Friday, April 11, 2014

New Opal cards for students & kids launched, but still no Pensioner/Concession Opal card availability

The NSW Transport Minister earlier this week launched the availability of Opal cards for Students & Kids, which can now be used as of yesterday (Friday 10th April 2014), but the question remained, what about the Pensioner/Concessioner Opal Card?

Well thats where a totally seperate press release was made a few hours later from Transport for NSW, in which the Transport Minister, (who in our own opinion is totally incompetent) Gladys Berejiklian stated that:

“I am pleased to confirm the Gold Opal Senior/Pensioner card will be available before the end of the year and fares for seniors and pensioners will remain capped at $2.50 for the day. I want seniors and pensioners to know that they will never pay more with a Gold Opal Senior/Pensioner card. They will have the same entitlements as the current $2.50 Pensioner Excursion Ticket.”

But it gets more interesting, the Minister then states this:

Customers will need to buy their Pensioner Excursion Tickets before they travel on buses from more than 1,600 ticket sellers across Sydney, including news agencies, 7-11 convenience stores, Australia Post and selected Woolworths stores.

It certainly seems that the Transport Minister doesn't live in Western Sydney or South Western Sydney, where most of these shops are far away from most bus stops and in deed most people with disabilities. Currently Pensioner Excursion tickets are valid from the day they are purchased and run out at 2am that night. Therefore the idea of pre-purchasing bus tickets is ludicrous and utter major stuff up from her office & Transport for NSW to say the most!

This certainly seems that little has been done to really think how this may impact and have operational issues for people who require and are entitled to the Pensioner Excursion Ticket/Fare, especially people with disabilities or the elderly who cannot walk or travel great distances to get these pre-pay tickets before trying to even board their bus service.

TfANSW has sought comment from the Ministers office and still awaiting any feedback regarding this matter, but also if the Pensioner Excursion ticket maybe be effected for all train travel on both Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink Intercity services.

You can read the full press release regarding the pensioner/concession Opal card availability here. You can also read about the Student & Kids Opal Card press release here.

Do you think the Transport Minister has through this out properly or do you think she should consult the disability and mature aged community regarding this change? Do you think the Concessioner/Pensioner Opal card should have been rolled out before now?

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