Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has confirmed the start date of the $250 Regional Seniors Transport Card, a key cost of living announcement during the 2019 NSW State Election campaign.

Ms Cooke said the Transport Card will ease the cost of travel for rural and regional seniors from January 2020.

“Getting out and about is such an important part of life for all of us, and many of us have family and friends who live in the next town or perhaps a few hours away,” Ms Cooke said.

“Because of the distances we have to travel, it can be one of the most significant household costs for residents in the Cootamundra electorate, whether that be by private car, by taxi or by rail.

“The $250 can be used for fuel and taxis from participating providers in rural and regional NSW, and pre-booked NSW TrainLink services.

“The NSW Government is committed to helping ease the cost of living pressures which can present challenges for those of us who live in beautiful regional NSW.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the initiative complemented a suite of cost of living measures already rolled out.

“We know it can be a bit challenging for country seniors to travel to medical appointments or to see loved ones,” Mr Toole said.

“With further distances to travel, seniors rely more heavily on private travel which can be a more expensive option.

“This initiative will ease the pressure on seniors to access essential services and help address cost of living pressures in the bush.”

The Regional Seniors Transport Card policy follows a recommendation from the 2016 NSW Parliamentary Committee on Community Services into the access to Transport for Seniors and Disadvantaged People in Rural and Regional NSW.

Seniors must be living in regional NSW, outside Newcastle and Wollongong City Council boundaries, and be either an aged pensioner or a Commonwealth Senior Health Cardholder.

Further details about the rollout of the $250 Regional Seniors Transport Cards will be made available later in the year.