Connect with us


Should University Undergrads Get A Concession Pass?

We wish we still had student fare.

Getting a university concession card is like getting a magic wand. You are entitled to student discounts, and you can purchase concession passes at a cheaper price than when you graduate. For those who are incoming freshmen, if you do not purchase a concession pass, you will be paying adult fare.

Here’s the breakdown on tertiary concessions from TransitLink:

Concession Pass Benefit Price
Bus Unlimited travel on basic bus services $52
Train Unlimited travel on train rides $45
Bus + Train (aka hybrid) Unlimited travel on both buses and trains $85


When Should You Get A Concession Pass

When you live really far away

If you study in places like NUS or NTU and live in the east around Pasir Ris or Tampines, you will probably need a concession.

When you have the need to travel often

If you travel frequently on public transport multiple times during the weekends, or  peak periods it may be more worthwhile to get a concession pass. One common example is those who give tuition at various places.

When you have a shitty packed timetable (see pictures below)

Example 1: Yes, the picture above is an actual timetable of one of our friends overloading with 7 modules.

Example 2: A bad schedule, with the normal 5 modules.

If you are unlucky enough to have a timetable that does not have mercy on you, you will find yourself travelling to school almost everyday.

To check if you are making your money’s worth on a concession, check out, or journey calculator to find out your average fare, then multiply by the number of trips you will make each week.

Read Also: University Accommodations: Hall vs. Home – Which Is Cheaper?

When Are You Better Off Without Concession

If you stay on campus

When you stay in the hall, it is definitely not worth your money to get a concession pass because well… you stay on campus. Your modes of transport are the shuttle bus or your own two feet.

If you have free days

Example 3: This is a pretty good timetable, except for the Wednesday lesson ending at 9pm.

The lucky ones who get their desired timetables with a free day or two will have no need for the concession pass. This is unless you are always out and about on your free days.

When your university provides shuttle bus service to the MRT station

In most cases, the $52 bus concession pass is unnecessary. Most universities provide free shuttle service to the MRT station, notably NUS and NTU. For schools like SMU that are near to an MRT station (e.g. Bras Basah), you are still unlikely to make full use of the $52 to breakeven, even if you need to take a bus before you reach home.

When your parents drive you to school, even if it is once a day

If your parents drive you to those dreadful 8am lectures, once or twice a week, a concession pass will not save you money.

To calculate if you need a concession pass consider:

A) The mode of transport you use the most

You have to take 3 different bus services before you arrive home = get a bus concession

You have long train rides home and you make frequent trips = get a train concession

You have to change train 2 times, and change bus 3 times before you get home (poor you) = get a hybrid concession

B) The frequency of your trips

How many times a month do you make these trips? What are the regular trips you make on weekdays and weekends?

C) Calculate how much your trip would cost on normal adult fare

You can use the fare calculator by LTA or

To see if you need a concession:

[Fare to school] x 2 (because you make 2 trips) x 4 (if you have a 4-day work week) x 4 (the usual 4 weeks in a month) = $X

$X is the amount you pay each month under adult fare. If $X exceeds the concession pass price, it is value for money to get it. If it does not, you will be wasting money.

For example:

If you are an NUS engineering student staying in Pasir Ris, your fare per trip will be around $1.97. (This is a rough estimate; your actual monthly transport expenditure will differ)

Each month, your fare will be: $1.97 x 2 x 4 (the typical work week for undergrads) x 4 = $63.04

Since $63.04 is more than $45 for train concession, you should purchase it.

If your bus journeys are considerably long, you can consider the hybrid concession pass.


Get it if… Don’t get it if…
You live very far away You stay on campus (duh!)
You make frequent trips You have free days
You have a ultra packed timetable Your university has shuttle bus
Your $X amount is more than the concession price Your parents drive you often enough
Your $X amount is less than the concession price


Read Also: 3 Ways To Make Your CV Stand Out In Banking And Finance


Listen to our podcast, where we have in-depth discussions on finance topics that matter to you.