Getting Around Perth Without a Car: Locals Advice

As a tourist, getting around this picturesque city is an essential aspect of making the most of your visit. In this guide, I’ll take you through various transportation options, providing valuable information to help you explore Perth easily.

Get Around Perth by Public Transport

Public transport is an easy and reliable way to get around Perth without a car. Transperth buses and trains offer accessibility features to accommodate passengers with mobility challenges.

Bus

Transperth Buses offer a convenient way to explore the city. To start, check the route maps, plan your trip, and hop on board. Don’t forget to have your SmartRider card ready to tap on and off.

Train

Navigating Perth has never been easier, thanks to the reliable and efficient Transperth train system. With a network spanning the city and its outskirts, you can explore Perth and its stunning surroundings conveniently and comfortably. 

Fremantle Line

This line connects Perth city to the popular tourist port town of Fremantle. It stops at Claremont (for shopping) and Cottesloe, one of Perth’s best beaches.

Mandurah Line

The Mandurah Line takes you on a scenic journey, connecting Mandurah to the heart of Perth.

Joondalup Line

For those in the northern suburbs, the Joondalup Line offers an excellent route into the city. Leederville is on this line, and you can get to Scarborough Beach with a bus connection from Glendalough station.

Armadale/Thornlie Line

The Armadale Line connects the southeastern suburbs to Perth’s city centre. Catch this line for the Crown Metropol & Towers Hotels Perth (Burswood station).

Midland Line

The Midland Line takes you eastward from Perth, stopping at Guildford.

Airport Line

Perth’s newest line runs from Claremont to High Wycombe, stopping at Perth Station. This is the easiest public transport option to and from Perth Airport.

Train Frequency and Timings

Transperth trains run at varying frequencies depending on the time of day and the specific line. During peak hours, early morning and late afternoon, trains operate more frequently to accommodate the higher volume of commuters. 

Check the official Transperth website for up-to-date schedules, station information, and service announcements.

the free cat bus in east perth
Free CAT Bus Perth

Public Transport Tickets

The easiest way to get around Perth on public transport is by using a SmartRider card, or you can buy a cash ticket from the bus driver or at a train station machine. However, you need the correct amount of money as no change is given.

Follow these steps to buy your SmartRider card and begin your journey around the city:

  1. Locate a Retail Outlet: Visit one of the many authorised retail outlets where SmartRider cards are available. These outlets include Transperth InfoCentres, train stations, and other participating retailers.
  2. Choose Your Card Type: There are two types of SmartRider cards: standard and concession. If you are eligible for a concession fare (e.g., students, seniors, or pensioners), choose the appropriate card type.
  3. Provide Identification: If purchasing a concession card, ensure you have the required identification documents to prove your eligibility. This may include a valid student ID, concession card, or other relevant documents.
  4. Load Credit: Decide how much credit you want to load onto your SmartRider card initially. You can choose from various amounts based on your travel needs. Remember that this initial credit will be available for use on public transportation.
  5. Activate and Use: Once you have your SmartRider card, activate it before using it for travel. To activate the card, touch it to a SmartRider reader on a bus or train. Follow the instructions displayed on the reader to complete the activation process.
  6. Top-Up: When your balance gets low, you can easily top up your SmartRider card with additional credit. This can be done at Transperth InfoCentres, online, or at designated SmartRider top-up machines.

With your SmartRider card, you’re ready to explore Perth with ease. Tap on and off the SmartRider readers on buses, train stations, and ferries to pay for your fare.

Transperth Zone & Line Map

This Transperth map shows where the lines run, what zone the stations are in, and where the stops are in relation to Perth city and suburbs.

Perth’s Free Transit Zone (FTZ)

Travel by bus and train within the FTZ is free – The Free Transit Zone logo on bus stops identifies the zone’s boundaries. However, if you travel outside the zone, you must buy a ticket.

a map of the Transperth free transit zone perth city
Transperth Free Transit Zone

Peth’s Free CAT buses

The free CAT (Central Area Transit) bus services provide a convenient mode of transportation within the city’s central area. With several well-planned routes covering key attractions, shopping districts, entertainment hubs, and business centres, the free CAT buses have become integral to Perth’s public transportation network. 

Five CATs operate in the city, three in Joondalup and one in Fremantle.

map showing the free cat bus lines to get around perth western australia
Free CAT bus lines in Perth city

First Sunday Free

Travel on Transperth is free on the Sunday of every month for all SmartRider users. However, it does not apply to late-night services after midnight on Saturday.

Ferry

For a different perspective of Perth, ride on the Swan River Ferry, which runs to and from Elizabeth Quay to South Perth. If you’re in the city, this is the best way to get to Perth Zoo.

ferry docked by the river
Ferry from Elizabeth Quay to South Perth

Getting Around Perth: Cycling

Hire a bike and cycle around the city – About Bike Hire rents out bikes for short-term, day, or longer. An excellent ride for families is the 10 km bridge-to-bridge loop.

Spin Way WA has several automated bike hire terminals throughout the city, including Kings Park. It offers a fuss-free experience where you can hire from 1 hour upwards. 

Getting Around Perth: Walking

Perth City is easy to walk around and the best way to find the hidden laneways and explore street art. There are two amazing walking tour companies to choose from if you prefer guided walks – Two Feet & a Heartbeat and Oh Hey WA.

oh hey wa tour guide talking to tourists in perth laneway on a street art walk tour perth
Oh Hey WA Perth Walking Tour

Getting Around Perth: Ride-Sharing & Taxis

Ride-sharing services like Uber have become increasingly popular in Perth. Utilise these apps to request a ride whenever and wherever you need one. Estimate your fare, track your driver, and arrive at your destination conveniently and easily. Traditional taxis are also readily available throughout the city, providing a reliable alternative.

Travel Tips for Families

The public transportation system in Perth is designed to accommodate passengers of all ages, including families with children. Transperth buses, trains, and ferries are equipped with spacious seating, designated areas for strollers and prams, and often have priority seating for elderly and pregnant passengers.

Many stations and stops are also equipped with ramps and elevators, making accessing the platforms easier for families with strollers.

In addition, Transperth offers discounted fares for children, making it more affordable for families to travel together. The Family Rider Ticket allows up to two adults and five concessions, unlimited travel on the day of purchase – certain time restraints apply, though.

Plan Your Journey

Use Transperth’s Journey Planner to plan your route and times of your trip.

Maps & Guides

I hope you found this guide to getting around Perth useful. If you’d like any more information, please join our Facebook Group to ask questions, share photos, and give reviews on anything Western Australia related.