Most of us can think of a time we were sitting in traffic, stressed out and frustrated. The good news is you can save time, money, improve your health and help reduce emissions while taking a break from driving by catching the bus, train or ferry instead.
Public transport is a great way to get around Perth for work, for sporting events, concerts, to check out a festival or for a spot of shopping. You’ll get more exercise along the way and have more time to read, relax, chat with a friend or catch up on the latest on social media.
This five step guide is designed to show you that with a little preparation using public transport is easy and it can actually enhance your journey.
Step 1 - Plan ahead and enjoy the ride
There are many excellent journey planners and apps that you can use to see how to get where you need to go by bus, train or ferry. Read below for a small snapshot of the most popular ones in WA, or you can go to our Resources page and use the filters to find more handy transport apps.
Transperth Journey Planner
To plan your journey or for the latest timetables, go to transperth.wa.gov.au. Just enter your start and finish address or landmark and you’re off!
While you're there check out the Transperth 'Stops Near You' page for an interactive map of Transperth services in your area.
The free Transperth App for iOS and Android shows the latest bus, train and ferry information within the Perth metro area.
With the app you can:
• Find the next services from any stop, station or jetty near you
• Plan your journey and view it on a map
• Save your favourite journeys for quick access to timetable information
• View fare and service disruption information
• Get your SmartRider balance
If you prefer using Google Maps then you can use the ‘Transit’ icon and you’ll see a list of the public transport services available for your chosen journey.
1. Go to Google Maps on your web browser, choose your destination address up the top and click the blue ‘Directions’ button.
2. Choose your starting point, click the ‘Transit’ icon and you’ll see a list of the public transport services available.
3. Select a public transport service and you’ll get a map and a detailed breakdown of exactly how to get to your destination by bus, train or ferry.
Step 2 - Getting to the train station
We’ve found many people come from homes less than 3kms away, a distance that is easily travelled as a relaxing ten-minute bike ride or a 25 minute walk. An earlier start, a connecting bus, walking, or riding your bike to the station are all great ways to avoid parking hassles, save money and find time to be active.
Bikes and public transport
Bikes are welcome on-board trains, but for everyone's comfort there are some restrictions during peak periods. The exceptions are the three city stations during morning and afternoon peak times, inbound trains during the morning peak, and outbound trains during the afternoon peak.
Visit this Transperth webpage for more details.
There is secure bike parking at many train stations on the Transperth network and most others have U-Rails that you can secure you bike to. Transperth recommends using a D-Lock to secure your bike regardless of where you park it. To register for secure bike parking.
See step 5 below, or login to your account on the Transperth website.
Catch the bus for free
Transperth bus services connect most suburbs in Perth to the nearest train station. If you catch the bus in the same zone as your station, you’ll pay no extra. Just use the same ticket or use a SmartRider and it will automatically work out the cheapest fare for you.
Visit the ‘Transperth Fares’ page on the Transperth website for more information.
Step 3 - Paying for public transport
Transperth has two types of ticketing: SmartRider and cash tickets.
If you buy a cash ticket, it will have an expiry time printed on it which depends on the number of zones covered by your ticket. A valid ticket allows you to travel on any combination of bus, train and ferry services.
For more details visit the Transperth website - ‘Tickets & Fares’.
You can buy a SmartRider card from any Transperth InfoCentre or SmartRider retail sales outlet (such as newsagents). Using a SmartRider will ensure you pay the lowest possible fare for your trip. A SmartRider costs $10 to purchase, and requires you to load an initial value of $10.
Check out the full list of places you can buy your SmartRider.
Tag on and tag off
All you need do is tag your SmartRider on and off on every bus service and at train stations and ferry jetties. Using a SmartRider is 10% cheaper than a cash ticket, plus you can even get a 20% discount if you register it and set up Autoload – a direct debit from your bank account or credit card.
See step 5 below, or visit the Transperth website and click on the ‘SmartRider’ tab for more information.
Step 4 - Get on board and relax
Ready to go? Allow yourself plenty of time and arrive at the bus stop or train station a few minutes before the scheduled departure time. You may discover you can take a later bus after you’ve tried it a few times, or that it’s better to get off at an earlier stop and walk the rest of the way.
Make sure you signal the bus driver before boarding, then sit back, relax and spend your time reading, planning your day, catching up on news or simply enjoying the ride. Remember, all changes take time to adjust to before feeling comfortable.
Step 5 - Sign up for 'My Account'
Go to the Transperth website and click 'Sign up' in the top right corner. Having a My Account login will help you get organised and stay informed. You can register to receive Travel Alerts about your regular services, and register your SmartRider so you can check your balance and trip history. This also means if you lose your card you don’t lose the cash value on it, instead it can be transferred to your new card.
Register your SmartRider
Make sure you register your SmartRider and set up Autoload through your newly created My Account. Autoload is a type of direct debit so that your SmartRider balance will automatically be topped up when it gets low, as well as giving you a 20% discount on the full fare. It also means you never need to worry about topping up your balance. Just tag on and off you go!
You can also register your SmartRider for SmartParker through My Account. This means all you need to do is simply press the green button, then tap your SmartRider at the SmartParker machines in the carpark to pay $2 for your parking.
If, you'd rather save money on parking, get some exercise and ride your bike instead, you can also register through My Account for the secure bike parking shelters at selected train stations.
See our 'How to Register your Smartrider' guide for step by step instructions.
Perth free transit zone
Transperth CAT bus services in the central area are free. The Free Transit Zone logo on bus stops identifies the boundaries of the zone, and if you start and finish within the zone, you can ride the bus without buying a ticket. See a map and find out more about the CAT bus network here:
Free SMS service
Did you know Transperth offers a free SMS service to send you the next train, bus or ferry services near your specified location? Just SMS the five-digit stop number to 13 62 13. For Trains, SMS the stop number or the first three letters of the train line (e.g. FRE), followed by the first three letters of the station (e.g. SUB).
Transperth also offers a special FamilyRider for unlimited travel for up to seven people during evenings, weekends, public holidays, and after 8:30am on school holidays.
Click here to find out more information about fares.
Buses can drop you off closer
Did you know, buses will stop anywhere on the route to drop off passengers after 7.00 pm. Just ask your friendly bus driver to let you out when it's convenient.