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Public transport patronage surged over the fare free period, with more than 13.2 million trips taken across Greater Sydney over the twelve days – a daily average of more than 1.1 million trips.

Minister for Transport and Veterans David Elliott said the NSW Government initiative has been a great success and showed the resilience and positive outlook of families and residents across Greater Sydney after two years of Covid-19 restrictions, and more recently, severe weather and industrial action.

“I’d like to thank everyone who got out and about on the public transport network over the past 12 days. The numbers don’t lie – Sydney has fallen in love with public transport again,” Mr Elliott said.

“The feedback I’ve received from locals, businesses, and officials has been overwhelmingly positive, and I think this has been a fantastic outcome for Greater Sydney as we put Covid-19 in the rear-view mirror and remember all there is on offer in this great city and state of ours.”

Opal data from Transport for NSW confirmed that ferries were one of the most popular options during the fare free period, especially over Easter, with ferry boardings in Manly and Parramatta up by 64% and 34% respectively, compared with Easter last year.

Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee said it was great to see people out and about on the Parramatta River enjoying the new River Class ferries and getting to explore Sydney’s second CBD.

“Like the Minister, I’ve received nothing but fantastic feedback from families who have taken advantage of this time to see new areas, especially in the rapidly growing and diverse business and entertainment hub in Western Sydney,” Dr Lee said.

Transport for NSW Chief Operations Officer Howard Collins said he hoped commuters would sustain their use of public transport and thanked them for travelling safely.

“It was great to see the network busier than it has been for over two years, and I think that a lot of people were reminded of how great public transport can be for getting around Greater Sydney,” Mr Collins said.

Transport for NSW Opal data revealed a number of trends during the fare free initiative, especially over Easter, with patronage up 14.5% from last year as people took advantage of the good weather and holidays to see more of Greater Sydney.

Over the Easter long weekend commuters particularly took advantage of ferry trips across the harbour, with 58,200 customers taking 82,600 trips on the F1 Manly ferry. There was also a notable jump in train trips between Newcastle and Sydney, with trips from Newcastle up 42% and from Sydney up 38%, journeys out to the Blue Mountains were up 86% compared to the last Easter period.

During the week, the most noticeable trend was a lift in L2 and L3 CBD and South East light rail usage. Between Tuesday, 19 April and Friday, 22 April there was a daily average of 29,300 trips on the L2 and 29,900 trips on the L3, which was an uplift of 15% and 13% respectively from weekday volumes at the start of April.

Following the success of this initiative, the NSW Government will continue to analyse data from the fare free period and seek feedback from the business community.

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State Correspondent

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