Seniors could pay more for public transport, Opposition says

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Londonderry MP Prue Car and Shadow Transport Minister Ryan Park speak to a concerned resident

It seems a lifetime of successfully saving for retirement could end up costing western Sydney seniors more to access public transport.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, IPART, recommended the State Government adopt changes to transport fares that could see some seniors paying more.

Seniors who do not claim the pension could be kicked off the Gold Opal card and placed on the regular concession card, increasing their fares from $2.50 per day, to $9 per day.

Shadow Transport Minister Ryan Park, fears the 260 per cent increase will leave seniors out of pocket and force them back on the roads.

“The Baird Government is making it harder for seniors to get to the doctor, volunteer at their church and participate in the community,” he said.

“We want to get people off the roads. We don’t want to have a situation where people who should really be on the train are forced back in their cars.”

From January 1 this year, the Pensioners Excursion paper ticket was no longer sold, which meant pensioners and seniors were forced to sign up for an Opal card, or buy an adult or concession paper ticket.

For Werrington Downs pensioner, 69-year-old Warren Iles, his rare train ride into the city almost wasn’t enough incentive to sign up for an Opal Card.

“That’s probably what’s happened already, with the introduction of the Opal Card, people can’t be bothered,” he said.

Member for Londonderry Prue Car said this is a typical scenario for seniors, who could now have to pay even more.

“For so long we’ve had a $2.50 cap for seniors to travel anywhere in the city,” she said.

“If the Government adopts these IPART recommendations, that will be taken away from seniors who aren’t pensioners, which is not fair.”

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said it’s time for Labor to stop their scaremongering and tell the truth.

“IPART’s draft report on public transport fares is exactly that – a draft,” he said.

“The point of the IPART review is to make our ticketing system fairer, and the report needs to be looked at in its entirety. IPART will provide its final recommendations to the Government later this year. No decision about fares will be made until this time.”

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