Millions of Aussies to get free travel on public transport for 12 days

Public transport users in Greater Sydney can travel with ease from Thursday, with a new initiative set to temporarily remove transport fares.

Following a recent announcement from Transport for NSW, the Opal network will be fare-free for a total of 12 days, from 4am on Thursday April 14 to 3.59am on Tuesday April 26, 2022.

The fare-free initiative, which follows industrial action over fares, is set to give travellers some reprieve from recent events, while also encouraging a boost to tourism and businesses across the network.

“With floods, industrial action, and COVID-19, it has been a challenging time for many, and this initiative will deliver some hip pocket relief, encourage people to enjoy what Greater Sydney has to offer, and also provide a boost to businesses,” Transport for NSW Chief Operations Officer Howard Collins said.

People exiting a public transport train at peak hour. Source: Getty Images
Officials are predicting that millions will take advantage of the fare-free public transport period. Source: Getty Images

“Head out to the Easter Show, catch a game of footy or dinner with family and friends, and help revitalise our city centres and support local communities.”

The fare-free period covers all Opal network services in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra, and includes Metro, train, bus, light rail and ferry services.

NSW TrainLink Regional trains, coaches including XPT and Xplorer services, and the Sydney airport train line are not included in the fare-free initiative.

How to use the fare-free system

Mr Collins explained that customers are still required to scan on and off as usual, although free fares will automatically be applied.

“While fares will not be charged to commuters during this period, the Opal system will still operate, as it helps Transport for NSW and other operators plan services and keep people safe by monitoring passenger numbers and capacity across the network,” Mr Collins said.

“To access free fares, simply tap on and tap off with a valid Opal card or contactless credit or debit card (American Express, Mastercard or Visa card).”

Opal scan off reminder poster on a window of a ferry terminal. Source: Getty Images
Free parking at Transport Park&Ride car parks will continue to be available for up to 18 hours. To access free Park&Ride car parking, commuters need to tap on and tap off as normal. Source: Getty Images

Mr Collins also reminded certain types of commuters to be aware of additional conditions during the fare-free period.

“If you are travelling with school children remember you should use a valid Child/Youth Opal card as School Opal cards do not work during school holidays,” he said.

“For those catching a flight over the holidays, make sure you leave enough time to get to the airport and if you’re taking the train, you will still be required to pay for the station access fee.”

Those attending events with integrated ticketing, such as the Easter Show, during the fare-free period, need only show their ticket to staff at the station or when boarding services, or tap on and tap off as normal for free travel.

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