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Transport Concession Pains

Are you an international student in Sydney and equally frustrated about Transport NSW’s incapability to give them the same transport concessions domestic students receive? More generally, isn’t it somewhat unfair that every student studying in Australia will have to pay full price anywhere but ‘at home’? Are we not meant to travel? Or is the logic – if you can afford to travel you can afford the transport? Some of us have to travel for their research… and many universities’ HDR funding pots are too tight to enable extensive financial support.

For many universities international students are very profitable – the fees often around $10,000 per semester! It is only fair to assume that someone who can afford these fees won’t flinch to pay an additional couple of grants on public transport, right? Hang on, many international students are on scholarships too – also on Australian government scholarship (this seems to make a difference somehow).  In many cases international students receive lower scholarship rates as it is – and aren’t eligible for the common university top-ups available to many domestic students. Besides they cannot work as many hours and all summed up it appears to be fairly…well, unfair.

The recent ‘improvements’ to the student concession situation introduced by NSW Transport seem like a twisted icing on the cake. There is only a very limited choice of ticket types: a three, six or twelve months concessions ticket, not for the MyMulti 1 (which by the way is $44 per week already). Oh, did I mention…of course the concession is not 50% but only between 25% and 35%. So, unless your university is far enough, you travel to university every day and every week of the year – this is obviously a bad deal and you end up paying significantly more than domestic students. Again!

Sure, some people will argue that you won’t need any concession if you don’t travel to university every day. Seriously!? Of course, the concession should enable the students to get to university.  In addition however, it should allow students the mobility to move around the place for private reasons – to have a healthy social life, organise their grocery shopping and everything really. The assumption that travel concession ceases where university-related activities end is ridiculous.

So, what are your experiences in other cities? Is it only NSW Transport or are other states’ transport authorities equally mean? Is there anything we can do – other than rant on blogs and Facebook status updates? Have you maybe got similar experiences with related issues?

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