Why a Regional Seniors Travel Card?
Travel is one of the most significant household costs faced by seniors living across rural and regional NSW.
With further distances to travel and fewer transport options, country seniors rely more heavily on their cars and fuel costs can add up, particularly for those on a fixed income.
The Regional Seniors Travel Card offers a $250 discount on fuel and taxis from participating providers in rural and regional NSW and pre-booked NSW TrainLink train and coach services.
Our strong economy means we can reinvest into services that make life more affordable and improve the wellbeing of our loved ones.
Reducing travel costs will enable easier access to health services, and assist with day-to-day activities like shopping and visiting family and friends.
To find out more and apply for the Regional Seniors Travel Card, visit the Service NSW website.
1. What is the Regional Seniors Travel Card?
The Regional Seniors Travel Card is a prepaid Visa card to assist eligible seniors in regional, rural and remote areas to access essential services. It is pre-loaded with $250 for you to pay for travel-related expenses.
2. Where can I use my Regional Seniors Travel Card?
You can use your card to pay for:
• Pre-booked NSW TrainLink regional train and coach services
• taxi trips.
3. What kind of card is it?
The Regional Seniors Travel Card:
• works in point-of-sale (POS) terminals that accept Visa, over the phone and online
• operates with a four digit PIN
• has a magnetic strip on the back
• is non-reloadable.
4. Why was the regional seniors travel card developed?
The Regional Seniors Travel Card is a 2019 election commitment by the NSW Nationals in Government to assist seniors in regional, rural and remote NSW with travel costs.
Longer distances and fewer transport options mean regional seniors often rely more on their cars and have higher fuel costs than people in the city. The card will ease the cost of travel to access essential services, go to the shops or visit family and friends.
5. How is the program being managed?
Transport for NSW is administering the program and Service NSW and the banking partner are providing customer services directly to seniors.
6. How long is the program?
The Regional Seniors Travel Card program will be trialed over two years – 2020 and 2021.
Applications for all seniors will open in late January 2020. Each $250 regional seniors travel card will expire after 12 months from the time it is issued. The expiry is date is printed on the front of the card. Seniors will be able to apply for a total of two cards – for 2020 and 2021.
7. Where can I apply?
You can apply at Service NSW:
• online at service.nsw.gov.au
• call 13 77 88
• visit a Service NSW Service Centre.
You can find your nearest Service NSW Service Centre location at service.nsw.gov.au.
8. What do I need to complete my application?
Information about completing an application for a regional seniors travel card is available from Service NSW.
9. When can I apply?
Applications will be open for all seniors for the 2020 card in late January.
10. When will I receive my card?
Applications will open in late January 2020. It takes around 10 business days to receive a card and PIN.
11. Is it safe to send my card in the mail?
Yes, for security purposes your card and PIN will be mailed separately.
12. Am I eligible to receive a regional seniors travel card?
You are eligible if you are:
• an age pensioner with a valid Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Human Services or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (you must have been receiving the age pension for at least one month); or
• a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holder – card issued by the Department of Human Services or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (you must have held your card for at least one month); and
• living in regional NSW outside Wollongong and Newcastle City Council boundaries. Sydney is also excluded.
13. Which cards are not eligible?
The following cards do not prove your eligibility for the Regional Seniors Travel Card:
• NSW Seniors Card
• Low Income Health Card
14. Why have Newcastle and Wollongong been excluded?
The Regional Seniors Travel Card is being provided to eligible seniors who live in areas where there are fewer public transport options. The definition of regional NSW is consistent with what is used for Restart NSW – local government areas outside of Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle.
15. What happens if I’m no longer receiving the aged pension or my Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is cancelled?
This means you no longer meet the eligibility criteria and you will not be able to get a regional seniors travel card.
Using the card
16. Are there any restrictions on how the card is used?
The regional seniors travel card has been restricted for use at certain retailers and for certain services based on their merchant category code.
Merchant category codes are used to classify businesses based on the type of goods or services they provide. The regional seniors travel card will work at retailers using merchant category codes including service stations, fuel, taxis, trains and coaches. The card will work if you use it at service stations that include a convenience store or mixed businesses that are operating with a fuel category code.
Please note: In remote areas a mixed business may be the closest place that seniors can buy fuel. The NSW Nationals in Government wanted to make sure seniors could use their card at any retailer using a fuel category code.
Retailers can check with their bank if they’re not sure which merchant category code they are using.
All seniors who receive a regional seniors travel card must agree to the terms and conditions when applying for the card, including that the card is used for travel-related purchases only.
17. Can I pay for fuel to use in a friend or relative’s car?
Yes. At your discretion you can use your regional seniors travel card to pay for fuel for someone else’s vehicle to support your transport needs.
18. Will cardholders be able to use the card while travelling in metropolitan areas?
Yes. You can use your card for travel-related purchases Australia-wide. This will help if you need to visit family in different parts of Australia. If you’re travelling interstate by car or on a pre-booked NSW TrainLink Regional service you will be able to use your card for fuel or taxis at your destination. You must meet the eligibility criteria for the card including living in one of the designated NSW local government areas.
19. Can I use the card in the Opal network?
The regional seniors travel card can be used for a range of Opal payments. Contact Service NSW for more information.
20. What other things can’t I do with the regional seniors travel card?
You can’t use the card to:
• withdraw cash from ATMs, bank branches or point-of-sale (POS) terminals (for example in supermarkets)
• check your balance at ATMs or bank branches
• pay with contactless payments (eg. tap and go, payWave)
• set up recurring transactions such as Opal auto top up
• pay for rideshare services including Uber
• make transactions outside of Australia
• pay local bus fares.
Also it can’t be transferred, sold or exchanged for other benefits.
21. Why was my transaction declined?
Reasons your transaction will be declined:
• You tried to use your card for non-travel related purchases. Certain retailers and services are restricted.
• You used your card at a retailer that was not using the appropriate merchant category code. For example, the retailer was selling fuel under the supermarket code. Please try an alternative service station.
• The item or service you’re trying to buy costs more than your card balance.
Please ensure you always have an alternative method of payment just in case the merchant does not accept your card.
22. How do I check my balance and manage my card?
You will be able to contact card services to:
• activate your card
• check your balance
• view your transaction history
• report a lost or stolen card
• Change your PIN
• Dispute incorrect transactions recorded against your card.
Card services will be available 24/7:
• Call 1800 569 070 (available from mid-January 2020)
• visit nswregionalseniors.cards (available from early-February 2020).
Card activation and expiry
23. When do regional seniors travel cards expire?
Please check the expiry date printed on the front of your card. You must activate your card within 45 days of the date shown on your card letter. If your card is not activated within 45 days, it will be cancelled.
24. What happens if I haven’t spent the full card value by the card expiry date?
Any unused funds remaining on your card after the expiry date will not be recoverable. Please try to make sure you spend your $250 before your card expires.
25. Can I renew my regional seniors travel card?
No. Each card is valid for a minimum of 12 months. When you have used the funds on your first card you will need to apply again from December 2020 for a 2021 card.
26. How will Transport for NSW prevent fraudulent use of regional seniors travel cards?
Transport for NSW will monitor the uptake and use of regional seniors travel cards to help prevent fraud. This includes:
• Checking transactions to verify purchases are for travel-related items and/or at approved retail outlets
• Monitoring the number of cards requested to be sent to the same address.
27. How will Transport for NSW maintain privacy for regional seniors travel card holders?
Transport for NSW takes the security and privacy of customer information very seriously. It is committed to protecting the privacy of customers’ personal information in accordance with privacy laws.
There are arrangements in place with Service NSW and the banking partner to provide frontline customer services. Transport for NSW and its contractors will only collect the information it needs to verify seniors’ eligibility and to administer and manage the regional seniors travel card program.
More information will be available at service.nsw.gov.au/RSTCterms.