I was approached by one of my constituents this week, a pensioner, who told me of her embarrassment when she tried to pay for a ticket on a Sydney bus in Rosebery.
This lady is 86 years old and she recently returned from staying with relatives. On her return she attempted to undertake her normal routine which includes regularly taking trips on a bus to attend doctors’ appointments, fill prescriptions, undertake medical tests and to purchase groceries.
On getting on to her bus she tried to pay her fare to the driver and was shocked and mortified with embarrassment when she attempted to purchase her usual $2.50 Pensioner Excursion Ticket (PET) on her regular bus service and couldn't. It was a paralysing moment for such a proud 86 year old woman to be told by the bus driver that “no we don’t sell them anymore”.
My elderly constituent is deeply concerned about her ability to access an authorised seller of Pensioner Excursion Tickets due to mobility issues that impact on her everyday life. This essentially means that unless some of my less mobile constituents have extended family or supportive friends and neighbours to assist them they will be house bound because all their trips will need to be preplanned.
When these Liberal governments and their economic rationalist supporters argue that outsourcing pensioner bus fares to the private sector is more efficient, they have no understanding of the human cost.