Gold Opal daily cap could rise and self-funded retirees could lose cards
The daily cap of Gold Opal cards could be set to rise and self-funded retirees stripped of their cards if the proposals of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal are taken up.
The Tribunal has recommended an increase in the daily cap for the Gold Opal from $2.50 to $3.60, noting that the cap on all-day for seniors and pensioners had not increased in 10 years, whereas the average fares for public transport had increase by 30 per cent. They’ve also suggested Gold Opal cardholders receive no extra discounts for weekend travel, arguing the card’s "discount is already considerable".
It has also proposed tightening the criteria for the Gold Opal smartcard to "achieve fairer fares" by means-testing access. That would mean the daily cap on fares for self-funded retirees would triple.
The Gold Opal card is one of the state’s few universal concessions based on age. Irrespective of income, any resident 60 and older, and not working more than 20 hours a week, is entitled to a senior’s card. There are more than 1.4 million people in NSW that hold seniors cards.
Seniors groups have come out against both changes.
Ian Day, Council on the Ageing NSW's chief executive, said the changes would discourage seniors from taking public transport, risking further isolation of the older demographic.
"Saving a bit of money and isolating a lot of people doesn't make a lot of sense," he said.
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