More than 300,000 seniors in the regions will benefit from reduced travel costs with the NSW Nationals in the state government committing $246 million to extend the Regional Seniors Travel Card for another two years.
The Regional Seniors Travel Card is a $250 prepaid Visa card designed to ease the burden of travel costs for eligible seniors in rural, regional, and remote areas.
It can be used for pre-booked NSW Trainlink Regional trains and coaches as well as fuel and taxis, making travel more accessible and convenient for seniors who often have fewer transport options than those living in the city.
Increased funding will allow the card to be extended from 2022 to additional seniors in the regions, including people of Age Pension age who receive either a Disability Pension or a Carers Payment from Services Australia.
NSW Nationals Upper House MP Sam Farraway said seniors across regional NSW have benefited from the initial two-year travel card trial, with 337,500 cards issued in 2020 and more than 330,000 cards issued so far in 2021.
“We knew the positive impact it would make on the Central West which is why the NSW Nationals in the state government made it an election commitment in 2019 and I’m glad it is set to continue for two more years,” Mr Farraway said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the card had been an overwhelming success.
“This card has made a big difference to the lives of seniors living in the bush who often have fewer transport options than those living in big cities like Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong – and we’re excited to announce it will be offered again in 2022 and 2023,” Mr Barilaro said.
NSW Nationals Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Regional Seniors Travel card had provided a significant boost to businesses across the regions.
“Having an extra $250 in their pocket has made it easier for regional seniors to get to the shops and medical appointments and stay connected locally and with friends and family living in other parts of the State. It’s also injected more than $108 million into regional economies, benefitting local taxi operators and fuel stations,” Mr Toole said.
Applications for the card can be made online at www.service.nsw.gov.au, by calling 13 77 88 or by visiting a Service NSW Service Centre.