Dear Lifehacker, I am visiting Sydney soon for a university-related event and was wondering if my Victorian student concession card will be valid in Sydney? Do those cards work for discounts in other states? Thanks, Confused By Concessions
It depends on the type of discount you're after. Unfortunately, a Victorian student concession card will not cover you for public transport in NSW -- you are required to hold a NSW Tertiary Student Concession Card to be eligible for half-fare travel. Holding the equivalent card for another state or territory isn't good enough. This does seem slightly unfair to interstate students who are under the same financial hardships, but them's the breaks.
With that said, an unscrupulous risk taker could probably weasel their way out of a fine if they were that way inclined. NSW has just swapped over to the Opal smart card system which has replaced the bulk of paper tickets. One of the few exceptions is daily and weekly concession fares, which you can still purchase in paper form. We suspect that ticket inspectors will probably be more lenient as commuters get used to the new Opal system.
Meanwhile, you can purchase concession tickets from a machine without citing any proof. Even if you get fined by a hardliner, we reckon you could successfully argue your case in court -- just claim that you were confused by Opal. We're not condoning any of this incidentally, we're just speculating on what a dishonest person could do.
When it comes to stuff like concerts and theme parks, the rules usually depend on the proprietor. For instance, Sydney Aquarium will only provide concession tickets to NSW students, while the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will accept any valid full-time Australian student ID. As you'd expect, most proprietors lean towards NSW-only as this translates to more full-priced tickets. If you're on a tight budget, your best bet is to check the relevant venue's website before committing to any plans.
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