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Travel and Concession Cards

New South Wales


If you’re able to get a free pass for school or TAFE, you can only use it to travel between home and school if you start your travel sometimes between 6:30am and 7pm (or 6:30am and 9:30pm if you go to TAFE).  You can’t use your school or TAFE pass on the weekend or to get to or from after school activities (like sport), school excursions or work experience.

Am I able to get a free pass to travel to and from school?

You can get free travel to and from school if you fit within these rules: 

- You live in New South Wales
- You’re older than 4 and a half
- You’re enrolled in school or full time TAFE (daycare doesn’t count)
- If you’re in Grade 3 or a higher year, you also need to live a certain distance from school:

- Primary school student (year 3-6): More than 1.6 km (in a straight line) from school, or more than 2.3 kms by the most direct walking path;
- Secondary school student (year 7-12): More than 2 km (in a straight line) from school, or more than 2.9 km by the most direct walking path.

How do I get a free pass?

Ask your school for an application form.  If you’re under 16, you will have to get your parents to sign the form.

What if I live too close to school and can’t get a free pass?

If you live too close to school, you can pay to get a School Student Term Bus Pass for $52 per term.   The Term Bus Pass allows you to travel to and from school if you live quite close to school and can’t get a free pass . You can apply by filling out the form.

TAFE students

TAFE students have to follow these rules to get free travel to and from TAFE:

- under 18 years old (as on 1st January of the year of application), and
- lives more than 3.2 km from the college by the most direct practical walking route
- goes to a TAFE closest to their home 
- enrolled in a minimum of 20 hours of class a week, and
- be unemployed. 

Students with a disability

If you or your child has a disability which makes it difficult to travel to school independently, you or they may be able to get support from the government to arrange special transport.   To find out more about this, please visit this page.

Overseas students

You can get a free pass to travel to school or TAFE if you are a resident of New South Wales or an overseas student who gets free government education.  To find out if you are entitled to get a free pass to travel to school or TAFE, visit this page.

Behaving on public transport

When you’re on public transport using your school pass, you have to follow the Code of Conduct.  This includes things like not eating and drinking, not smoking, not distracting the driver and not vandalizing the bus (for example by tagging it with graffiti). 

For more information on what you can and can’t do on buses and trains, check out this page.  If you break the rules, you can get your pass taken away from you. 

What happens if I live in the country?

Sometimes in rural areas you don’t have to use a student pass if the bus company or driver knows you and the other students.

Also, if you live in a place without public transport, your parents can apply for some money that they can use to pay part of the petrol costs to drive you to school.  This isn’t the full amount it costs to drive you, but it may still help. For more information about this, visit this page.


Do I need to get a pass each year?

Generally you will automatically get a new transport pass every year.  The previous year’s pass will be valid until 31 March the following year. That is, a 2015 pass will be valid until 31 March 2016.

In some cases, you have to re-apply or renew your free travel pass. This includes:

  • Enrolling in kindergarten
  • Progressing from Year 2 to Year 3, 
  • Progressing from Year 6 to Year 7, 
  • Changing name, school and/or address, or
  • If you need an additional travel pass when living with separated parents.

I’m under 16 – can I travel on a child ticket and do I need to have ID?

No, if you’re under 16, you don’t to carry ID with you when you’re travelling on a child or concession ticket. 

I’m at university – can I get discounted travel?

Yes, if you:

- are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- live in New South Wales
- are enrolled full-time in your course.

You will need to get your university to stick a sticker on your university ID card.  If you’re using an Opal Card, you will need to give your university permission to share this information with the government.  Once you do this, you can apply for a concession Opal card online.


I’m 16 or over – can I get discounted travel on the weekends?

Yes, if you’re between 16 and 18 and live in NSW and go to a NSW or ACT school, you can get a discounted travel using concession prices (half price).   Your school will usually give you a concession card when you turn 16.     If they don’t you should ask them for a form.  If you travel on a concession ticket without a concession card, you can be fined $200!   


What will happen if I travel without my travel/concession card?

If you travel on a concession ticket, you have to have your concession card on you as well. If you do not have a concession card have a concession ticket, the Transit Officers may give you an on-the-spot fine of $200.    Transit Officers can also ask you for your name and address. 

For more information on the powers of Transit Officers, please see our page on Transit Officers and Security Guards.


I’ve been fined for having the wrong ticket, what can I do?

•    Pay it

Usually fines are due 21 days after you receive them, but you should check the date on the notice.  If you don’t pay them off within 28 days of receiving a reminder notice, you will have to pay an extra $65!   If you need more time to pay, you can apply to pay in chunks called “instalments”. To do this, you should call the State Debt Recovery Office on 1300 138 118.

•    Dispute/Defend it

If you think you were wrongly given a fine, you can ask for a review.  You can request a review online through the myPenalty portal at   You can also decide to challenge the matter in court. If you choose to go to court you will be sent a court attendance notice which will tell you which court to go to and when. If you go to court but are found guilty you may have to pay more than the initial fine, and the court might also order you to pay court costs.   

If you have a question about travel and concession cards that we haven’t answered here please send us a Lawmail.

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