Public transport in Australia

Rising petrol prices and increasing traffic congestion are thought to be factors contributing to renewed growth in use of urban public transport.[5]

Epping station on the Sydney Trains network.

Opal and Myki smartcard ticketing used for travel in Sydney and Melbourne

Commuter rail

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide have extensive electric commuter rail networks which have grown and expanded over time. Australian commuter rail typically operates with bidirectional all day services with Sydney and Melbourne’s systems operating with much higher frequencies, particularly in their underground cores. Sydney Trains operates the busiest system in the country with approximately 1 million trips per day. Melbourne Metro operates a larger system albeit with a lower number of trips.

Trams and light rail

Trams have historically operated in many Australian towns and cities, with the majority of these being shut down before the 1970s in the belief that more widespread car ownership would render them unnecessary. Melbourne is a major exception and today has the largest tram network of any city in the world. Adelaide has also retained one tram service – the Glenelg Tram that runs from Adelaide City Centre to Glenelg Beach. Trams had operated in a number of major regional cities including Launceston, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Rockhampton.

Light Rail was constructed in Sydney in the 1990s with the conversion of a disused section of the Metropolitan Goods railway line into what is now the Dulwich Hill Line. A second CBD and South East Light Rail line is currently under construction and is due to open in 2019. Light rail has also been built on the Gold Coast and is in the planning stages for Newcastle Canberra and Perth.

Rapid transit

Major cities in Australia do not have full-fledged rapid transit systems. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth’s commuter systems are all partially underground. Melbourne has plans for a new train service branded as a metro, but as it will interact with the suburban system and won’t be grade-separated from Footscray out, it will fall short of the criteria of a metro.

The driverless Sydney Metro system is currently under construction, with the first line to be the North West Rail Link. This new line will connect to the existing Epping to Chatswood railway line, which will be converted to rapid transit standards. It was also announced by Premier Mike Baird on 10 June 2014 that a stage 2 extension will continue from Chatswood, through a second harbour crossing, the city centre, and onto the current Bankstown Line.[6] The North West Rail Link will be the first rapid transit system in an Australian city.

Intra-city public transport networks

The following table presents an overview of multi-modal intra-city public transport networks in Australia’s larger cities. The only Australian capital cities without multi-modal networks are Canberra and Darwin, which rely entirely on buses. Canberra is planning a light rail line (Capital Metro), which will link with existing bus services, and is expected to be operational in 2018.[7]The table does not include tourist or heritage transport modes (such as the private monorail at Sea World or the tourist Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram).

City Overview Integrated Network Name Buses Urban rail[8] Light rail[9] Monorail Watercraft[10] Rapid transit
Adelaide Public transport in Adelaide Adelaide Metro Yes Yes Yes
Brisbane Public transport in Brisbane Translink Yes Yes Yes
Canberra Public transport in Canberra Yes PlannedP1
Darwin Public transport in Darwin Yes Limited
Gold Coast Public transport on the Gold Coast Translink Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hobart Transport in Hobart Metro Yes Yes
Melbourne Public transport in Melbourne Public Transport Victoria Yes Yes Yes Limited
Newcastle Transport in Newcastle “Transport” Yes Limited PlannedP2 Limited
Perth Public transport in Perth Transperth Yes Yes PlannedP3 Yes
Sydney Public transport in Sydney “Transport” Yes Yes Yes CeasedC1 Yes Under constructionP4