Regional seniors rail-roaded
COLOURFUL Urunga pensioner John May is wondering if he will be thrown off the XPT at Gloucester today because he had the temerity to book two seniors tickets on the same journey.
John booked a $2.50 seniors discount excursion fare to Gloucester and then a half-fare ticket from Gloucester to Sydney.
Transport NSW told him he could not have two seniors discount fares on the same service. He could however book a half-price fare from Coffs Harbour to Sydney.
The difference is about $25.
He said the legal alternative was to travel to Gloucester, wait five hours for the next passenger train and travel on to Sydney for half-fare on a separate service.
John said it was not the money that annoyed him, it was the bureaucracy - but he was making a stand for those pensioners for whom the extra money might make all the difference as to whether they travelled at all.
"It's adding more than $20 to the fare for people who can't afford it," he said
"My NSW Seniors card says 'seniors are valuable members of our community, your courteous and respectful assistance is appreciated'.
"Then they tell me I have to get off and wait five hours for the next XPT in the middle of the night."
Transport NSW said the zone for the North Coast discount excursion ticket stretched from Moree to Tweed and Gloucester and the zone for City Rail (which also has a $2.50 pensioner excursion ticket) began at Dungog.
This leaves a gap of about 63km between the two zones.
According to Transport NSW, Coffs Harbour seniors with a NSW Seniors card can use their four free travel vouchers per year and if they have used up those, can pay half-fare from Coffs Harbour to Sydney but cannot mix the excursion fare and the half-price fare on the same journey, due to the different fare types.