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MYKI Melbourne with Kids

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by Lisa Nolte (subscribe)
Fifteen years ago I traded a corporate career for life on the river. Close enough to Melbourne to get a quick City fix, plus a great community with excellent coffee and four healthy active boys to keep me entertained, I've never regretted the change.
Published March 12th 2014
Cheaper Rides than a Theme Park
MYKI Melbourne with Kids

With car parking costs in the city spiralling into the realms of insanity, don't let the fear of MYKI stop you from enjoying Melbourne's many attractions with your family.

Leave the car at home, pack a picnic, put on your travelling shoes and head for the bright lights on public transport.

MYKI trains melbourne Southern Cross
Take a ride on Melbourne's public transport - cheaper than a theme park


Here are a few tips for spending some time in town on the tram, train or bus with a fist full of MYKIs. Perhaps you have some advice too?

Make the Most of Your MYKI
Public transport rules
Get around on as many vehicles as you can, its a great way to learn the rules


You must have a MYKI pre-loaded with available funds to travel on any part of Melbourne's public transport network. It's a bit like a debit card for transport.

Available at registered outlets such as newsagents, premium stations, 7-elevens and on buses, cards can also be purchased by phone or online and posted to your address. Once you have a card you can top it up as required.

MYKI accounts for your travel in distance and time, not per vehicle, so you can hop on and off the various forms of transport within a zone/time window for no extra cost. MYKI will always choose the cheapest fare for you.

It is fun to see how many different vehicles you can use to get to your final destination.

There are a number of public transport apps available for both Android and ios. Some help plan your journey, some are handy for finding out about the next tram. Check them out in the online stores and at the PTV website before leaving home for a hassle-free journey.

Manage Your Cards

MYKI cards Melbourne
For hassle free touch on, mark your cards clearly

As a MYKI novice with a reasonably large family, I despaired of knowing which card belonged to which child as I collected them for safekeeping during and after each journey. I didn't notice until the resident teenage advisor pointed out that each seemingly identical green card has a teeny tiny, but very long unique code number printed on one side.

In a rush to leave home, or touching-on at a crowded bus stop, these individually numbered cards are much easier to manage with the name of each child clearly marked in black texta on the green side. You can then be sure which cards have been touched on, or off at any given moment.

It takes a little time at the MYKI online portal to register each MYKI, but it is worth the effort in the event that your card is lost, stolen or mixed up with all the other MYKIs in the household.

Most importantly, registration allows you to manage your transport credit online, simply and efficiently.

Touch On and Off
MYKI touch on Tram
Small polite MYKI machines have taken the place of the on-board conductor


This is probably the most challenging aspect of MYKI. Common anxieties include: Have I touched off correctly? Am I holding up all the MYKI savvy business people behind me? What if the scanner doesn't work and an inspector finds me?

Relax. As far as I know, no one has died for MYKI.

Touch on by holding your card gently against the blue panel on the front of the bright green MYKI reader. The digital display above the panel will either announce your success or ask you to try again. If you are at a train station with barriers, the gates will open as if by magic.

At the conclusion of each leg of your journey, touch off using the same actions as touching on.

Confusingly, presumably to avoid congestion in the CBD, passengers are discouraged from touching off when travelling in zone 1. Prepare the kids for this well in advance as they find it difficult to grasp.

The machines on trams and buses will display your balance on touch on/off.

Top Up Online or at Major Stations
MYKI vending machine station
Check your balance, top up or buy a card at the blue vending machine


MYKI allows you to spend a little more than your available funds on a card, but only once. It is not a line of credit. Keep a healthy balance so you don't get caught out in a tram.

If you have registered your card, you can look up your credit status online. Top up from here, but allow a few days between topping up and travel as it is not an instant transfer.

You may also top up an unregistered card, but should it be lost, you will have no way to trace it.

For instant transfers, top up machines are available at premium stations. If you are not in too much of a hurry, the kids will love to scan their cards and check their status.

It is also possible to top up with a human at premium station ticket windows.
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Why? Because kids always find public transport exciting
When: Anytime
Phone: 1800 800 007
Where: Melbourne
Cost: Adults from $6 Concession/kids from $3
Your Comment
The cost quoted only covers the cost of the card and does not include any travel.
by alesl (score: 2|147) 2038 days ago
You are not allowed to "deface" the myki cards
by alesl (score: 2|147) 2038 days ago
You must touch off to open the gates at railway stations; you only need to touch off trams if your entire trip is in zone 1.
by alesl (score: 2|147) 2038 days ago
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