In a surprisingly positive turn of transport events for commuters, trips on all Sydney trains will half-price during peak hour and completely free on the weekend for one month (!!!) to make up for cancellations on Monday when the entire NSW network was suddenly shut down.
The NSW government has been under mounting pressure after Transport for NSW made the snap decision late on Sunday night to halt all trains. It was a bit of a power move against the The Rail, Tram, and Bus Union (RTBU), who had been fighting the government for better conditions and pay for train workers.
But RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens made it clear on Monday the workers were “not on strike” and called the move to lock them out a “dummy spit”. He said staff arrived to take part in low-level industrial action which would not have impacted commuters but were told by management that trains would not be running.
Hundreds of thousands of commuters were impacted, and we’ve since discovered Premier Dominic Perrottet wasn’t even informed.
Transport Minister David Elliot has maintained he also didn’t find out about the decision until first-thing Monday morning because he was asleep when the decision was made at 12:43am. But leaked texts have revealed while yes, he went to sleep, his department was in fact communicating the plan to switch of Sydney trains to him before midnight.
Perrottet told him off sternly in a press conference on Wednesday for a) not telling him what was going on and b) BEING FKN ASLEEP.
“The minister will reflect on that and realise that all ministers are available 24/7,” Perrottet said.
“My expectation is that ministers are immensely connected to the operational matters that are occurring within their portfolios.”
Perrottet issued a directive on Wednesday that from now on any significant developments relating to operation of Sydney trains must be written into a brief and signed before actioned.
It’s an embarrassing mess but the government is one of the biggest losers.
In a win for the union, the government conceded its standoff with the RTBU and withdrew its application seeking an end to industrial action in the Fair Work Commission.
In a win for us, with free tickets I now have more money for coffee.
The government has not yet announced how much the discounted fares will cost them.
But as of Wednesday trains were still only operating at 30 per cent, so TBC how this is going to go incentivising people to catch public transport that’s not available.