Are you planning to visit Australia or migrating here from abroad? Then do not hesitate to read this post where we will tell you how to use public transport in Australia's biggest cities.

Getting around Australia's public transport system

Australian public transport works essentially with a magnetic card, which can be used for travel on buses, trains, metros, trams and ferries. Once you have charged your credit, you pay each time you want to travel by placing the card close to the terminal and travelling to the different destinations. It is a fairly well known system around the world, but you must take into account some particular characteristics of Australia:

Public Transport in Victoria: Getting Around Melbourne

Myki public transport system in Australia

In Melbourne, the public transport network is operated by Myki. A physical card that is topped up and used to pay for train, tram and bus fares in the city of Melbourne, Australia.

Myki card Melbourne Public Transport

In which areas of Melbourne is Myki available?

Myki system serves the Melbourne metropolitan area and covers Eaglehawk/Epsom, Seymour, Traralgon, Waurn Ponds and Wendoureem, plus Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Latrobe Valley.

How to start using your Myki card to travel on public transport in Melbourne?

To use your Myki you must create an account and register the card.
You can register a new Myki to an existing account or create a new one. You can manage up to 8 Mykis through a single account.

You can register online, via the PTV app or by calling 1800 800 007. Registration is immediate. You will need to provide your 15-digit myki number to register.

With a registered Myki you will be able to check your Myki balance, top up your Myki, buy a Myki, receive notifications when your Myki is about to expire and more.

There are different types of Myki cards, for adults and children, for seniors and students. Each group has different rates.

What are the means of public transport in Melbourne?

With Myki you can travel by bus, train and tram around the city and its suburbs. The train runs throughout the city and is an alternative way to travel. By bus, you can reach areas where the train does not go, such as the suburbs. And lastly, the tram also runs throughout the city and is highly recommended for getting around the city.

With Myki you can travel in Melbourne on:
- trains, trams and buses.
- V/Line trains between metropolitan Melbourne and Eaglehawk/Epsom, Seymour, Traralgon, Waurn Ponds and Wendouree.
- Buses within Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and the Latrobe Valley.

Tap on tap off System

Just like Opal, you need to bring the card close to the reader, wait for the beep and check that a green light is displayed, meaning that the payment has been processed successfully. When paying the fare with the mobile app, you must place your mobile 1 cm away from the terminal until you hear the beep, observe the green light on the terminal and then a tick will appear on the screen of your mobile phone indicating that you have successfully tapped.

How to top up your Myki

Top up your Myki Money and buy a Myki Pass with your online account. You can also set up automatic top-up, which will automatically top up your Myki with Myki Money whenever it falls below the chosen minimum amount. Just choose the amount to top up, set the minimum threshold and that's it.

You can buy a physical card for AUD 6 and load credit at:

Shops, Myki Machines at selected stations and stops, via the app on their Android phone, at premium station ticket offices, at PTV hubs, online, by calling 1800 800 007 or by setting automatic top up.

Then you can pay for your fare by holding your Myki card up to the reader on the bus.
You can also use the digital card through the app for Android mobile phones called Mobile Myki. If you have an Iphone, you can add your Myki card to your Apple Wallet. You just hold your mobile phone up to the reader and pay the fare.

How much does it cost to travel through Myki?

The fare for your trip will depend on:

  • The travel distance and the final destination. How much you pay to travel on trains, trams and buses depends on where and how you're travelling. The metropolitan area is Melbourne and its suburbs, and the rest of Victoria is set as regional.
  • The type of ticket you choose, for example, a day ticket or a 2-hour ticket.
  • If you have any kind of agreement for a reduced fare or free travel.
  • Any other discounts.
  • The Full Fare, for those aged 19 and over and persons not entitled to a concession, and for foreigners aged 19 and over, costs AUD 6 per ticket.

Myki Pass

If you travel frequently, you can buy a Myki Pass for consecutive days as it is economically convenient.

Just choose where you want to travel and how many days you need and purchase the pass. You can buy a Myki Pass for 7 days or anywhere between 28 and 365 days.

When you purchase a Myki Pass for anywhere between 325 and 365 days, you just pay for 325 days and receive up to 40 days free. 

Myki Money

For occasional travellers, you can pay on the go using Myki Money, a kind of wallet where you charge a balance and have it deducted as you travel. The fare is automatically calculated as you tap the card. When you charge your Myki Money it will automatically calculate the lowest fare for you depending on where you are travelling. If your balance drops under zero you won't be able to travel.

Public Transport in Sydney: Getting Around with Opal

Opal is the smart card public transport payment system in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter and Illawarra regions. It works by loading money before you travel and tapping the card to buy your ticket.

Opal Card Sydney

Like the Myki Card in Melbourne, Opal works by the tap-on and tap-off system using a card or mobile device. You just need to hold it up to the reader on the transport and then wait for the green light that indicates that the payment was successful. An important thing to remember is that with Opal you have to tap both when you get on and off the transport.

You can be fined if you forget to tap when getting on. If you do not tap before getting off, you will be charged the maximum fare stated in the system.

Payment methods for the Sydney Public Transport System

The means of payment for public transport journeys are as follows:

  • Opal card.
  • Contactless credit or debit card. Devices such as mobile phones or smart watches can be used to pay with the linked cards.
  • Single tickets ("single tickets" are usually expensive and are for those who do not possess the other means of payment, and are used only exceptionally).

Public Transport Fares in and around Sydney

Fares in and around Sydney depend on the distance you travel, the method of payment, the means of transport you choose and whether you are eligible for a reduced fare or free travel.

For adult fares (for those aged 16 and over), the costs are as follows:

  • All day travel by metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail will pay a maximum of AUD 16.80 per day.
  • All week travel by metro, train, bus, bus, ferry and light rail will pay a maximum of AUD 50 per week.
  • All day travel on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays will pay no more than AUD 8.40 per day.

Opal Card Categories

There are different Opal cards depending on age or condition. There are cards for adults and children, for seniors, for people with disabilities, and for students. Each group has different fares.

How to purchase an Opal Card and load balance?

You can purchase an Opal Card at retailers, on the Opal website, at selected Transport Customer Service Centres and at selected Service NSW locations.

To top up your Opal Card, you can do so at different charging points around the city, using the Opal Travel app which is easier and quicker. Alternatively, you can also top up at an Opal recharge machine, at a retailer or by phone on 13 67 25 (13 OPAL).

The automatic top-up is recommended to ensure you always get to travel even if you don't have any credit on your card, as it is automatically recharged when you run out of credit. Please note that you must have credit on your credit or debit card as it is deducted from your credit or debit card.

On the first charge when you buy the card you have to charge AUD 20 minimum and then the minimum charge is AUD 10.

Opal Travel Benefits and Discounts

For using contactless, Opal card or payment with a linked device, you get access to ticket benefits. For example, by paying for eight trips in a week (Monday to Sunday) you receive a weekly travel reward, meaning that for the rest of that week, you will pay half price for the ticket.

Another reward is that if you travel off-peak, you receive a 30% discount on each ticket.

If you transfer between two different transport means within 60 minutes, e.g. travel first by bus and then by train, all within 60 minutes, you get a discount of AUD 2. If you switch within 60 minutes on the same transport means, you are charged only one fare.

Public Transport in Perth: Getting Around with SmartRider

In Perth, the public transport system is operated by Transperth. The service covers the entire Perth metropolitan region with public transport services by bus, train and ferry. TransPerth takes the people of Perth wherever they want to go.

It works with the SmartRider system or cash. SmartRider is a reusable smart card for easy and smooth travel on Transperth services with additional 10% discount vs the cash fare.

In a normal weekday they run 15,850 bus journeys, 1,108 train journeys, 926 CAT journeys and almost 269 school transport journeys. From September to May they also run 122 ferry journeys on a normal working day, and 60 service journeys from June to August. In total they operate a fleet of over 1,500 buses, 330 coaches and three ferries. Massive, right?

What does a Standard SmartRider cost?

The card has a unique first cost of $10.00 and you have to charge an initial minimum value of $10.00 to start using it. You can obtain it at at Transperth InfoCentres or Retail Sales Outlets.

Is public transport good in Perth?

Perth's transport system is incredibly reliable and offers many options to suit your needs. With free city loops and special discounts depending on the journey and passenger, it's a very affordable way to get around the city.

Are buses in Perth City free?

The City of Perth has a Free Transit Zone for buses and a SmartRider Free Transit Zone for trains. To travel for free, you must start and end your journey within the free zone. If your trip begins or ends outside the zone, you must still pay a fare for the entire trip. Free zones are marked with the Free Transit Zone (FTZ) logo at bus stops, identifying the limits of the zone. 

Free zone Transport Logo Perth

You can check which is the free transport zone following this map:

Free Zone Transport Perth Map

You may be entitled to free travel on Perth public transport if you are:

  • Under four years of age
  • A SmartRider Senior Citizen cardholder
  • Carer, pensioner or SmartRider Disability Pension holder
  • Veteran SmartRider holder
  • Visually impaired passenger
  • Support persons travelling with someone carrying a Companion Card.

    There is also a SmartRider Free Transit Zone for trains. To travel free by train in Perth, you must use a SmartRider, starting and ending your journey within the zone and getting on and off in the usual way. The boundaries of the zone are City West, Elizabeth Quay and Claisebrook stations.

    The best way to explore Perth's CBD is on foot or on the free Central Area Transit (CAT) bus services, which run in regular loops around the city stopping at Perth's main attractions and shopping destinations.
    Free CAT buses run daily. They have four routes covering all areas of the city. CAT bus stops have distinctive bus stops and real-time passenger information that tells you when the next bus is coming. 

    Public Transport in Brisbane: Getting Around with TransLink Go Card

    Does Brisbane have good public transport?

    Brisbane's public transport is one of the best ways to get around the city. With the TransLink Go Card you can travel smoothly on all TransLink bus, ferry and train services throughout South East Queensland. You can get your Go Card at designated shops and QR stations, online or over the telephone, then you can top up the balance on your card like a prepaid mobile phone whenever it suits you.

    Is there free public transport in Brisbane?

    YES! Free services around Brisbane City run on the Spring Hill Loop, which is bus route 30. It operates workdays to link the Brisbane City and Spring Hill districts, including St Andrews War Memorial Hospital and Central Station.

    Free buses run around the city every 10 minutes and stop at CBD and Spring Hill destinations between 7am and 6pm on weekdays. You can also wander between Brisbane's inner city neighbourhoods on the free CityHopper ferry service, which runs along the river from North Quay to Sydney Street in New Farm.

    How do I pay for public transport in Brisbane?

    We recommend purchasing a TransLink Go Card to pay for public transport tickets in Brisbane. You can also purchase pre-paid paper tickets at stations and ticket machines before boarding a bus, train or ferry service.
    You can also pay for certain train tickets with contactless credit cards, debit cards and mobile devices. An important thing to note if you use a credit card, debit card or mobile device instead of a Go Card, is that you must use the same payment method when tapping on and off.

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