Local councils back call for public transport concessions

Tram passes RMIT

International students pay nearly double their local peers on public transport. Photo: iCandy

LOCAL goverments in Victoria are backing a call for international students to have access to public transport fare concessions.

Under the current system, only full-time local students receive concessions, with those from overseas forced to buy full-fare tickets.

But the Eastern Transport Coalition – which comprises the Monash, Maroondah, Yarra Ranges, Knox and Greater Dandenong city councils – has backed a report from a private education trainer, recommending international students have access to subsidised tickets.

In the new paper by the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), it was revealed that more than 89 per cent of international students do not recommend studying in Victoria because of poor public transport assistance.

Monash Deputy Mayor Jieh-Yung Lo said he believed the sidelining of a group of students was discrimination.

He said it was “disappointing” that the Government saw concessions as a revenue concern.

“International students are not all driving Ferraris and carrying Louis Vuitton bags,” he said.

“It is an issue of social inequity.”

The report also stated international students spent about $30 per week more than local students on public transport with a full-fare daily zone one and two ticket costing almost double its concession equivalent at $11.

International student Sonal Trehan, 20, said she finds the “segregation” of ticket prices “unfair and confusing”.

Ms Trehan, who studies Journalism at RMIT University, also noted while international exchange students were granted concessions, full-time international students were not.

“I feel it’s a bit unfair,” she said.

“We get overcharged in other areas as well, so I feel we should be the ones getting concessions.”

Ms Trehan, who uses public transport five times a week, said she sometimes walked to class because of the expense eventhough she would rather get the tram.

“It can get inconvenient when I’m running late for classes because I live 20 minutes walk away from the campus.”

She said life in the city would be “easier” for her if international students were granted concessions.

But the Government has said it has “no plans” to extend concessions to international students.

Liberal MP for Mount Waverley, Michael Gidley, said the Government’s current priority was to improve service levels and reliability within the system after a “decade of under-investment” from the previous Government.

The Victorian and New South Wales governments are the only Australian governments that don’t extend concessions to international students.

Do you believe the Government does enough to support international students? Tell us below.

There are 8 comments

  1. Emma

    Its not discriminatory. Why should Victorian tax payers be subsidising foreign nationals! Australians pay taxes that subsidise the education of our own citizens, including the subsidising of their transport to attend their eductional institution. We dont pay taxes to to educate foreigners; that is the responsibility of their own governement and tax payers at home. Foreign students are not meant to be subsidised by Australian tax payers in any way. Also, why should foreign students gets subsidised public transport when even Victorians in minimum wage jobs have to pay full fare (and struggled to do so). I would rather see public transport costs reduced for all Victorian or discounting for low income earners than tax payer money wasted on subsidising foreing students.

    1. Alex

      Do you know that international students contribute a lot to the Australia export?
      We are student and we may be unemployed during our studying period. Why is it so unfair. I would be happy to see Australian export drop dramatically while international students decide not to come to Austrlia anymore and you shall see how struggled your government is.

  2. Esteban

    It is discriminatory since, when you have reciprocal policies in other countries where anyone with the title of student receives a concession, more so international students pay double than national students , and if the money from international students is withdrawn and taken to other states lets say QLD due to low customer satisfaction , then Victoria does not receive the money that needs so much for boosting their economy since as u see it now Victoria has a major deficit, so it would be even worst if people are not willing to invest in Victoria in their education just like me, and when it comes to thousands of dollars multiplied by thousands of students then you can see the big picture cant you???

  3. Julius

    Dear Emma

    1. Other States (Queensland) grants International Students Concession tickets.
    2. International students pay very high school fees in relative to locals, thus should be given equal treatments.
    3. Majority of international students live on very tight budget, lower transportation cost will help.
    4. Australia Fed government boasts of plans to become an International Educational hub, but states such as NSW and VIC (favourites as an international students’ destination) fail to offer a fair treatment to international students. On the whole it may be bad for these 2 states, and eventually Australia….

    I thought it would be interesting for you to know

  4. Chris


    Regardless of where you are from in the world and living in Australia, international students are still paying taxes and adding to the Aus economy. It is unfair and discriminatory to deny these people the concession. Wake up NSW and Vic Transport – international students are worth so much more to Australia and our culture than the tight fistedness you guys are displaying…….you will take students fees but you won’t grant them a half price bus ride???/ Work that out???

  5. Davidryan

    I do not think it’s a justice with the international students not to offering them concession in form of travel fare . Moreover, Government should admit that international students are the great source of generating more revenue for Australian government , So why they can’t give relaxation to these students . In fact this is discrimination with them that is why they are reviewing to go to other countries where these facilities are available to them .

  6. Anonymous

    Well-written article. Hopefully the discrimination stops soon. A myopic view about transport revenue will not offset the effect of reduced enrolments.

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