Melbourne’s network of public transport from bus, tram and train connections is called Metlink (Tel: 13 16 38, only in Australia; Internet: www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au) There are uniform tickets for all three modes of transport.
Most residents use the extensive tram network. Trams stop at numbered stops, which are often on platforms in the middle of the street. To get out, press a red button near the handrail or pull a cord over your head.
Metcard tickets can be used on buses, trains and trams. The single ticket is valid for two hours. You can buy it on the bus, train or tram. A day pass is the cheaper option for multiple trips in and around Melbourne in one day. You can buy them in the City Metshop in City Hall (corner of Swanston Street and Collins Street), at most newspaper stands, or at the Metcard ticket machines at train stations. They are validated at the station entrance or in the tram.
The City Circle Tram is a free tram service that runs in both directions in the city center daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in spring and summer until 9 p.m. You drive the entire route in about 40 minutes and see many of Melbourne’s sights (with explanations). Yarra Trams (Tel: 13 16 38, Australia only; Internet: www.yarratrams.com.au) operates all trams in Melbourne.
The network of bus connections is also extensive and is operated by several private companies on different routes. Buses usually run Monday to Saturday from 5 a.m. to midnight and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Night bus service is available on weekends.
The main train station for suburban trains operated by Connex (Internet:www.connexmelbourne.com.au) is called Flinders Street Station. Trains run Monday to Saturday from 5 a.m. to midnight and Sundays from 7 a.m. to midnight. Timetables can be seen on the Connex website or by calling Metlink (tel: 13 16 38, only in Australia).
Taxis can be stopped directly on the street or in front of train and bus stations. Taxi companies include
Silver Top (Tel: 13 10 08, only in Australia),
Embassy (Tel: 13 17 55, only in Australia or (03) 92 77 34 44) and
Black Cabs Combined (Tel 132 227, only in Australia) .
An illuminated taxi sign on the car roof indicates that the taxi is not occupied. A tip is not expected.
Driving in the city
Driving a car is relatively easy in Melbourne as many streets are wide and each has two or three lanes, but caution should be exercised where tram tracks run. There are special traffic regulations there. Cars can only overtake trams on the left, for example, and must turn left into signposted safety zones in order to offer the trams enough space.
Rush hours are on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, during the AFL (Australian Football League) season from April to September, there are relatively many pedestrians around the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on weekends.
There are numerous parking lots and parking meters all over the city.
The minimum age to rent a car is 21 years. Typically, it is expected that rental fees will be paid using the driver’s credit card. Liability insurance is mandatory in Victoria and is often included in the rental price.
Large car rental companies include
Avis (Tel: 13 63 33, only in Australia, or (03) 96 63 63 66; Internet: www.avis.com.au),
Budget (Tel: 1300 79 43 44, only in Australia or ( 03) 92 41 63 66; Internet: www.budget.com.au) and
Hertz (Tel: 13 30 39, only in Australia or (03) 93 38 40 44; Internet: www.hertz.com.au).
There are many bike paths in the city and in the suburbs. Bicycle Victoria (Tel: (03) 86 36 88 88; Internet: www.bv.com.au) provides various brochures and maps on recommended routes and routes. You can usually get these in good bookstores.
Bicycles can be rented from St Kilda Pier Bike Hire on St Kilda Pier (Tel: (03) 95 31 74 03). Foreigners must present their passport.