes can be found on Ebay or Gumtree for around $100.