Melbourne Airport’s SkyBus increased its fares again this week. A ticket on the monopoly bus service between Melbourne Airport and Southern Cross station now costs $19 one-way, or $38 return. “10 Trip saver” tickets have also increased by $10 to $160. Family tickets have seen a small price reduction.
Our members are thoroughly unimpressed by this latest price hike.
Really disgusting for what is usually overcrowded and uncomfortable
But there’s a little-known alternative to the SkyBus that costs just $3.90 per trip. The 901 bus can be used between Melbourne Airport and Broadmeadows station, with a train completing the trip between Broadmeadows and Melbourne’s city centre.
[The 901 bus] runs every 15 minutes on weekdays until about 9 o’clock at night and is half hourly at other times. You can take a train from Melbourne’s city stations on the Craigieburn line to Broadmeadows (or even V/Line train from Albury, Seymour or Shepparton) and connect to the 901 right outside the station. The fare one way is $3.90 ($1.85 seniors, pensioners and kids) using a myki smartcard. It can take as little as an hour depending on how long you wait at Broadmeadows. This is a lot cheaper than Skybus’ $19 with the savings increasing if you use this other option for a return trip.
At Melbourne Airport the route 901 departs from the new car park not far from Terminal 4: there are ground floor bus bays. There’s a myki card vending machine at international arrivals…
The bus/train combination via Broadmeadows is much cheaper than the SkyBus, but it does have some downsides. It generally takes longer, and requires a connection in Broadmeadows. The SkyBus travels directly to Southern Cross station in the city. Furthermore, the train and bus timetables are not well-synched, meaning an extended wait in Broadmeadows can sometimes be necessary. Planning the trip in advance can help to reduce these wait times.
While some members place a higher value on their time, others are happy to take the slight detour for a saving of $15 in each direction.
When searching for directions to the airport on Google Maps or the PTV Journey Planner, SkyBus options are shown by default. In order to view possible train/bus connections on Google Maps, the “bus” option must be manually de-selected. On the PTV Journey Planner, select “more search options” and de-select the SkyBus option from the drop-down menu.
If you’re travelling to the airport with two or more people, Uber or a taxi is also now a more viable, cost-effective option. Prices for two or more passengers will be almost the same as SkyBus, and you’ll receive a more comfortable door-to-door service.
If you have two people, Uber X is now much more attractive (effectively the same price when traffic is good) and it’s to the door as well, on the departure level
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