OPAL card roll out misses Charlestown

The Member for Charlestown, Jodie Harrison, has strongly criticised the roll out of OPAL cards in the Hunter, with revelations that there is nowhere in Charlestown for users to top up their accounts.

“Charlestown Square is one of the primary destinations for bus users in Lake Macquarie, but there is nowhere available for them to recharge their OPAL cards.” Ms Harrison said.

“This roll out is a mess. You can’t top up at train stations, Cityrail staff are forbidden from assisting with OPAL cards and now we discover that Lake Macquarie is again being short changed by decisions in Sydney.” Ms Harrison said.

Local residents are also seeing red about the lack of access to OPAL card recharging.

“I can’t see the sense of it not being at Charlestown when there are two places near Windale you can top up.” Gateshead local Gail Melville said

Currently, most people are forced to buy credit online, leaving people without internet access or credit cards struggling to find physical outlets that sell the cards and top up credit.

“Expecting pensioners to recharge online is ridiculous. We need options that suit real people” Ms Harrison said.

Gateshead Grandmother Isabelle Dousha uses public transport to pick up her grandson and is forced to take two bus trips to Kotara just to top up her OPAL card.

“It’s disgusting. They’re thinking of the younger generation. They’re not thinking of the elderly.” Ms Dousha said.

Ms Harrison has called local businesses in Charlestown to encourage them to sign up to selling OPAL cards and called on the NSW Government to ensure businesses were encouraged to sell top up credit.

A full list of Opal retailers and top up sites can be found at: www.retailers.opal.com.au/