Free travel for WA seniors to start in April

By: Chris Smith

Western Australian seniors and aged and disability support pensioners will be able to use public transport free between 9am and

Western Australian seniors and aged and disability support pensioners will be able to use public transport free between 9am and 3.30pm on weekdays and on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from next month.

Premier Colin Barnett, with Transport Minister Simon O’Brien and Seniors’ Minister Robyn McSweeney, have announced Saturday, April 4 as the start-date for the initiative, which provides for an extra 1.5 hours of free travel three months earlier than the previous proposal of 10am to 3pm.

Seniors taking advantage of the State Government’s initiative and using public transport regularly could save between $350 and $600 a year.

"I am very pleased we are able to help about 320,000 seniors and aged and disability support pensioners with real savings over an extended time each day," Barnett says.

"I am proud of the Liberal-National Government’s record on public transport - it was during our last period in office that free travel for seniors on Sundays and public holidays was introduced."

The Premier said that under the initiative, WA Seniors Card holders and aged and disability support pension cardholders could use SmartRider cards to travel at no charge on all Transperth bus, train and ferry services during the entitlement times and days.

This will also be the case in Geraldton, which now has SmartRider in operation.

In other major country towns where there is a Government-controlled regional town bus service, seniors and aged and disability support pensioners can show their concession card to the bus driver to access free travel during the same timeframes.

"We would have liked to have had this expanded free travel entitlement in place before Christmas, but it was simply not possible to properly incorporate it into Transperth’s SmartRider system in time," Barnett says.

"It was decided that it was more important to get this right from the outset - and it will still be well ahead of the mid-year start date proposed by the previous Labor government."

Transport Minister Simon O’Brien said that with the entitlement properly built into the electronic ticketing system, the free travel could be accessed by the normal tag-on/tag-off SmartRider process.

"Seniors Card holders will be able to use their existing Seniors SmartRider," O’Brien says.

"Aged and disability pensioners will need to apply to have their existing concession SmartRider reprogrammed or get a new SmartRider if they do not already have one."

O’Brien says that from March16, aged pensioners and disability support pensioners could apply for their SmartRider from authorised Retail Sales Outlets, Transperth InfoCentres or by phoning the Transperth InfoLine on 13 62 13 for an application form.

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