PT fare discounts you may not know about

From a conversation with my sister, an occasional PT user, I’m guessing there are some discounts around the place that people don’t know about. The good news is that with Myki being forced down everybody’s throats, if you can get over the hurdle of getting a card (now $6 full fare, $3 concession), it’s easier than ever before to get the discounts.

Bourke Street trams

This is just a summary, and is aimed at Melbourne, though some of the rules apply elsewhere in Victoria. There are various exclusions (for instance no free travel on some services such as Skybus or Countrylink). Click on the relevant link for all the details.

(And if you don’t understand how Myki works, and the difference between Myki Money and Myki Pass, go read this or this.)

Freebies

Kids aged 3 and under ride for free.

Anybody with a permanent disability which means they can’t use tickets can get an Access Travel Pass, which means they ride for free.

Separately, there’s also a Scooter and Wheelchair Travel Pass which also provides free travel, and also a Vision Impaired Travel Pass.

There are various other free passes for (some) war veterans, companions/carers, and also some retired public transport staff.

There’s free travel on weekends for Victorian Seniors — see below.

Note that Myki cards need a positive balance (above zero) for the free travel to work (eg if you owe them money, you don’t get a free ride).

Concessions

Concession fares are generally 50% of the full (adult) fare.

You can’t buy a concession Myki from a vending machine; you have to find a Premium station or retail outlet or buy online.

Kids from 4 to 16 can use a concession Myki (without needing a concession card to prove entitlement).

Kids 17 and older who are in fulltime study (secondary or tertiary) need to get a VPT (Victorian Public Transport) Student Concession Card (costing $9) to be eligible to use a concession Myki. You also need one of these if using a Student Pass (discounted 6-month or yearly ticket).

Anybody with a Health Care Card (with a Victorian address) can travel on concession fares — these cards are broadly available to people on limited incomes. This is helpful for some postgrad or part-time students who are ineligible for student concessions.

If you have a Victorian Seniors Card you can get a Seniors Myki, which gives concession fares on weekdays, capped to the Seniors Daily $3.60 fare (2013: $3.80), and free travel on weekends.

There are various other concessions for (some) war veterans and widows, and asylum seekers.

From interstate or overseas

Seniors from Interstate can use a standard concession Myki, but can’t get a Seniors Myki. It’s not clear to me if seniors from overseas are entitled to any discount at all — although this page implies all “non-Victorian” Seniors can get a concession Myki, but this is not reflected in the Fares & Ticketing Manual, which talks about Victorian and interstate/Australian seniors or pension card holders.

The rules for kids appear to apply to those from interstate or overseas — free rides for 3 and under, concession fares 4 to 16. No discount for 17 and over, as you have to be a student in Victoria.

Despite continuing campaigns, international students aren’t eligible for concessions.

Evening discounts

The rules about 2-hour tickets being valid all night after 6pm still apply to Myki: the fare applies until 3am.

Earlybird

Free rides apply on Metro electric train services if your trip is finished by 7am. You can’t just travel without a ticket; you have to get a Myki and touch-on and touch-off so you can prove your trip was finished.

(Although it’s advertised as 7am, technically the cut-off time is actually 7:15am; this is to allow for delayed trains. If your regular trip arrives at 7:10am, then you lucked out. Just don’t complain on the odd day it’s delayed and you have to pay. And don’t complain that you have to get a Myki and touch-on and touch-off to get the free travel. Boo hoo, you’re breaking my heart.)

Weekend and public holiday discounts

On weekends and public holidays, the old Sunday Saver/Weekend Saver discounts apply, meaning you pay no more than $3.30 for zones 1+2 (2013: $3.50). If you’ve been driving on the weekend to a zone 1 station to avoid the zone 1+2 fare, you might as well not bother.

Note that it applies on all gazetted Melbourne public holidays. This is a genuine improvement over Metcard, which didn’t offer public holiday discounts.

For Myki Pass single zone holders, you get a discount on the second zone if you use it. For some crazy reason it’s equal to the 2-hour fare from the zone you paid for, so a Zone 1 Passholder going into zone 2 on a weekend gets charged 2 cents: the weekend $3.30 cap minus the $3.28 2 hour zone 1 fare… (I think it would have made more sense to apply the per day Pass fare that was originally paid — $4.02 in the case of zone 1. Oh well.)

(2013: Both the Z1 2-hour fare and the weekend daily cap are now $3.50, so a full fare Z1 pass holder pays nothing extra to travel in Z2 on weekends.)

Free Mykis

Normally full fare Myki cards cost $6, and concessions $3.

But some types of Myki are issued free: these include the various free travel passes listed above, as well as to Victorian Seniors, and also Commuter Club (see below).

Bulk discounts

And of course the discounts most people do know about: if you’re travelling 4-5 days or more per week, check out Myki Pass options: 7 days (eg a weekly fare for the same price as 5 individual days using Myki Money) or 28-365 days.

And of course if you’re travelling most days and are prepared to pay a year in advance for the best discount possible, check if your employer offers Commuter Club (some will even offer it via salary deduction), or get it via the PTUA.

Beat the price rise

Another 5% + CPI rise has not yet been confirmed, but is expected in January. It used to be you could buy Metcards in advance to beat the rise. You can’t do this anymore — Myki Money fares are charged at the time you travel, not when you load the card.

But you can buy Myki Pass fares in advance. You can have two on a single Myki card at once; the current one and the next one.

And keep in mind if you want to buy a Commuter Club yearly to beat the price rise, orders take a couple of weeks to organise, and some organisations only place orders once a month…

When the price rise was officially announced last December, there was only about a fortnight during which Commuter Club orders were accepted at the 2011 price… in that fortnight the PTUA processed around 160 orders (most of them from new members), running the volunteers ragged by the end, and pumping over $180,000 through — it felt like we’d opened a money laundering service.

So if you’re going to order one, my advice is get in early.

So, what did I miss?