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Jodi McKay, Shadow Minister for Transport, and Luke Foley MP, Leader of the Opposition, with concerned pensioners.
From next month pensioners face paying full fares or fines of up to $550 if they fail to show their Gold Opal card when travelling.
A leaked document shows that it will take pensioners five to 10 days to get their Gold Opal.
Today is the last day that pensioners and seniors can apply for an Opal card and get it back in the post in time for August 1 when the automated card system replaces paper tickets.
Mindful that hundreds of thousands of pensioners might still not have signed up for their Gold Opal card, Transport for NSW is preparing for a public relations backlash.
In the leaked memo staff are asked to show some “empathy” to infrequent travellers and pensioners if they don’t have an Opal card and need to travel.
However, it then goes on to say there will be “no grace period for this change so if customers are stopped Transport Officers may issue a fine from 1 August”.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Transport Minister Jodi McKay
“The Government has not done enough to communicate that it takes so long to get an Opal card.
“There will be plenty of pensioners out there who won’t have got the message that today is the last day they have to apply for an Opal card.
“The Government is removing choice and forcing pensioners to go online to top up their card when for many older people they like the convenience of going to a booth to pay cash.
“Mike Baird needs to show some compassion and flexibility and put in place a period of grace to ensure pensioners aren’t slapped with the full fare or a fine.”
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