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Local councils back call for public transport concessions

Luke Henriques-Gomes

Wed Mar 28 2012

RMIT University

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.

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