NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has assured Fairfield pensioners that they will be able to continue to buy their tickets in cash on local buses, despite the introduction of a new ticketing system.
Ms Berejiklian answered questions from the Champion after local pensioners expressed concerns they would no longer be able to pay cash to buy their tickets on local buses.
"Pensioners and seniors in the Fairfield area can continue to buy a Pensioner Excursion Ticket on board their bus," she said.
Ms Berejiklian said pensioners will still be able to buy their paper tickets, in cash even when the new Opal card system is completed rolled out.
"Later this year the new Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card will be released," she said.
"Opal offers customers a range of benefits, including never having to buy a ticket again to travel on any mode of public transport."
She said the price of fares would also not be affected by the change in the system.
"Opal fares will be capped at $2.50 a day for seniors and pensioners."
She said the fares were calculated based on distance, so some pensioners and seniors may even pay less.
Ms Berejiklian said though some pensioners had expressed concerns that NSW was moving towards a cashless public transport system, this was a long way off.
"Like many countries around the world, I imagine a day when everyone in NSW is using electronic ticketing.
"But we have always said this is a gradual rollout, and seniors and pensioners do not need to worry about this - for now they will be able to keep buying their paper [excursion] tickets."
She said on-board excursion ticket sales had to be phased out on State Transit buses "as they use a different technology which
is not compatible with Opal".
"Private buses like those in Fairfield do not have this issue.
"I'd like to assure pensioners and seniors they won't need a credit card to use Opal - they will be able to get an unregistered card and use cash to top it up at a retailer.
"At the moment customers can order an Opal card online or over the phone and link it to a credit card or bank account."