Melbourne Airport to City for Under $4

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

Share your experience HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]