Mature travellers everywhere have a fondness for rail journeys but how many people know about the many concession offers that are available?
The ease, convenience, choice of destination and cost are the obvious key benefits of travelling by train and when you add one of the many discount or subsidised offers over the top, it’s hard to imagine a more cost-effective or relaxing way of getting to wherever it is you need to go. If you enjoy day-trips, events, visiting family … whatever you’re fancy, you could be saving significant dollars by understanding what’s available when you book.
Australia’s largest regional people-mover via its vast rail and coach network, NSW TrainLink has a wide variety of concessions available that many people may not even know about.
So, we thought we’d provide a simple cheat sheet to ensure you’re aware of all the entitlements on offer and the potential savings you can make on your next train trip – and why leaving the car at home is suddenly a great idea!
First-timers need only to register concession cards once to start planning their next trip. Once upon a time you had to register in person but not anymore. Simply register your card by calling NSW TrainLink on 13 22 32.
Government Seniors Card holders
This is likely your most readily available access to a discount. Any Australian over 60 who works less than 20 hours a week with a Seniors Card is entitled to the following:
- Unlimited $2.50 one-way Country Pensioner Excursion tickets within NSW regional boundaries (booking details and map below)
- 50% off ordinary adult peak season Economy and First Class fares
As you’d expect, there’s a number of conditions attached to the $2.50 fares so here they are.
Country Pensioner Excursion tickets;
- Can only be booked within 7 days of travel
- Are only available in economy class
- Are available for Seniors Card holders from any State or Territory
- Are available for Pension Card and War Widow/er transport concession card holders from NSW, VIC and ACT
- You can make several stops and continue to travel on the same ticket, providing you don’t stopover for more than 12 hours and you complete your journey on the date shown on your ticket (unless the train or coach you are travelling on is scheduled to arrive the day after the date on your ticket)
- You can also use the same Country Pensioner Excursion ticket for a return trip if you begin your return journey within 12 hours of arriving at your destination. Return must be booked at time of booking forward journey
- This is a NSW regional concession entitlement and therefore, is only applicable for travel within the boundaries on the map below. If you want to travel into Greater Sydney and surrounds metro area or interstate, you will need to access other concessions or pay normal fares. Pay particular attention to the greyed out areas of the map where Excursions tickets are not available for travel which includes Newcastle, Wollongong and The Blue Mountains for example.
Click the map to enlarge, click again to return.
- And if you are going to travel on Sydney metro or NSW TrainLink Intercity services, remember, you will need an Opal Card. Seniors and Pensioners need a Gold Opal Card and can apply for one online or by phone before travel. Details here.
The second source of significant savings with NSW TrainLink is your Pensioner Concession Card. And you don’t get much better concession than free!
Pensioner Concession Card holders
With a registered Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs card, NSW and ACT residents are entitled to:
- Four FREE one-way journeys in economy class in a calendar year. These free tickets are known as Pensioner Travel Vouchers. (Card holders from NT or States other than NSW or ACT pay half-fare).
- After the four free trips, enjoy 50% off ordinary adult peak season Economy and First Class fares (Victorian Pensioner Concession card holders may use the offer for travel within Victoria only).
- All Pensioner Travel Voucher fares are upgradeable to First Class for a small upgrade fee.
- Unlimited $2.50 Country Pensioner Excursion tickets (see terms on CPE tickets above).
It’s recommended you book as early as possible, canny rail travellers are already tapped into this amazing travel opportunity. That said, in some cases, you can only book within certain timeframes but you will find this out when you first book online or enquire by phone.
Finally, War Widows and Widowers from NSW, Victoria or the ACT are also entitled to generous travel deals.
War Widows and Widowers Transport Concession card
- 50% off ordinary adult peak season Economy and First Class fares (Victorian Pensioner Concession card holders may use the offer for travel within Victoria only).
So, as you can see, there’s a variety of ways to traverse the region with some incredible offers at your fingertips.
And remember, NSW TrainLink is now a paperless operation so you don’t need physical tickets or visits to your nearest station anymore to make or manage your bookings; it can all be done online or via phone.
So there’s no need to present Centrelink ‘vouchers’ for example at the time of booking as once your concession card is registered with NSW TrainLink, the computer system validates your details.
One final note, as proof of identity, onboard staff, Transit Officers or NSW Police may request to see your concession card from time to time so make sure you take it with you when you travel.
If you have any further questions regarding your entitlements or any other matters relating to travel throughout the regional network in NSW, call NSW TrainLink on 13 22 32 or visit nswtrainlink.info