Going back to Melbourne, which is my second favorite city in the world behind my beloved Berlin, I was propelled back into the world of the Myki Card. What is this hellish device, you ask? Well. It’s the system that has brought Melbournians and many a hapless tourist to their knees.
Holy mother, it’s expensive. I spent $20 AUD to get a card ($6), go to the CBD (downtown/city center) and come back, and that twinny-twin-twin was damn near wiped out! I was looking around wondering where the hell my money went.
The website provides an overabundance of information with no real way to sift through it and make it useful. You know you’re in trouble when you’re trying to figure out fare prices and the website says “Use the calculators below to work out how much your journey will cost you.” The most simplified version I found was on a bus:
I had to go on a mission to even find a place to buy the card. You can trust 7-elevens, Pura Milks, and any establishment flying a Myki flag to have them. You can also follow the map Myki provides on their website, which I did today and I felt like a bloomin’ idiot because it misleads you. I walked a country kilometer tryna find the right place. Here’s another little gem; I found out the hard way that if you have a credit or debit card from outside Australia, you may not “top up”- as the Aussies and the Brits like to say-online! What kinda sh*t… You can find the above machines in the CBD, which is great…if you’re in the CBD.
What’s more, There’s no way to pay cash on the trams. You can use cash to top up on the bus, but I believe it has to be going on a card which you already own with a minimum of five or ten dollars added. You can’t just pay cash outright for your ride.
The tram runs in the same lanes the cars drive in and stops in the middle of the street; so you walk off the corner and into the street to get on it. We gotta be stuck in traffic, too? How the hell y’all figure?
There are things I Love about Victoria transit, I swear! There’s the free tourist tram which acts like a city guide. It gets crammed with non-tourists sometimes; annoying when you actually want to hear stuff, but hey, it’s free and educational.
The major highlight is the free tram zone. If you do come to visit and can afford the CBD, you’re covered for transportation. You can hop on and ride from one in to the other and anywhere in between. It’s fabulous. I’m just bitter because I was always coming from outside and had to pay, but it was great when I was there and didn’t want to walk.
The buses are clean and comfy. The readers are often out of order, so you get to save your bus fare sometimes. Some trams are older than the dickens, but still get the job done. Many are sparkling and new though. Luxurious, if you please. Australians are very prosperous in general, so you have fewer crazy, stank, and violent people, which makes for a massive difference, in my experience (cough, Lake Street, cough, Lyndale, cough Broadway). I love it cause it’s in awesome repair (have y’all ever been to Warsaw? I mean damn), safe, and comprehensive.
Even though the system is annoying as all get out, to Victoria Public Transit I still say “good on ya, mate.”