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Top 10 things about Adelaide trams

Adelaide’s tram service is as much a South Australian icon as Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee  or Haigh’s chocolate.

A yellow Flexity trams arriving at the Victoria Square platform where customers are waiting.

Electric trams have operated in the Adelaide for more than a century now and catching the tram to Glenelg regularly features in online lists of top things to do in Adelaide – just Google it!

So, what is it that’s so great about Adelaide’s tram service?

1. It’s free!

Yes, you have to pay to travel between South Terrace and Brighton Road but within the CBD and all the way out to the Entertainment Centre, travel by tram is completely free – all day, every day! It’s also free along the famous Jetty Road strip at Glenelg. Hop on and hop off all over the place!

2. Go straight to major attractions

Whether you’re heading to the Entertainment Centre, South Australian Museum, Art Gallery, Botanic Gardens, Rundle Mall, Central Market, Convention Centre, Adelaide Oval or Glenelg, the tram can get you there – and many other places in between or nearby. It will even take you to the Royal Adelaide Hospital or to the gates of Morphettville Racecourse on race days. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the tram is a great option to get you places!

A red and blue Citadis tram sits at the Festival Plaza tram platform under a night sky with a birightly lit Adelaide Oval and St Peter's Cathedral behind it.
Catch the tram to major attractions like the Adelaide Oval. Photo by Di Swift.

3. No need for timetables

Yes, trams do run to a timetable, but with a tram arriving every 10 minutes for much of the day – and every 5 minutes during peak hour – all you need to do is head to your nearest tram stop and get on the first one headed in the right direction. If you need it, you can get timetable information on the Adelaide Metro website or use an app.

Customers walking to board a red Citadis tram at Rundle Mall platform.
Don’t worry about the timetable – just turn up and go!

4. Paying the fare is easy

If you travel outside of the free zone and you’re a regular customer, then you’ll most likely validate your metroCARD which can be recharged online or at the on-board ticket vending machine. If you don’t have a metroCARD, you can tap-and-pay at one of the specially-marked validators with your credit card or smart device, or purchase a range of tickets at the on-board ticket vending machine (using cash, credit card or EFTPOS). Easy.

A yellow smart validatorin the foreground, with a grey validator in the background next to an on-board ticket vending machine.
Use your metroCARD, purchase a MetroTicket or tap-and-pay.

5. It’s less hassle and cheaper than parking

With parking in the city costing around $20 for 4 hours, it’s much cheaper and easier to just jump on a tram! Or, use the Park’n’Ride facility at the Entertainment Centre for just $5 (between 5.00am and 6.30pm if you enter before 5.00pm) and jump on the free tram into the city! Simple.

A row of cars parallel-parked on the street with a tra crossing an intersection in the background.
Take the hassle out of parking by catching the tram!

6. Transfer to other services

All metroCARD and MetroTicket fares are valid for 2 hours and can be used to travel on other Adelaide Metro trams, trains and buses. At the moment, tap-and-pay fares can only be used to transfer to other tram services. As trams travel along major thoroughfares like North Terrace and King William Street, and stop directly outside the Adelaide Railway Station, jumping onto another service is easy! Use the Adelaide Metro Journey Planner to help get you where you need to go.

A red citadis tram next to 2 Adelaide Metro buses on King William Street, Adelaide. It is dusk and all have headlights on.
Tranfer to other Adelaide Metro services.

7. Reduced (or free) fares

Children under 5 travel for free (at all times) with an accompanying parent or carer. School students aged 5 and above pay discounted fares (those aged 15 or above must carry their student ID when travelling). On weekends, South Australian school holidays and public holidays, two children under the age of 15 can travel free when they are with an adult who is using an adult Daytrip MetroTicket.

Concession fares are available for full-time post-secondary students, transport concession card holders and others.

Seniors Card holders can currently travel for free at all times except weekdays 7.00–9.00 am and 3.00–7.00 pm, during which times concession fares apply (and your Seniors Card is also a rechargable metroCARD!). From 1 July 2022, this will be extended to allow seniors to travel for free at any time – more information will be available soon.

Visiting Seniors Card holders from interstate can get a free 14 day pass which entitles them to travel subject to the same conditions as SA Seniors. Passes can be obtained from various visitor and information centres or can be ordered online.

And free travel is often available for ticket holders at special events like AFL matches.

8. Every tram is accessible

Both Citadis and Flexity trams are equipped with ramps that operators will deploy upon request for those with mobility scooters, wheelchairs, or other mobility aids. There are priority seats and designated spaces on board, along with loudspeaker announcements for every stop. For more information about access and disability see the Adelaide Metro website.

A tram operator deploying an access ramp on a Flexity tram.
All trams have mobility access ramps.

9. Friendly employees are there to help you

Customer Service Officers are always out and about on the network to help customers with ticket purchases, route queries, and more. Tram operators can help you when they’re not driving, and there are points near tram doors that allow you communicate with the driver in an emergency. And if you have any feedback about the service or you need to enquire about lost property, then contact the Adelaide Metro Infoline on 1300 311 108.

2 Customer Service Officers talking to a customer on a tram.
Customer Service Officers are there to assist you.

10. It just feels special

Trams make memories. No matter whether you remember riding the H-class to Glenelg for ice cream, or if you’ve jumped on the Citadis and Flexity trams to get you to uni, the tram is a little bit different to Adelaide’s other modes of public transport – something of a novelty that we remember with joy.

It could be the fact that with only 3 routes, the tram is what you catch to get to those ‘special places’ in Adelaide.

Perhaps it’s the sense of history that surrounds the service.

Or it could be the fact that it’s been an environmentally-friendly transport option for more than 100 years, long before the current focus on emissions and the move to electric vehicles.

Whatever the reason, the tram holds a special place in the hearts of South Australians. So whether you’re a local or a visitor, you can rely on the tram service to get you there easily and safely – and leave you with some great memories!

A citadis, Flexity, and H-class tram in the depot yard.
There’s just something special about trams! Photo by Anthony Milde.