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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.
However, those living in some of the more isolated suburbs of Melbourne might find it handy to have their own vehicle. 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 smart card 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 which service areas further away from the city centre tend to be somewhat less reliable. In the city centre, there is a "Free Tram Zone" where passage on the tram is free of charge.
There are currently a number of tram routes which operate throughout the night on weekends, known as "Night Trams". Night Trams are part of the city's Night Network which also includes trains and buses running through the night.
Melbourne’s rail network consists of 16 railway lines and over 200 stations. These trains arrive every 10 to 15 minutes during peak hours.
There are also seven passenger railway lines which connect 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 which aren't reached by train and tram services.
Expats may also find that there are some free local community bus services within their local areas.
Ride-hailing services and 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 for those who know where they are going, it is best to pre-book ahead of time.
Ride-hailing services such as Uber are 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. However, Melbourne’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.
Expat drivers will be pleased to know that parking is not a problem in Melbourne. The city has over 70,000 parking spaces available. It is generally easy and very safe to park in the city.
Cycling in Melbourne
Melbourne is a cycle-friendly city and has an extensive network of bicycle paths and cycle lanes on the roads. These are utilised regularly for commuting to and from work, and for recreation.
Melbourne also has an innovative bicycle-sharing system which can be useful for occasional cyclists.
Helmets are compulsory for all cyclists in Melbourne, and expats would do well to follow this rule or they will find themselves facing a fine.
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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