AusRAIL, Market Sectors

No Uni student concessions in Opal scheme

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> As the NSW government continues to roll out its Opal card ticketing system, a concession option for University students remains unavailable. </span> <p>A long-term, multi-stage rollout plan for Opal has been underway since last year. In recent weeks that&nbsp rollout has been accelerated, with promotional videos appearing on social media, as well as information booths and the now minor cult figure ‘Opal Man’ popping up at various train stations.</p><p>But one thing currently missing from the scheme, at least in terms of available options for purchase, is a concession ticket option for University students.</p><p>A notoriously vocal demographic which has, in the past, enjoyed subsidies on travel, University students would argue that they deserve cheaper travel because (a) they are usually not employed full time during their studies, and (b) they should be encouraged to use public transport, and to actually go to University when they are supposed to.</p><p>Under the (still currently available) pre-Opal ticketing method, Uni students can purchase a Student/Apprentice concession ticket, which is cheaper than a standard full fare ticket. This can be bought if the student has his or her concession card from their University.</p><p>Early Opal card media material, published on Transport for NSW’s website, featured images of a ‘Student’ card, a ‘Concession’ card, a ‘Child/Youth’ card, a ‘Senior/Pensioner’ card and the standard ‘Adult’ card.</p><p>But since those images were published in late 2012, the Opal scheme has developed into a three-card system. Now on offer on Opal’s website is the standard ‘Adult’ card, a ‘Child/Youth’ card (for those under 18), and a ‘Senior/Pensioner’ card, which is not yet available, but will be made available at a later date, according to the site.</p><p>No mention is made on Opal’s customer website of a concession card for University students, or of one being made available in the near future. A single reference was found to a potential future ‘Concession’ card on a June 1 media release, but no reference is made to the ‘Student’ card shown in 2012 releases, and the option is absent from all Opal purchasing websites at time of writing.</p><p>Opal’s key counterparts in other Australian cities, namely Brisbane’s Go Card and Melbourne’s Myki system, both feature student concession options alongside child/youth cards and pensioner/senior, and other concession options.</p><p>Rail Express reached out to Transport for NSW last week in an effort to confirm or deny the future potential of a concession card specifically for University students, but the department was yet to reply by this morning.</p><p>The absence of a Uni student concession card from the current scheme has become more prominent in the last month, as Transport for NSW announced in early June that it would begin retiring a selection of tickets on the pre-Opal ticketing system from September.</p><p>Among those tickets getting the chop in the first round of cuts are monthly, quarterly and annual concession tickets (the kind applicable to University students). Concession single, return, weekly and fortnightly tickets will still be available, but “will be retired progressively,” Transport said.</p><p>“Fourteen of the old paper tickets are being retired from 1 September, meaning that you will no longer be able to buy these tickets,” Transport said. “After 1 September, customers will need to use an Opal card or they may choose to continue using a form of paper ticket that is still available.&quot</p>