Melbourne’s public transport system of metropolitan trains, trams and buses is privatised.
For timetables, maps and fares call Public Transport Victoria on 1800 800 007 between 6.00 am and midnight seven days a week, or visit www.ptv.vic.gov.au
The PTV Hub (Southern Cross Station, near entrance at Collins and Spencer streets) has public transport information. The Hub is open Monday to Friday 7.00am-7.00pm and Saturday and Sunday 9.00am-6.00pm.
On Friday and Saturday nights after the trains, trams and buses stop running (roughly around 1.30am), NightRider buses depart at least every 30 minutes to suburban destination from the corner of Flinders Lane and Swanston Street. Buses run every 30 minutes from 1.30 am – 4.30 am on Saturday and 1.30 am – 5.30 am on Sunday, with additional services on some routes.
City parking costs from $2 per hour. Read parking signs for restrictions and times, and if your car is parked in a ‘clearway’ zone, which operates during peak hours, move it, otherwise it will be towed. The visitor information centre has information about city parking spots.
Avis (13 63 33; www.avis.com.au), Budget (1300 362 848; www.budgetaustralia.com), Europcar (1300 131 390; www. europcar.com.au), Hertz (13 30 39; www.hertz.com) and Thrifty (1300 367 227; www.thrifty.com.au) have desks at the airport and in city-centre locations.
For cheap, secondhand rentals in varying conditions, try Rent-a-Bomb (13 15 53; www.rentabomb.com.au), which requires no bond and doesn’t have a driver age limit. Rates start as low as $35 per day, but make sure you read the fine print.
CityLink (13 26 29; www.transurban.com.au) has two main sections: the western link that runs from the Calder Hwy intersection of the Tullamarine Fwy to join the Westgate Fwy; and the southern link that runs from Kings Way, on the southern edge of the CBD, to the Monash Fwy. Both sections are toll ways.
Tolls are ‘collected’ electronically by overhead readers from a transponder card (an e-Tag). If you don’t have an e-Tag, you can purchase a day pass ($10.90), which is valid for 24 hours from your first trip on any CityLink section, or a weekend pass ($10.90), which is valid from noon Friday to midnight Sunday. If you only intend to use the western link to travel to/from Melbourne airport, you can purchase a Tulla Pass ($3.90). Day and weekend passes can be purchased at any post office, Shell service station, CityLink customer service centre, over the internet or over the phone. Travelling without payment cops a $100 fine.
Motorcycles can use CityLink for free.
myki is Melbourne’s ticket to travel on the city’s metropolitan trains, trams and buses. It is a durable smartcard that is topped up and used again and again. myki cards are available from all Premium Station ticket offices, around 800 retailers including all 7-Eleven stores, online at www.ptv.vic.gov.au or by calling PTV on 1800 800 007. Full fare myki cards are available to buy from myki machines at all metropolitan train stations and major tram and bus interchanges.
Cards can be topped up at all of these sales channels, while starting in 2013, top up will be possible via bus drivers.
The metropolitan area is divided into two zones. Zone 1 covers the city and inner-suburban area (including St Kilda) and most visitors won’t venture beyond that unless they’re going right out of town. By touching on and touching off with their myki, passengers automatically pay the lowest fare. Fares are based on 2-hour and daily caps, with special weekend and public holiday caps. Current fares information is available at www.ptv.vic.gov.au or you can pick up a Public Transport Fares Guide from Premium Stations.
Melbourne’s a great city for cycling, as it’s reasonably flat and there are great routes throughout the metropolitan area. Bicycles can be taken on suburban trains for free during off-peak times. Slippery tram tracks are a major hazard for Melbourne cyclists, though. Cross them on a sufficient angle to prevent your tyre falling into the track.