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Getting around in Melbourne is easy thanks to an efficient public transport system that includes rail, tram and bus services. The wealth of options available provides new arrivals with an excellent opportunity to get to grips with the metropolis.
Along with frequent daytime stops, trams, trains and buses all have a 'Night Network' service every 30 to 60 minutes.
However, those living in some of the more isolated suburbs of Melbourne might find it handy to have their own wheels. Expats should research transport options thoroughly when considering where to live in Melbourne.
Public transport in Melbourne
Melbourne has an integrated public transport ticketing system which is based on the use of a contactless, reusable smartcard. The Myki smartcard can be used on all of Melbourne’s trains, trams or buses.
Commuters can store a weekly, monthly or annual Myki pass on the smart card, or they can load the card with Myki money which can be used to pay for single journeys. When one's Myki money balance gets low or when the pass runs out, commuters simply top up at a station or Myki vendor.
Trams in Melbourne are frequent, although the trams servicing areas further away from the city centre tend to be somewhat less reliable. There are two free tram routes in Melbourne: the Free Tram Zone in the CBD and the Free Tourist Tram which stops at various attractions in the city.
Melbourne’s rail network consists of 16 railway lines and over 200 stations. Regional services are also available, with seven passenger railway lines connecting Melbourne to various towns and cities in Victoria. The centre of this regional passenger rail network is Southern Cross Station in Melbourne’s city centre.
The bus network in Melbourne consists of buses operated by a number of different bus companies under a franchise from the state government. There are almost 300 bus routes in operation, some of which provide transport for the outer suburbs of Melbourne that aren't reached by train and tram services.
Taxis in Melbourne
Melbourne has a fleet of bright yellow taxis which operate according to a meter system. Fares are regulated by the government, so there's no risk of being overcharged, but taxis are still definitely the city’s most expensive mode of transport.
There can sometimes be an issue with taxi availability, particularly during peak hours, so it's best to pre-book ahead of time if possible.
Ride-hailing services such as Uber are also widely available throughout Melbourne and its outlying suburbs.
Driving in Melbourne
Expats living further away from Melbourne’s inner city will find having a car quite convenient, though the city’s highways and roads are known to become congested during peak hours.
Driving in Melbourne is fairly straightforward, especially for those who are used to driving on the left-hand side of the road. One difference which expats might need to get used to is sharing the road with tram services.
Cycling in Melbourne
Melbourne is a cycle-friendly city and has an extensive network of bicycle paths and cycle lanes. These are utilised regularly for commuting to and from work, and for recreation.
Melbourne also has an innovative electric-bicycle-sharing system known as JUMP. Anyone wishing to hire a JUMP bike can do so through the Uber app.
Are you an expat living in Melbourne?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Melbourne. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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