Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Transport Tuesday

When cruise ships arrive at Melbourne's Station Pier, those who haven't booked coach tours will probably mosey their way to the City. The obvious way to travel is by the 109 Port Melbourne tram which will take the ship passengers from the tram terminus to the centre of the city.

But with perhaps 2 to 3 thousand people leaving a ship within a hour or two, how can such a large number get to the city on a the normal 109 tram? I would really like to say that Yarra Trams puts on terrific extra services to get ship passengers to the centre of the city, but it doesn't.  

It is listed on the Public Transport Victoria website so I assume it under government control, contracted by the gov to provide the service. The 109 bus is lauded as an express bus to the City but it is at the mercy of Melbourne traffic, whereas the tram isn't. 

The 109 bus was suspended when cruise ships ceased to operate because of you know what. It used to dump passengers at the Arts Centre and passengers would have to walk or then catch a tram to the City proper. 

So where do cruise ship passenger who receive the strong promotion to use the 109 bus, rather than the perfectly good 109 tram end up now? 

Myki is our public transport stored value card and there is a tourist card offering discounts to tourist attractions, but I think for just a day visit as is normal for cruise ship passengers, it is probably not worth buying one. The standard card costs $6 and you will need to add $9.20 to that for a day's travel on all public transport. Hmm, that's $15.20. The tourist card is $16 and gives you a day's travel. You may as well buy that, even if you don't use any of the discount benefits. PTV is Public Transport Victoria. Read on...

Travel from Station Pier to Melbourne city

Your ship will arrive at Station Pier in Port Melbourne, six kilometres from Melbourne city. To travel into the city, you can take Bus 109 City Express to Stop 115 Casino/Southbank, Queens Bridge Street.

From here you can walk or continue your journey via tram into the city.

The bus shuttle and trams cost a normal public transport fare and you must travel with a myki which you can buy at the PTV ticket booth inside the Cruise Terminal.

Travelling to the city

You can catch either a tram or a bus from Port Melbourne into the city, however the shuttle bus is the only service that runs directly from Station Pier into the city.

The Bus 109 City Express shuttle runs direct from the Cruise Terminal on Station Pier to the city, stopping on Queens Bridge Street. The journey takes approximately 20 minutes.

Dumped right outside the Casino with a confusing way to get to the City centre. I smell a rat. The 109 tram takes less than 20 minutes to the centre of the city. The 109 express bus is not quicker and it is just a bus. Many people in the world who don't have trams in their towns would like to experience a tram ride, but no, that is not what PTV encourages. Instead PTV wants cruise shop passengers to catch a bus to the Casino rather than insisting Yarra Trams provide a proper tram service for extra passengers. That rat scent is extra strong. Ducks, quacks, walks, resemblance. 

There is a solution. A second tram track needs to be built at the Port Melbourne tram terminus where large capacity trams can be stored with drivers all ready to take the influx of cruise ship passengers into the city proper. Older Australian's will pay about half the aforesaid prices. Foreign tourists the full price. Cost benefit? It is an extra tram track that won't be used at all for half the year but will cost little to maintain. It will be there for use when it is needed during the cruise ship season and the extra trams will make a profit if the bus is discontinued. 


  1. If only those who design public transport were as sensible as you. But they aren't. At all. And a big sigh at the Casino stop off.

  2. Thanks for the advice but cruise ships are not for me.

  3. How often does a cruise ship come in and how many tourists are we talking about? Surely the ship can organise buses awaiting its arrival in port to go, at least, into the City.

  4. Sadly, these things are not decided by people with common sense. Or any sense, common or otherwise. I don't think the mighty dollar even comes into the decision or they would realise how much people would spend if they could easily get into town. Or do most take the guided coach tours up into the Dandenongs and down the the Great Ocean Road?

  5. I do find travelling to Station pier from East side is incredibly hard. Definitely not during December

  6. Because a second tram track will not be used daily is a perfect excuse for politicians to declare it unnecessary. I'll never go on a cruise ship anyway, so for me it doesn't matter. I heard last week another ship docked in Sydney with Covid positive passengers.

  7. Last time I did any thing with public transport a monthly bus pass was $5 for a month and that was back in 1980

  8. So have you put your proposal (in triplicate) forward to all relevant government bodies???

  9. Good thinking there Andrew. It must be a problem when the ships come in getting those people into the city.

  10. If Australian politics is anything like American politics than that owner of that casino probably made a hefty campaign contribution to whatever pol governs transportation.

  11. I want you along if I ever I travel.


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