STARTING on 1 January 2020, the Regional Transport Seniors Card will provide a credit of $250 a year to be used towards fuel, taxi fares in rural and regional NSW and pre-booked NSW TrainLink train and coach services. It will be available to Pension Concession Card and Commonwealth Senior Health Card holders. It is not yet known whether the new Card needs to be applied for or whether it will be sent out automatically.
A spokesperson for the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads told THE VOICE: “The program will commence January 2020, and will be available for two calendar years. Seniors must be living in Regional NSW, outside Newcastle and Wollongong City Council boundaries, and be either an Age Pensioner or a Commonwealth Senior Health Cardholder”.
Obviously, if you live in a Sydney Local Government Area, you would be ineligible.
On 2 July Opal fares will increase by 2.2 per cent except for the Senior/Pensioner Gold Opal fare which will remain at $2.50 for all day travel any day of the week. As part of its election commitments, the NSW Government has pledged not to raise the pensioner fare above its current $2.50 maximum for four years.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is currently reviewing Opal Maximum fares for 2020-24. IPART is aiming to set fares that are financially sustainable, beneficial to the community, whilst remaining affordable and predictable over time. Obviously, IPART won’t be able to touch the $2.50 pensioner fares.
IPART is considering a number of different fare changes as well as pricing for the new on-demand public transport services, which are being trialed throughout NSW.
CPSA has made a submission to IPART’s review of Opal pricing. CPSA’s submission advocates for single fares for a transport journey as opposed to charges for each mode of transport.
CPSA is also calling for recipients of social security payments other than the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment to be given access to $2.50 maximum daily fares, rather than the half fares they can currently access. The lives of, for example, 70,000 or so people over 55 on Newstart in NSW would be made easier as a result.
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