Travel and concession cards

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Can I get free travel?

You can generally get free travel to and from school if:

 

  • You live in New South Wales, AND
  • You are older than 4 and a half, AND
  • You are enrolled in school or full time TAFE (daycare does not count).

If you are in Year 3 or higher, you also need to live a certain distance from school. For primary school students (year 3-6), you must live more than 1.6 km from school, or more than 2.3 km by the most direct walking path.

For high school students (year 7-12), you must live more than 2 km from school, or more than 2.9 km by the most direct walking path.

To get a free pass, you have to apply online here. If you are under 16, your parents will have to apply for you.  


What if I live close to school and can’t get a free pass?

If you live close to school, you may be able to get a School Student Term Bus Pass for $54 a term. You can use it to travel to and from school if you can’t get a free pass. However, you can only use this pass for one bus operator. You can apply by filling out the form here.

What if I live in a regional area?

If you live in a rural or regional area, you can contact your local bus operator to see if you can get a School Term Bus Pass.

Also, if you live in a place without public transport, your parents can apply for some money that they can use to pay part of the petrol costs to drive you to school. This isn’t the full amount it costs to drive you, but it may still help. For more information, visit this website.

Do you have a disability that makes it hard for you to travel to school?

If you have a disability which makes it difficult to travel to school by yourself, you may be able to get support from the government to arrange special transport. To find out more about this, visit this page.

Do I need to get a pass each year?

If you are using a School Opal card, you can re-use it the next year if you still meet the rules above. For students who are from rural/regional areas, you will receive your yearly school travel pass from the transport operator at the start of the school year. This is usually sent to the school, but sometimes this may be sent to your home.

TAFE students

If you are a TAFE student, you can get free travel to and from TAFE if you are:

  • under 18 years old, AND
  • live more than 3.2 km from the college, AND
  • go to a TAFE closest to their home, AND
  • are enrolled in a minimum of 20 hours of class a week, AND
  • unemployed.

Overseas students

Some overseas students may be able to get free or pay less for travel, but this depends on your visa subclass. You will have to give your visa subclass number and name when applying for the pass online.

I’m a university student – can I get discounted travel?

Yes, if you:

  • are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, AND
  • live in New South Wales, AND
  • are enrolled full-time in your course.

If you’re using an Opal Card, you will need to give permission for your university to share this information with the government.  Once you do this, you can apply for a concession Opal card online. You must always carry your student ID with you when you travel with your Concession Opal card otherwise Transit Officers may ask you for your name and address and give you an on-the-spot fine of $200!

Behaviour on public transport

When you’re on public transport using your school pass, you have to follow the Code of Conduct. This includes things like not eating and drinking, not smoking, not distracting the driver and not vandalising the bus (for example by tagging it with graffiti).  

You can find a detailed list of the Student Codes of Conduct here. If you break the rules, you can get your pass taken away from you and pay a fine. You can find a detailed list of the fines for different offences here.

Fines

A transport officer has fined me for using my concession card without a Student ID. What can I do if I’ve been fined?

 

Pay it

Usually fines are due 21 days after you receive them, but you should check the date on the notice. If you don’t pay them off within 28 days of receiving a reminder notice, you may be given an late fee. If you need more time to pay, you can apply to pay in chunks called “instalments”. To do this, you should call the State Debt Recovery Office on 1300 138 118.

Dispute it

If you think you were wrongly fined, you can dispute it. You will have to write a letter to the State Debt Recovery Office or decide to challenge it in court. However, be mindful that less than 4% of reviews are successful. If you choose to go to court you will be sent a court attendance notice which will tell you which court to go to and when. If you go to court but are found guilty you may have to pay more than the initial fine, you may also be required to pay court costs.

If you have a question about travel and concession cards that we haven’t answered here, please contact us here.

Last reviewed on 14 August 2018.

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