Transport concession improvements for tertiary students
Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced changes to the eligibility criteria for tertiary student travel concessions, moving them into the modern day.
Under long standing rules, full time tertiary students had to be attending day classes and could not be employed to be eligible for transport concessions.
Ms Berejiklian said that from today, the following groups of full time university, TAFE and private college students will now become eligible for transport concessions:
- Those who are employed or otherwise receiving an income;
- Those who are enrolled in evening classes;
- Those undertaking postgraduate research at universities.
“The eligibility criteria for travel concessions have been around for many years and simply did not reflect how people live and study today – we need a common sense approach,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Most people need to work casually or part time while they study to support themselves, and under the old eligibility criteria, those who worked were not actually eligible for a transport concession.
“These days, tertiary institutions are offering classes at night so students can balance their study commitments with a casual or part time job – it is ridiculous that in 2013 we would provide incentives for people not to have a job.”
The requirement to be attending day classes meant that students doing higher degrees by research at universities were also ineligible for concession fares, even though they had to travel to campus each day and were studying full time hours.
“It’s our hope that these changes will take some of the financial pressures off students who are working hard to educate and support themselves and contributing to the economy,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“These changes will also make it easier for institutions to understand and administer concessions, cutting unnecessary administrative red tape – there is too much confusion with the rules and enforcement has been very difficult.”
Students will still need to meet other criteria to be eligible for a concession, such as being internally enrolled at university full-time or taking part in 20 hours or more of face-to-face classes per week at a TAFE or private college.
However, students with a disability who, because of their disability, have to study part time or on an external basis, will be eligible for a transport concession.
Transport for NSW estimates the impact on revenue from today’s announcement will be minimal and can be absorbed within existing budget allocations.
Registered institutions will be contacted to ensure they are aware of the changes, which apply immediately.
Today’s announcement follows the NSW Government’s recent decision to offer travel discounts for international students who can save up to 35 per cent on MyMulti passes offering periodic unlimited travel on buses, trains, light rail and ferries in Greater Sydney, the Hunter and the Illawarra.