“Many people living on pensions continue to rely on paper tickets and for good reason – they don’t need to provide their personal details, can purchase a ticket at all stations and have no need to tap off at the end of their journey. The abandoning of paper Pensioner Excursion Tickets will disadvantage transport users on low incomes,” said Amelia Christie.
“Opal top-up machines are not available at every station or transport point and there is no plan to have them at every station, even once the roll out is completed. This means that transport users who do not wish to link their Opal card to a bank account or credit card will not be able to top up at all stations. This is particularly important for people living on low incomes – people need to be able to control when money is taken out of their accounts so that they do not face bank charges if a top-up attempt is made when they have insufficient funds in their account.
“Shops providing Opal top ups outside of metro areas are few and far between – often kilometres from the nearest station. They also don’t all have wide opening hours and they may not be accessible.
“The Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal cannot simply be purchased from shops like the Adult Opal card. This will catch out people who do not regularly use public transport or travel into an Opal area.
“Pensioners will no longer have the option of travelling anonymously like other members of the community – the Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card must be registered to the user.
“The take up of the Opal card has been lowest for pensioners and seniors. The NSW Government promised that pensioner paper tickets would be available “well into the future”. 1 January 2016 isn’t what many would consider, well into the future,” said Ms Christie.
Media Contact: Amelia Christie, Manager, Research & Advocacy
Mobile: 0410 612 182
 NSW Government Media Release 30 October 2014, ‘New Gold Opal card with $2.50 daily cap available for seniors and pensioners’, Available at: www.opal.com.au/en/news/opalnews/news_30october2014.html