NSW Privacy Commissioner Doctor Elizabeth Coombs has expressed concern over the phase out of the state's paper public transport tickets for pensioners.
Coombs said she was "disappointed" that the discontinuation of paper tickets means senior citizens either have to register their personal details to get an Opal card or pay full fare.
"Older people can face particular difficulties and anxieties about using electronic tickets. I understand that other jurisdictions such as Queensland and New Zealand provide alternative options to senior concessional travellers which both protect state revenue collection and the anonymity of pensioners," she said.
"There is a need for NSW public transport commuters irrespective of the fare they pay, to be able to travel anonymously under the Opal electronic ticketing system. The provision of such a choice ensures that the NSW transport system is built around the needs and expectations of its users."
Fifty seven paper transport tickets will no longer be sold in NSW from 1 January next year.
These include the pensioner excursion ticket, MyBus TravelTen, MyMulti Weekly, MyFerry TravelTen and Light Rail Weekly.
NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said that given the “enormous success” of Opal, it was time to stop running two ticketing systems.
“Sales of the once popular MyBus Travel Ten have fallen by more than 75 per cent over the last 12 months as people have switched to Opal,” he said.
Constance added that the phase out of the pensioner excursion ticket will be a major change for seniors but he said an intensive campaign is being rolled out to inform people of the changes.
“We’ve had 370,000 pensioners and seniors sign up, and there’s another five months for others to get on board with Gold Opal,” said Constance.
Since the rollout of Opal began in December 2012, 3.3 million cards have been issued.
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