Monday, October 23, 2017

Everyone does it

So far as I know, everyone does do it, that is apply for a seniors card when they turn 60 years old. There was a stipulation that you had to work less than 35 hours per week, but everyone I know told a fib. The authorities woke up to this and introduced a new Seniors Card, that gave all the same benefits except for the public transport concession.

That's a good idea, I think. But, while I officially work only just over 35 hours a week, I went for the original and told a fib on the form, that is I work less than 35 hours a week.  I don't need nor want the public transport concession in Victoria, but I really hate the usurious charge in Sydney to catch the airport train, something like $22 one way (I should check the price, but why spoil a rant with accuracy). I will get the concession price if my card comes through in time and I can work out how to change an Adult Opal Card to a Concession Opal card.

It's interesting that the airport is on an existing train line, a rather profitable one I think, yet there is this airport gate charge for arriving by train. Sydney is not the only big city that does this. Toronto's airport train has separate and higher pricing. My own city has a reasonably efficient airport bus service, which also has quite high pricing. It costs a bomb to get from Heathrow to London by train, unless you take the very slow Tube.

Why are airports so different as public transport destinations? Is it that if you are rich enough to fly, you can pay a lot more? In a world of very cheap airfares, I am not sure that is right.

We are going to the airport in a week or so to take off for a short holiday. Normally we would take the old car and leave it exposed to the elements in the long term carpark, but lugging suitcases on and off the bus from the car park........over it. And it all takes so much time.

I said we will get a cab, and R agreed. It is about $70 each way, $35 each. But for more than twelve months the Uber app has sat around on my phone, never touched by me. I filled in the details today and if we use Uber, it might cost us $55 to $60. I am prepared to give Uber a shot. 

29 comments:

  1. Apart from Sydney, airports are often as far out of town as humanly possible. Thus unless a purpose-built railway line is built joining the airport to town (a la Heathrow), the trip is going to be horribly expensive.

    Even before Uber, asking other people in the taxi rank if they wanted to share a ride to "somewhere south of the Yarra" usually worked.

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    1. While what you say is correct Hels, I would still argue that airport stations should be part of the public transport system. We have shared a couple of times, but not from the airport.

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  2. Never taken an Uber, but I have friends who use it frequently and are happy with the fact it's cheaper than taxis. Going to the airport by bus or train with suitcases is a pain!

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    1. Sami, yes, R is getting a bit old to cart suitcases around and I have to watch my back. It will be interesting to use Uber, and see if what it is all cracked up to be.

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  3. I was shocked the first time we caught the train to our hotel in Sydney a few years ago, then it was seventeen dollars each, sounds like it's gone up. It's actually cheaper to catch a taxi!

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    1. Grace, I might have the price too high, but it is a lot. With R's transport concession, the train is cheaper for us, but for two full priced tickets, a taxi would be cheaper. We once just caught a public bus when we had plenty of time. It was fine.

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  4. Did you know that you can get the Heathrow Connect train to Paddington which is cheaper than the Heathrow Express? As I have free travel I feel duty bound to get the tube into town.

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    1. Maria, yes, I have heard of Heathrow Connect. Elsewhere we have caught cheaper and slower trains and regretted the decision. Yes, nothing to consider for you when its free.

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  5. Good luck with Uber. And have a great holiday. Sadly our local government has moved the goal posts. I won't qualify for the senior's card until six months after my 60th. And I do use public transport.

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    1. EC, that is the first I have heard of that. I take it that was done at local level.

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  6. Anonymous7:54 am

    1. The train to the airport was specially built though it joins up with an existing line. At first it was more expensive for everyone on the new stations which was meant to make it viable. It was built by a private public "partnership" thingy which went bust and the Govt then bought it back, cheaply I think. The Govt let off the non-airport stations from the surcharge but still makes a tidy profit - regular airport workers get some special deal I think, but not ordinary punters going to the airport to fly.
    2. Concession Opal: You can't do it at the counter except maybe at a govt services shopfront and even then I don't think you will get it on the spot. They will probably send it off for processing. You will have to do it by post or online and then it will need to be posted out. Not sure if a seniors card per se will get you the concession rate. Won't comment on whether it should.

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    1. Yes Marcellous. I followed the collapse of the company with glee, along with the Cross City Tunnel. Now you have me wondering. I spent a little time last time we visited Sydney establishing that R could get public transport concession and I think we were there before he began receiving a pension, so it would have been as a Senior. Actually I have checked, as I am now remembering. Interstate Senior's cards are recognised, but do not give free travel on weekends, that apparently a NSW issued one does.

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  7. Anonymous8:28 am

    Don't park at Sydney airport even to pick up passengers. The cost is ruinous. $15 a hour. It's owned by the millionaire's bank, Macquarie Bank which explains a lot. Including this from Wiki....In August 2013, it was revealed that, since the airport had been acquired by the Macquarie Bank in 2002, it didn't pay corporate taxes, even though all other airports in the country did. - Ian

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    1. Ian, I thought Melbourne Airport made more from parking than any other airport. Like Sydney, the charges are extremely high. Interesting about paying no corporate tax when the others do.

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  8. First find out if your seniors travel card is valid in other states. Mine isn't. It is stamped with Adelaide Metro and I couldn't even use it in Port Pirie because there you pay and get a paper ticket. My actual Seniors Card looks almost exactly the same but can't be used for public transport. apparently it can be used for discounts on certain things, have a list somewhere, but mostly for things I don't use or need. I should find the list. I show the card to get a discount on cinema tickets and to get a cheaper lunch on Seniors day at the Arkaba hotel just down the road, but most other places where I ask if they do senior discounts, I'm told 'no'.

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    1. River, I have checked and ours is fine to use in NSW. I do know there are differences for each state, here in Victoria. Some are recognised and some not. Yes, you have to ask. As we see a few exhibitions, there will be a bit of a saving there.

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  9. I'm on the Aged Pension. I don't venture far afield from my little abode. I have my own little car that takes me the short distances I travel. There is no public transport here on Tamborine Mountain, anyway; and I don't go off the mountain if I can help it.

    I've not used public transport in many years. The last time I used train travel was in 2008...and that was the first time in more than 40 years.

    I used a taxi for the first time in years and years back in June this year when I used a taxi to get to and from the 100 year birthday celebration of a friend's mother. There is little and very awkward parking at the home of my friend, where the party was being held. It was easier, although not cheaper, for me to go via taxi.

    I doubt I'd ever use Uber...only cabs.

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    1. Lee the Mountain Lady who does not descend to the valley or coast! People we know swear by Uber when overseas. Not so sure about local travel. It was a good idea to get a taxi and not get stressed about parking etc. And you can have a drink.

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    2. I drink very little these days, Andrew...and that wasn't the reason why I chose to go by taxi.

      My hips are not as young as they once were. I tossed pride aside a few years ago...it come before a fall so the saying goes...and as I do not want to fall, I use a walking stick in an attempt to stop that from happening.

      Where my friends' home is situated...is on the side of a hill (there home is really a "pole" home - a common description of such dwellings back in the 80s). It's a very steep property, that falls quickly away from the road. The road/ street/drive (it's called a "Drive") upon which they dwell is very steep - up and down - up and down and then up again!

      Access to the property is very uneven and difficult to negotiate, with no room for cars other than those of the owners. And they have two cars, one ute, and a small sailing boat taking up most of the room!!

      Each time I visit.I almost have a nervous breakdown. I dread it. Needless to say, I don't visit often! lol

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    3. Yeah, I knew that Lee. Your friend's house does not sound so practical for old age. How wise you are to take a stress free taxi.

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  10. We have found Senior's Cards rather a waste of time, seems not many people will honour them.

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    1. Margaret, galleries, museums, movies..... I will get my value from the card. Apparently some shops have signs for Senior's discount, but I have never seen them. Wow, free coffee in McDonalds! McDonalds would have to pay me to drink their coffee.

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  11. https://www.opal.com.au/en/about-opal/opal_for_interstate_seniors/

    Here's the link for gold opal card Andrew.

    I'm still working more then 35 hours a week and have my gold opal I use daily. Paid enough taxes in my life time gotta get some benefit from the Government.

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    1. Thanks Allan. It all rather depends on timelines now. I think it is unlikely that I will have my Seniors Card by next week.

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  12. My friend Kate recently turned 60 also and she loves her new benefits.

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    1. James, the benefits of a card is great when you turn sixty. That's about the only thing good about turning sixty.

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  13. Why spoil a rant with accuracy? That's the quote of the day Andrew and I personally love it!

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    1. Strayer, maybe I picked that up from a politician?

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