Free Transportation schemes for students in Asia

Written By: Cudy

21st April 2023

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Do Singaporean kids get free transport?

Children attending state primary or secondary schools are issued with a student pass. It allows them to travel for free by public transport (public buses and trains).

This is based on information from the Ministry of Education website.

However, it also says that if the distance between a child’s home and school is more than 8km, then the Ministry may consider extending the pass to cover a private transport service.

Children going to private schools are not entitled to a student pass. In this case, parents will have to pay for transport or else their child will have to walk, cycle or take a taxi.

Is there free transport in Malaysia?

In Malaysia, primary school children can travel for free using the “Kad Papan” system. This is issued by the Transport Department of each state and covers students aged 6-12 years old.

The rest of their family needs to purchase an ordinary card called “Ejari” which ranges in price from RM5-RM142 per month depending on the distance between home and school.

If you are wondering what these cards are for. Then, it is basically an electronic payment system.

That allows the government to collect money from all travelers passing through toll roads and also monitor how many people are entering/leaving a state each day.

Is there free transport in Indonesia?

In Indonesia, children aged 6-12 years old are eligible for a student pass called “Kartu Pelajar” which covers them for travel on any public transport including the train.

This card is issued by each school and the cost of a student pass depends on the distance between home and school. Those who live close to their school do not have to pay much, but for those living in remote areas the cost can be significant.

For example, the cost of a one-way student pass for students who live within 1km from their school is only Rp5,000 (about 40 cents).

However, if you live outside of the city then it can be as high as Rp21,000 (US$1.50) per month – which is a lot more than what it costs to buy an adult monthly ticket.

Is there free transport in Philippines?

In the Philippines, children are entitled to free transport on public buses: “The Certificate of Free Public Transit” is issued by the City/ Municipal Social Welfare Officer and covers primary and secondary students aged 6-12 years old.

However, there are some major limitations with this scheme:

It does not apply if you want to travel outside your district or municipality. So if you want to go from Manila City to Laguna Province for example, then you will need to buy a separate ticket or else walk or take a taxi.

It does not apply to private buses. So if you want to travel by a jeepney, bus or tricycle then an adult ticket must be purchased.

It does not apply to trains and ferries. If you want to take a train or ferry then you will need to pay the full adult fare.

Unless your child is under 12 years old, in which case a senior citizen discount may be available (it depends on the exact age of your child).

The scheme also has plenty of other limitations including the requirement for kids. To have their own school ID card (which many do not have) and the requirement for parents/guardians to carry copies of all relevant documents.

Such as birth certificates, tax identification numbers and proof that they live with their children.

These requirements mean it is actually very difficult for lower-income parents to benefit from this scheme.

However, due to pressure from the Department of Education and non-governmental organisations. The government has now introduced “Angat Bus” which means “free bus ride” in Filipino.

This is being rolled out across some provinces and cities in 2018. Basically, students aged 5-15 years old are entitled to free transport by public bus. As long as they have a valid school ID.

Is there free transport in India?

In India, any child aged 5-14 years old is eligible for free transport. If they are enrolled at a state-run school. This is called the “Bharat Jyoti Scheme” and covers travel on any government bus or train. However, there are some points to note:

If you live outside of the city you will need to buy an adult ticket. As well as for your child to cover the journey from your home to the nearest bus station.

However, if you live within 1km from the bus station. Then your child may be able to travel for free. As well as, it is still cheaper than buying an adult monthly ticket (currently around US$4).

This restriction only applies to distance – not age. So, the children aged 5 years old can travel freely whereas those aged 15 must pay an adult fare.

If you have more than one child then you can apply for a joint pass for all of them (as long as they are all enrolled at a state-run school).

Passes are valid until December 31st or until they reach 15 years old – whichever comes first. You can apply for these passes online here: https://epass.gov.in/

Is there free transport in Sri Lanka?

In Sri Lanka, students aged 5-14 years old are entitled to a “student pass”. It covers them for free travel on public buses and trains.

However, like in India, if you live outside of the city then you must pay an adult fare to take the bus or train, unless your child is under 12 years old.

Especially, in which case a senior citizen discount may be available (it depends on the exact age of your child).

Also, if you want to travel by ferry then you will need to pay full fare for each passenger. Unless they are under 12 years old (again this depends on their exact age).

Passes are valid until December 31st or until they reach 14 years old – whichever comes first. You can apply for these passes online here: https://passes.gov.lk/passlist/public-bus-and-trains.html

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