Buses with contactless payment were to be trialled in Dubbo earlier this year but that is now indefinitely delayed, according to a statement from Transport for NSW.
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When the Daily Liberal reached out to find out why the trial hadn't started, a Transport for NSW spokesperson said they were now working on rolling out the technology in Dubbo as part of phase two.
They couldn't give a start date, saying it "was still being determined".
"Transport for NSW commenced a trial to support contactless payments on buses in regional NSW in December 2022 in Bathurst as part of the first phase of the roll out," they said.
The spokesperson went on to say there were no immediate plans to extend the Opal network "at this time" and the trial in regional NSW leverages similar contactless payment technology.
"This will help pave the way for a potential integrated ticketing solution that connects regional and rural NSW with Greater Sydney in the future," the spokesperson said.
The Daily Liberal reached out to the office of Minister for Regional Transport Jenny Aitchison for comment.
While Ms Aitchison didn't speak with us directly, her office said they were "happy" with the response from Transport NSW.
At the May infrastructure, planning and environment committee meeting Dubbo Regional Council recommended approval be granted for the implementation of the Transport for NSW 16 Regional Cities Bus Services Improvement Program to 70 locations in Dubbo.
This is in accordance with proposed new and modified bus zone locations which could incorporate:
Councillor Pam Wells said this was an opportunity for Dubbo to say that it was worthwhile using the Opal cards.
"Given they are used widely in the metropolitan areas, I would encourage Transport for NSW to have a think about the use of Opal cards," she said.
"I understand that in the metropolitan areas at the moment they are reducing the Opal cards and are encouraging people to tap with their bank cards, but it's just another option that we should explore."
Deputy mayor Richard Ivey disagreed with Cr Wells about introducing Opal cards to Dubbo.
"The card was introduced at a time when the universality of credit cards wasn't what it is now, and there are really no advantages of an Opal card over a credit card," he said.
"I think it would be a retrospective step to say that they should reduce it."
Cr Wells said that was fine for adults who have key cards or credit cards but because many children don't have access to those things, we couldn't forget about them.
"That's where I think Opal cards can be beneficial," she said.
Transport for NSW has consulted with residents and businesses that will be affected by the new bus stops that will be implemented.
DRC Director of Infrastructure Luke Ryan said there were a couple of bus stops in the report where issues have been raised.
"Transport for NSW are still working through that but I don't see why anyone else affected by this can't raise their issues with Transport for NSW," he said.
Councillor Josh Black said having more stops in the area was a good initiative for Dubbo.
"This will be really good for improving public transport around the city and I also note that efforts are being made to consult with residents who aren't happy with bus stops being put in front of residential houses," he said.
"It's encouraging to hear that some discussions have been had between Transport for NSW and the residents to try and alleviate those concerns and issues and find alternative bus stops."
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