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Perth (Australia) - Driving and Public Transport
Expatriates granted with a Permanent Resident Visa and living in Perth must apply for a WA Driver's Licence within 3 months of getting the permanent visa. For more information, visit the Government of Western Australia's Department Of Transport website at www.transport.wa.gov.au. You can also download an information sheet about Driver's Licenses here.
There is paid street parking available in Perth city, as well as many multistory car parks. If you intend to stay late in the city, watch out for the closing times of the car parks, and have loose change ready if the car park system is automated. Parking in the suburbs is usually free – if not, there are usually signs and ticket booths where you can purchase a ticket stub to display on your dashboard. Petrol stations in Perth city are open 24 hours. If you intend to travel outside the city area, bear in mind that distances in Western Australia can be far, so it is a good idea to have an idea of the distance as petrol stations in the country can be as far as 500 km apart.
Transperth offers bus, train and ferry services in Perth. Do note that public transport operate on different timetables on weekends and on public holidays. Updated timetables are available at the Transperth website at www.transperth.wa.gov.au.
Within Perth CBD itself, it is usually easier and less expensive to move about using the complimentary bus service (the Cat) or walking, instead of driving. The Cat service (Central Area Transit) within the Perth CBD is a complimentary service to encourage drivers not to drive within the CBD area. There are three CAT services plying central Perth – Blue, Red and Green. Traveling within a Free Transit Zone (FTZ) means that you do not need a ticket to use any bus service within the area. The FTZ covers Perth CBD, West Perth, East Perth and Northbridge.
The train service in Perth has improved tremendously in the last 10 years. Suburban trains are operated by Transperth. There are 5 main passenger lines that connect central Perth with its northern suburbs (up North to Clarkson), or to its eastern suburbs (east to Midland), or southeast (Armdale) or west, ending at Fremantle. The latest line, opened in 2007, travels from central Perth down south to Mandurah, passing neighbourhoods such as Bull Creek and Murdoch. Expatriates who intend to commute to work daily would want to consider getting a SmartRider card. A SmartRider Card provides discounted fares for travel on Perth's trains and buses. Contact Transperth at 13 62 13.
Taxis can get expensive, and usually expatriates who intend to live in Perth for some time would consider buying a second hand car, rather than relying on taxis as a means of regular transport. Taxi rates start at A$3.60 and $5.20 in peak times. There are a number of taxi companies – Black & White Taxi (Tel: 13 10 08), Coastal Tricolor Cabs (13 22 27), Swan Taxis (13 13 30) and Yellow Cabs (13 19 24).
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