When Gavin had his little holiday in hospital, I was driving the car in to Hobart and back home again every day. Besides my utter aversion to driving, the parking was costing me a fortune. I decided it was time to investigate Metro Tasmania!
On The Buses with Metro Tasmania
My thoughts about Metro Tasmania were positive right from the outset, even before this research mission started. The kids catch a bus to school almost every day, interspersed with very spasmodic bike-riding. They attempt to book the parent-taxi at the slightest excuse: my trombone will get damaged; my cricket bag is too heavy; my new shoes will get wet in the rain… you know the drill. But mostly they still catch the bus, because their parents are mean and don’t understand their tormented lives.
But I digress. My thoughts about Metro Tasmania were positive because junior-burger left his precious mobile phone on the seat one day. Before we had time to launch into full-scale panic mode, we hailed the bus on its return journey, and the driver miraculously handed over the kid’s social lifeblood with a smile and a wave. Awesome.
We’re extremely lucky to live near a bus line that runs directly to Hobart’s city centre from our home; there’s hardly any walking involved, and no transferring to another bus en route. So I was sold on the idea. During a hospital visit, I strolled up to the Metro Shop in the Elizabeth Street bus mall. Once there, the bemused staffer quickly ascertained I had categorically no idea about public transport. He signed me up with a GreenCard, gave me a timetable complete with map, and sent me out into the wild new frontier of the bus-catching world, also with a smile and a wave.
How to Catch a Bus in Hobart
There’s a few things I can say about my own experience that may help other Metro Tasmania novices looking to bus around Hobart. This may especially help our tourist-readers from interstate or overseas.
- Catching a bus turned out to be pretty straight-forward thing to do. I wish I’d done it sooner.
- Hail the driver as they approach your stop; make it clear you want to get on the bus
- You don’t need to buy a GreenCard to catch a bus, you can just pay the driver in cash.
- If you do use a GreenCard, you’re entitled to a per-trip discount on travel.
- When you jump on a bus and wave a GreenCard around, the driver will politely direct you to the zapping machine.
- You don’t need to zap the card again when you get off the bus.
- Each trip is recorded and charged to your GreenCard account, if you use one.
- You can top-up your account’s funds via the Internet (I even made mine an automatic transaction when my funds are running low).
- Passengers are charged per distance travelled, for a short, medium or long journey.
- There’s a 90-minute window to change buses before you’re charged for another trip.
- During morning and evening peak hour on weekdays, buses run more frequently.
Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy the Ride
Since my first foray into Hobart’s public transport scene, I’ve caught the bus several times. Each time I’ve alighted, my resolve has been strengthened to catch the bus more often. I’ll be an expert soon! 90% of passengers I’ve observed have thanked the driver upon exiting the bus. And I don’t know if this is a miracle in the public transport arena, but my particular bus has been bang on time (so far!) on every single occasion. That just seems too unbelievable to be true. I hope I’m not jinxing anything by writing that down.
If you’re using Metro Tasmania as a tourist, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a luggage rack on board to stow bags during the journey. If you want the best views, move down the aisle to the back of the bus where the seats are higher. And some buses (or maybe even all?) have seats configured perfectly to suit a group of four travelling together. Although riding backwards does present a challenge if you suffer from motion sickness.
When I went looking for photographic opportunities for this article, there seemed to be a bus on every corner. In the end, I couldn’t take a photo without a bus zooming into view! Some Metro Tasmania buses have been branded with the Carers Tasmania information. We like that.