We here at TfANSW have heard rumors from people close to the Opal Card project, that the Transport Minister will be finally announcing the availability of the Gold Concessioner/Pensioner Opal Card either in late August or September.
The announcement which will be scheduled to happen a couple of days if not a week before the rollout of the Gold Opal card, is a welcomed move, however TfANSW still have concerns and so far to no avail been able to confirm how people with severe disabilities or mobility issues will be able to simply tap on or off at their destinations respectfully.
For example, there is a current policy for State Transit operated Sydney Buses to simply allow people with disabilities who are unable to dip their ticket in and out of a machine, can simply "hop aboard" without requiring to do this.
However there is no such policy for Sydney Trains or NSW TrainLink operated services and this certainly raises the questions, what should they do to fix this major loophole?
One option TfANSW has floated for the last 2 years has been the option of an e-tag system, where a tag can be permanently fixed to ones wheelchair (or walker, which ever is the case) and an e-tag reader be placed above the wide gates. When the e-tag reader reads the e-tag, a simple beep will be heard and the gates open.
This would allow users more freedom and ensure that they are being able to pay their fare without hassle.
We have reached out to the transport Minister, Glayds Berejiklian, for comment, but at time of publish of this post, we still haven't heard back.