Free tram zone in the city from 2015: What you need to know

WHILE free tram travel within the city from 2015 may be welcome news for international students, understanding how it works may be a little tricky. Darren Boon reports. 

Free Tram Zone Melbourne

International students will be among the commuters set to benefit from free travel on trams in the Melbourne CBD and Docklands area from January 1, 2015.

According to Yarra Trams, the free tram zone will cover the area from Queen Victoria Market to Victoria Harbour in Docklands, and up to Spring St, Flinders Street Station and Federation Square in the CBD.

This is welcome news especially for international students living in and around the city, who make up a quarter of the population in the CBD and a third of the population in Carlton due to the close proximity to the University of Melbourne, RMIT University and other education providers.

The implementation of the free travel zones however, may be a little confusing for students, tourists and commuters in general.

If you’re travelling exclusively within the free tram zone, you must remember not to touch on – as doing so will incur the standard two-hour default fare.

Yarra Trams has also advised that if your journey begins or ends outside the boundaries of the free tram zone, you must touch on the myki on the reader “in the normal way to make sure you have a valid ticket”.

In other words, if you’re travelling from the free tram zone to the fare paying zone, you must remember to touch on before you leave the free tram zone, or touch on when you first board.

The same is true of you’re travelling from a fare paying zone to the free tram zone. A student travelling from University of Melbourne to Federation Square for example, will still be required to touch on when boarding the tram on Swanston St outside the university’s Parkville campus.

The free tram zone will take effect in 2015, and tram travellers will still require a topped up, touched on Myki for all areas of the network until December 31, 2014.

For more information about fare changes in 2015 including FAQs on the free tram zone, visit Public Transport Victoria.


There is one comment

  1. Daniel

    The odd boundaries make me believe it doesn’t benefit international students at all. The RMIT superstop does not fall within the boundary. I would have expected the free zone to al least reach Melbourne Uni (and the hospital) on both Elizabeth and Swanston streets, but it doesnt. You can characterise students are frugal and lazy – on a commute through from the city, it is not logical to alight at the Library stop and walk the rest of the way to MelU to save money. Many will risk it and still get caught by the “I thought it was free” excuse.

    Nor does this free zone benefit tourists, as the free zone does not cover just south of the river, ie Crown Casino and the Arts Centre/National Gallery

    They may have been pushed out of the CBD, but you can bet good money the thugs, sorry I mean ticket inspectors, will will be enforcing the borders of this free zone as best they can, to eke every dollar in fines they can.

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