Travel to School

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Looking at ways to travel to school with Adelaide Metro? Here’s some information to help you get started!

Three top tips to make it easy to travel to school with Adelaide Metro:

  1. Plan ahead for cashless travel: For everyone’s safety, we’re offering cashless ticketing. This means you can’t jump on a bus and buy a ticket on board with cash. So, plan ahead and buy a metroCARD. It’s the cheapest, safest and simplest way to catch public transport. We’ve outlined the steps below.
  2. Take some time to ‘set and forget’ your metroCARD: By investing a little time now to buy and register your metroCARD, organise an Auto Recharge and sign up for SMS/email alerts about your regular bus, train or tram service, you’ll be able to relax later, and enjoy the ride.
  3. Work together: Mums, dads, caregivers and kids – we suggest you check out the journey planner and timetables together, read through our safety tips, put some back-up plans in place for those days when things don’t go exactly as expected, and do some practice runs together. That way you’ll all be confident and comfortable when you travel to school with us.

Find the best way to travel to school

The quickest and easiest way to see the ways you can travel to school with Adelaide Metro is with our online Journey Planner. You’ll find it on our home page.

Once you know which options are available, you can check our timetables.

You can also use My Next Service, which finds the stops or stations closest to your current location and tells you which services are available for you to catch at the time you’re searching. You’ll find it on our home page.

And if you do most of your journey planning on your smart phone, you may like to download one of our partnered apps…

How do I use the Journey Planner?

You’ll find our Journey Planner on our home page.

Just put the address of your home (or other starting point) in the ‘From’ box, and the name of your school in the ‘To’ box and click ‘Plan my journey’. The journey planner will take you to a map, with the input fields showing all the available options for travelling right now.

You’ll now need to refine that search to get the best options for the times and dates your child will actually be travelling.

To get a relevant list of options, you need to:

  • Switch ‘Leave now’ to ‘Arrive by’ and put in the time your child needs to arrive at school.
  • Then add in a date that your child would be travelling to school (ie, within school term time). That way, the options you see will include any school buses that service your school and might suit you, as well as any regular Adelaide Metro services. (Our school buses only run during school terms, so they won’t show up if you use dates outside those term times.)

For the return journey, just reverse the ‘From’ and ‘To’ details, and remember to put in the right times and dates to get all the available options.


  • Click on the ‘Details’ listed for each option to see more information about the journey, including whether the service is a regular Adelaide Metro service or a school bus.
  • You can also click on ‘Walk’ for more directions, and on the name of the bus, train or tram service to see more details about the route.
  • You can use the map to explore more.
  • You can print out the journeys, and share them with others.

How can I find the right timetables to travel to school?

Once you know the name of the Adelaide Metro bus, train or tram that offers you the best option to travel to school, you can search for the full timetable, or just continue to use the Journey Planner.

What is a school bus service and can I use it?

A school bus service is an Adelaide Metro bus service which services primary and high schools around Adelaide through a partnership arrangement between the school and Adelaide Metro.

Only students, teachers, and parents or carers accompanying travelling school students are permitted to travel on designated Adelaide Metro school bus services.

Your school should have details about any school bus services they have arranged with us. (Note, some schools organise school bus services with other, private contractors, and these won’t show up in our journey planner.)

For more information, please visit our school services page.

Which apps can I use to plan my journey?

We have partnered with three third-party app developers to enhance existing public transport apps to suit people using public transport in Adelaide.

What are the apps?

Moovit gives you the best route, with accurate Real-Time arrival information and service alerts.



NextThere displays departure information at a tap and shows where you and your next service are. (Not available on Android)


Transit shows Real-Time arrivals, step-by-step directions, and helps find new routes using buses, trains, and trams.




Choose your metroCARD and fares

You will need a metroCARD to travel to school with Adelaide Metro because, for everyone’s safety, we are offering cashless ticketing.

A metroCARD is a plastic electronic smart card, the size of a credit card.

You load it with money to pay for your Adelaide Metro fares. This is called ‘recharging’.

The money you store on your card is called your ‘balance’.

You tap your metroCARD on a validator each time you board an Adelaide Metro bus, train or tram. This is called ‘validating’.

When you validate your card, the cost of your fare is deducted from your metroCARD balance.

Because your metroCARD has your money stored on it, it’s a good idea to register it. Then, if it gets lost or stolen, we can transfer the balance to a new metroCARD, and you won’t lose your money.

How and where do I buy a metroCARD?

There are four ways to buy a metroCARD:

1. Buy a metroCARD online (and wait for it to be posted to you)

To buy a metroCARD online, simply fill out this form and have your credit card handy. You will receive your metroCARD within 7-10 business days by post.

When you buy your metroCARD online, it will automatically be registered to you. This offers you a range of benefits and options.

2. Buy a metroCARD from the Adelaide Metro InfoCentre at the Adelaide Railway Station (and get it immediately)

At this location, you can also register your new metroCARD and recharge it on the spot.

3. Buy a metroCARD from a metroCARD Agent (and get it immediately)

 You can browse our lists to find a metroCARD Agent:

Or you can use ‘Find your nearest metroCARD Agent’ on our Where to Buy page. Simply put in your postcode and hit ‘Search’.

Remember to check which services the metroCARD Agents offer before you go to see them. Some sell and recharge metroCARDs, and some offer recharge only.

4. Buy a metroCARD from selected vending machines

You’ll find the locations of the vending machines that sell metroCARDS on our Where to Buy page.

Once you’ve bought your metroCARD, you can use it immediately.

It’s a good idea to register it immediately. This will protect your balance if your metroCARD is lost or stolen, and provide you with other benefits and options.

(See details about how to register your metroCARD on this page.)

Which metroCARD do I need and what will it cost?

Which metroCARD does my child need?

metroCARDS Range

Children under 5 years of age do not need a metroCARD. They can travel on Adelaide Metro services with their parent or caregiver at no charge.

Primary and secondary school students need a student metroCARD.

  • Students aged between 5 and 14 years can use a student metroCARD without carrying photo ID.
  • Students aged 15 years or older must carry an approved photo ID card

Full-time tertiary and post-secondary students need a concession metroCARD and must carry an approved photo ID card.

How much will it cost?

Card type Card cost Starting balance Total cost
Student metroCARD $3.50 +$5.00 $8.50
Concession metroCARD $3.50 +$5.00 $8.50

 For details about other metroCARDs, please visit our Fares page.

How much will the trips cost?

The amount you pay for your trip depends on the type of metroCARD you’re travelling with, and the time you travel (peak or interpeak).

Please visit our Fares page for full details.

Once you’ve registered your metroCARD, you may like to add a 14-Day Pass or 28-Day Pass to receive discounted fares.

How do I use my metroCARD?

Each time you board an Adelaide Metro bus, train or tram, you need to validate your metroCARD. You do this by tapping your metroCARD on a validator.

When you validate your card, the validator calculates:

  • the kind of fare you’re travelling with (regular, student or concession)
  • whether you are travelling at a Peak or Interpeak time
  • whether you have a 14-Day or 28-Day pass added;
  • whether you have validated your metroCARD in the last two hours.

 The cost of your fare is then deducted from your metroCARD balance.

You’ll know that you’ve successfully validated your metroCARD when the validator beeps and displays a green light when the validation is successful. The validator will also show you how much money is left in your metroCARD balance. (A red cross means the validation didn’t work. This might mean that you don’t have enough money in your balance.)

Once you’ve validated your metroCARD, the trip is valid for two hours. You can use any Adelaide Metro bus, train or tram within that time. (This is called ‘transferring’.) Just validate again as you board your next vehicle; the validator will recognise that your trip is still current and won’t deduct any money from your balance until that two hours is finished.

You also need to tap your metroCARD at the barrier gates at selected railway stations (but this does not count as a validation, and will not result in a fare being deducted from your metroCARD balance).

Why register my metroCARD?

Registering your metroCARD offers you a range of benefits and options. With a registered metroCARD, you can:

How do I register my metroCARD?

You can register your metroCARD by creating a metroCARD account:

Once you have purchased your metroCARD, you will need to wait 24 hours before you can register it online.

You must register the metroCARD in the name of the person who is managing the metroCARD account. (For a student metroCARD, that’s usually a parent or caregiver).

For more information visit our FAQs page.

How can I save money with a 14-Day or 28-Day pass?

If you use Adelaide Metro services frequently, you could save a significant amount on your fares if you recharge your metroCARD with a 14-Day or 28-Day pass. These passes give you unlimited travel for either 14 consecutive days or 28 consecutive days (depending which pass you buy.)

Check out the savings you can make, plus other details at:

To buy a 14-Day or 28-Day pass:

  • visit your nearest metroCARD Agent (pick one that offers recharge)
  • visit the Adelaide Metro InfoCentre at the Adelaide Railway Station (Visa, MasterCard, UnionPay and EFTPOS only)
  • use an on-board vending machine (on trains and trams only)
  • use a vending machine at a stop or station
  • call the Adelaide Metro InfoLine on 1300 311 108 (7am - 8pm every day).

You’ll find the locations of your nearest metroCARD agents and vending machines on our Where to buy page.

Find more information about our 14-Day and 28-Day passes on our FAQs page.

How do I recharge a metroCARD?

Recharging is the way you add money to your metroCARD balance so that you can pay for your trips on Adelaide Metro services.

You’ll find all the information you need to recharge your card on our Recharge page.

If you decide to recharge as you go, remember that you can check the balance of your metroCARD on the validator as you validate each trip.

You may find it more convenient to set up Auto Recharge, which ensures you always have money in the balance and are good to go.

How do I set up Auto Recharge ?

Once you have registered your metroCARD, you can set up Auto Recharge.

Auto Recharge means that your metroCARD will always have enough money in its balance for you to travel with Adelaide Metro.

You’ll find all the details about how it works and how to set it up yourself on our Auto Recharge page.

If you’d like some help, you can:

  • call our InfoLine on 1300 311 108 (7am-8pm every day)
  • visit our InfoCentre at the Adelaide Railway Station.

Travel to school safely

Like any new experience, it pays to plan ahead before you send your child to school on a bus, tram or train. This includes planning the trip together, identifying and talking about any risks, and working through the information, skills and strategies they’ll need to feel confident and stay safe.

Remember, everyone travelling on the Adelaide Metro public transport network has the right to enjoy a safe, pleasant trip, so it’s important that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities and behaves with consideration for others.

Here is some information to help you prepare.

Safety tips for students using public transport

Getting to the stop or station in the morning

  • Always supervise younger children and hold their hand when walking to and from the bus stop, station or interchange, and when crossing the road.
  • When walking, remind your child to:
    • STOP! One step back from the kerb
    • LOOK! Both ways for traffic
    • LISTEN! For the sounds of approaching traffic
    • THINK! Whether it is safe to cross.
  • When waiting for the bus, hold hands and stand a few steps back from the edge of the road.

Getting off the bus, tram or train in the afternoon

  • Meet your child at the stop, station or interchange after school.
  • Never wait on the opposite side of the road or platform and call them across.
  • Wait until the bus, tram or train has gone, then choose a safe place to cross the road.
  • If you cannot meet your child, organise for a trusted adult to take your place, and inform your child about the change in arrangements.

What if things don’t go to plan?

Before your child starts travelling to school with us, talk to them about what to do if:

  • you are delayed and cannot meet them as usual (for example, find a safe place to wait or know who to call)
  • they catch the wrong bus, tram or train
  • they get off the bus, tram or train at the wrong stop
  • they miss their bus, train or tram
  • their bus, train or tram is delayed.

You may also like to consider:

  • ensuring they have important phone numbers on hand
  • arranging a regular phone call or text to assure each other that all is well
  • arranging for them to travel with friends.

Before your child starts catching public transport, it’s a good idea to do a few practice runs together, to ensure that they:

  • know how to get to and from their stop, station or interchange
  • are familiar with their bus, train or tram
  • know how when to get off their bus, train or tram
  • have some back-up plans and alternative people to contact for those days when when things don’t go exactly as expected.

Please visit our Safety and Courtesy page for more information.

How can I stay informed about delays or disruptions?

Occasionally, Adelaide Metro services are unavoidably disrupted or delayed. We strive to keep you informed about any changes.

To stay up to date on any delays or disruptions that may affect your child’s service you can:

  • check our Service Updates
  • follow us on Twitter
  • create a My Metro log-in and sign up to receive SMS and/or email alerts about the bus, train and/or tram services you need to know about.

Staying COVID-Safe on public transport

The Adelaide Metro public transport network provides an essential service, helping people get where they need to go.

Like public transport networks around the world, we have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a number of initiatives, including cleaning our buses, trains, trams and busiest stations and interchanges more frequently, offering cashless ticketing, responding quickly to health regulations and government restrictions and promoting health messages with our customers.

All South Australians are asked to play their part to keep each other safe, including making responsible choices about using public transport.

You’ll find more information about how to play your part to stay COVID-Safe at our Health, safety and behaviour page.

Need more information?

Make an enquiry via email and we’ll get back to you within two business days, or call our InfoLine (7am-8pm every day) on 1300 311 108 and talk to us directly.

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