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
Travelling to the city
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.