Have you wasted money buying a Student Leap Card?

Eadaoin Fitzmaurice

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Are students actually getting student-rates while they travel?

Dublin Bus -Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ
Dublin Bus –Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ

If you are a student in Dublin, it is likely that you own a Student Leap Card. This is something you may have picked up during Freshers week because EVERYONE was getting them and have continued to purchase each year from then on as a habit.

For those who don’t know, a Leap Card is Ireland’s answer to fast convenient travel, it is the same idea as the Oyster Card used in England. This card can be used on Dublin Bus, Luas, Irish Rail and Bus Éireann and provides lower fares than cash payment.

The thing about student Leap Card’s however, is that students seem to be unaware of how to get the best value out of them and are actually losing money by purchasing them. In a way, you could say we are being scammed!

While you think your fare is being discounted at a student rate, it probably isn’t, and while you may think the Student Leap Card provides you with great student discount deals in shops, these deals are usually valid with any normal student card.

Euro Coins -JWPhotography2012
Euro Coins –JWPhotography2012

A Student Leap Card costs €15. This year was my fourth year buying the Student Leap Card. While standing in line waiting to get the most horrendous of photos taken for my shiny new card, I began to wonder.. Is this actually worth €15? Have I profited from the €60 euro I have spent buying these student travel cards through the years? The answer for me is no.

A standard Leap Card costs €3, so what IS the difference?

Most students are lead to believe that every fare on a Student Leap Card is discounted, however this is untrue. A single fare for an adult and a student on Dublin Bus costs the exact same price in fact. I conducted a survey on 77 students about what payment method they used with their Student Leap Card on Dublin Bus.

65% of students use their student leap cards for single fares. (Survey conducted by Éadaoin Fitzmaurice on SurveyMonkey.com)

This survey’s results show that the majority of students use their student Leap Card for single fares on Dublin Bus, meaning they are actually getting no discount on their fare unless they are doing more than three trips a day and have wasted that precious €15 that could have been spent on a few drinks in Coppers. If we were to take the 50 students who have been paying single fares this whole time, that is a profit of €750! IMAGINE how many students are in this boat, and how much of a profit Leap Card have made off their naivety.

What’s even more shocking is that students are completely unaware that this is happening! In the same survey 61% of students believed that their Student Leap Card was worth the money they paid.

So where do the standard Leap Card and Student Leap Card differ?

To get the best value out of your Student Leap Card, it is important to know where your discounts apply. The Leap Card has a cap for each day and each week, as soon as you reach that cap you will no longer be charged. The daily cap on Dublin Bus for an adult Leap Card is €7 and for a student it’s €5. For most however, buses are usually used for an in and out job so it is rare that they will reach the daily cap.

The weekly cap is a similar idea, for an adult it is €27 and for a student it is €20, yet another way that we have been tricked into thinking we are getting a discount when in actual fact we would rarely reach that cap.

The best discount the Student Leap Card offers is for ramblers. Ramblers are designed for people who take more than two buses a day. The Student Leap Card has a 27% discount to the adult Leap Card for this fare plan. The Luas and the Dart supply similar discounts for 30 day travel plans.So for students with a double-bus commute to and from college, this is where the Student Leap Card offers you a good deal. In fact they are the only ones who really benefit substantially from the Student Leap Card system. The rest of us would benefit from sticking to the €3 standard Leap Card that doesn’t need to be renewed every year.

There are so many of us who have completely wasted €15 euro on a Student Leap Card every single year thinking that every fare would be discounted for. We should all be informed about the student discounting system. Maybe this will prevent people from throwing away their money on a fancier more colourful card with their picture on it that hasn’t benefitted their fares in any way. One thing is for sure, in my four years in college I could have put that now meaningless €60 to better use!

If you are interested in leaning more about the Leap Card and how it works, this video will help:

 

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Eadaoin Fitzmaurice