The following Media Release was issued by the Community Transport Organisation Ltd.
Concerns that the newly rolled out NSW Regional Seniors Travel Card is not reaching people in need and is difficult to use in regional areas, is being voiced within the senior’s community.
Transport and access advocacy group, Community Transport Organisation (CTO) is calling for the NSW State Government to focus on delivering better communication to eligible users and to include more flexible options, to truly help those who are eligible for the $250 subsidy.
CTO, Chief Executive Officer, Dianne Hallett says the NSW State Government will spend $80 million over two years delivering the program but there are many flaws in the delivery which need to be addressed.
“The card is not designed to meet the needs of regional people, there are problems with accessing the card and challenges for some in using the card,” Ms. Hallett said.
The Regional Seniors Travel Card was a 2019 election commitment put forward by the NSW Nationals with the aim of assisting seniors in regional, rural and remote NSW with travel costs.
“Not enough support is being provided to regional users with many seniors simply not being able to access a computer. Without support the process of applying online is a significant barrier,” she said.
“This issue, combined with a lack of communication to eligible seniors about the program, is hindering access to the subsidy.”
CTO, Acting Chair, Christine Ryan says for many seniors living in country areas, community transport is the solution and their first choice to gain better access to services. Yet seniors who rely on community transport will not be able to enjoy the full benefits of this subsidy.
“These seniors will need to pay for the full cost of travel if using the NSW Regional Seniors Travel Card. Yet a public transport passenger can use the card to pay for their subsidised journeys.
Having to pay for the full cost of travel means the subsidy amount won’t stretch far in rural and remote areas, where long distance travel can be the norm.”
“The NSW Regional Seniors Card was a real opportunity for the government to make a difference in people’s lives by easing the cost burden associated with long distance travel. The subsidy, as it stands, will not meet the needs of many seniors in rural and remote NSW.”
CTO is calling on the NSW State Government to address the community’s concerns as the program continues and work with them to help seniors get the most out of the initiative.
More information can be found here.
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