SYDNEY, AAP – Commuters can take advantage of 12 days of free public transport on Sydney’s Opal network during the Easter holiday period.
The free trips on trains, buses, ferries, light rail and metro services began at 4am on Thursday and will continue until 3.59am on April 26.
The network extends across Greater Sydney to the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter and Illawarra regions.
Transport for NSW announced the fare-free period on Tuesday, saying the move was designed to boost businesses and get people out and about in the community during the Easter holidays.
Secretary of Unions NSW Mark Morey said the gesture was a delayed apology from a government that shut down the train network on February 21, then sought to blame the workforce.
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“Today we are celebrating the power of a combined campaign between workers and the general public to extract fare free days,” he said.
He warned the union campaign for a pay rise would continue.
“Inflation is running between 3.5 and five per cent while public sector wages are capped at 2.5 per cent,” he said.
“The very people who got us through the pandemic, often without so much as a mask, let alone a vaccine, are now being asked to take a pay cut,” he said.
TfNSW chief operations officer Howard Collins said the fare-free period was “hip pocket relief” in challenging times, after services had also been affected by the recent severe weather.
Customers will still have to tap on with an Opal card or contactless debit or credit card but won’t be charged.
NSW TrainLink Regional services are not included in the fare-free period.
People commuting to the airport also need to pay the station access fee if departing or boarding at Sydney Airport domestic or international stations, which is $15.13 for adults and $13.54 for children and pensioners.