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As expected from a popular destination for work, travel, and study, Australia has a well-maintained transportation system. Public transportation in Australia comes in various types, from buses and taxis to trams and trains. Despite many people having cars, public transportation is still a popular option for anyone.
Public Transportations Available in Australia
Australia’s most common public transportations are buses, trains, and light trains (trams). They are affordable, and people can purchase concession cards to use them repeatedly. Some cities with harbors, like Sydney and Brisbane, have ferries, which are considered common public transportation.
Some universities offer special transportation services for students. For example, the University of Melbourne has a Free Tram Zone where students can use trams to reach their campus for free.
How Good is Australia’s Public Transportation?
Public transportation in Australia is generally good, affordable, and well-maintained, especially in major cities. Australia has various public transportation networks in its states; each can be accessed using special cards and travel concessions. People can use them freely by purchasing one card and the credits.
For example, in Brisbane and Sydney, people can access public transportation such as trams, buses, ferries, and trains using Translink Card and Opal Card. The same thing applies in other cities like Melbourne (myki), Adelaide (Metro Card), and Perth (Smart Rider), but exclude ferries. Some cities like Hobart, Darwin, and Canberra only offer buses as travel card services.
How Much Does Public Transportation Cost?
Going around in Australia is cheaper if you can access public transportation, which applies to citizens, tourists, and students. Even if you are not qualified for concession cards, you can still pay relatively low rates for public transportation (daily cash payment is usually a bit more expensive than a card but not significant).
Here is the list of Australia’s average public transport rates in several major cities.
Daily bus rate in Melbourne is around AUD6 for cash payment and AUD 3 to 4 for a two-hour bus trip using cards.
Regular bus rate in Sydney is around AUD3 to 7, while tram is AUD2 to 3.7. Standard ferry trip starts from AUD7.5, while train is around AUD3.5 to 8.
Regular bus and tram rates in Adelaide are around AUD3.5 to 7.
Regular rates for buses and trams in Perth are between AUD2.5 and 12, depending on the day and road conditions.
- Darwin and Other Northern Territories
The average bus fare in Darwin and surrounding cities starts from AUD7, except when using the card.
Getting concession cards or a pass for certain types of transportation can save quite a lot of money. Using concession cards can often save you from the hassle of producing cash, especially since many bus drivers in Australia no longer carry cash with them.
Australia’s Solution for Cheaper Fares
The Australian government has provided concession cards, which people can apply for cheaper transportation rates.
For example, public transport concession cards can be used by students, including international students. Concession fares are way cheaper, not requiring cash, and give significant discounts.
Concession cards have different policies depending on who releases them. However, there are various people that benefit from these cards. Examples are students, veterans, pensioners, children younger than 14 years old, job-seekers, asylum seekers, and seniors.
What about international students and travelers? The first group is eligible for concession cards. However, it will be more convenient for foreign travelers to buy travel cards at stations, terminals, and even minimarkets. Just make sure to top up the credits based on the trip durations.
Public Transportation Etiquette in Australia
Finally, Australia’s established transportations result in “public transport etiquette.” Most of them are unwritten rules locals have observed for shared convenience and comfort. Here are some etiquette points when using public transportation:
- Place your backpack on the floor between your legs instead of just keeping it on the back.
- Many trains allow cyclists to carry their bicycles inside, but this is usually frowned upon during peak hours because the bikes take up space.
- Eating, drinking, and smoking are generally forbidden inside any public transportation.
- Passengers who use wheelchairs or bring trolleys or prams should occupy the front seats.
- Always use cards since most drivers no longer accept cash nowadays.
Australia has one of the best public transportation systems in the world. Make sure you learn about public transportation in Australia from all angles before choosing the best payment methods for using them.