With the excitement of a teenager on his first roller coaster ride, I boarded Tram number 109 near the Crown Casino Complex. It was bound for Boxhill which is some kilometers away from the city proper. Pressing my Myki card against the green box, I touched on and heard the sound of having a successful registration. At Collins Street, I disembarked, walked towards Swanston Street and boarded the tram bound for St. Kilda. It was the start of my Saturday long multiple rides on Melbourne's much vaunted tram railway network.
Melbourne City holds the sole distinction of having the largest and most efficient tram railway network in the whole world. Starting in the 1800s, the trams of Melbourne have remained popular as they transport commuters to villages and towns outside the Central Business District. The trams reach places such as Bondoora, Malvern, Kew, Glen Iris, Carnegie, Brunswick, Footscray, East Coburg, Port Melbourne, etc.
A Myki card allows a commuter to avail of that special offer of unlimited rides on trains, trams and buses within zone 1 and zone 2. Zone 1 covers areas within the city and those near it. Zone 2 refers to places far from the city proper. For $6, one may enjoy unlimited rides on Saturdays and Sundays and holidays. For $7.50, the unlimited rides can be availed of on weekdays. Commuters are always reminded to touch on and touch off when riding trams, trains and buses. There are authorized Metro & Yarra Trams officers who make random checks.
It was 2 pm when the tram reached Bentleigh. It was my nth tram ride. I was the only passenger left on board. As the tram made its stop near an intersection, the tram driver looked at me and said: "End of the line, Mister." I answered: "I know, mate. I am just taking my own sweet time. I am like that Lewis Carroll character who has no particular destination. Ha Ha.." Then I made a touch off and heard again that clear sound: "Tick tick." And began walking, where else, but to destination unknown.
|Tram stop near the Crown Casino Complex|
|This tram is bound for Boxhill.|
|Tram stops at Bourke St. near Myer Dept.Store|
|Two trams going opposite directions.|
|Tram traveling on Swanston Street near St. Paul's Cathedral|
|Another tram along Swanston Sreet|
|In front of Flinders Street Station and Federation Square|
|Near Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)|
|Some commuters prefer to stand near the exit.|
|Advertising the musical "The Lion King"|
|In front of Melbourne Town Hall. The left lane is for cyclists.|
|Tram bound for Malvern|
|Commuters on their way to Malvern|
|Vintage City Circle Tram which offers free ride to tourists|
|Another vintage City Circle Tram going around the city. It provides free ride to tourists.|
|Tram stops at St. Kilda|
|You press your Myki card against that green box to make a touch on and touch off.|
|Two trams stop at an intersection.|
|There is a small area within the city proper which has been designated as a "free tram zone". No Myki card needed. Free ride within that zone.|