NSW late to get on the train

NSW late to get on the train

Improving public transport for tourists is high on the TTF agenda, but will locals embrace direct train access to one of Australia’s most famous beaches?

The Tourism & Transport Forum’s “wish list” revealed Friday includes creating a new Opal Card specifically for tourists, building new rail lines to Bondi beach, Badgerys Creek and the Bays Precinct, as well as better coordination with rail maintenance work during major events, which it considers should form part of the NSW government’s integrated tourism and transport strategy.

“Whether it’s New York’s subway, London’s Underground or Sydney’s ferries, transport can be iconic for a city,” TTF chief executive Margy Osmond told delegates at nation’s premier industry conference, Outlook 2015 last week.

“More than being an icon, public transport is a key part of the visitor experience.”

“A bad experience on a city’s public transport network is something visitors will talk about. Equally, a good experience helps Sydney present itself as a modern, well-functioning, global city, which in turn helps attract more visitors,” she said.

According to the TTF’s new report, Tourism on the Move, the range of issues outlined include extending the Eastern Suburbs Line to Bondi Beach and the South West Rail Link to Badgerys Creek which is the proposed site for Sydney’s second airport, as well as new rail links to the Bays Precinct which has is part of a planned renewal of the area.

“A dedicated Opal visitor card which allows unlimited travel on Sydney’s public transport for set periods, including with private commuter ferry operators, and grants access to attractions and cultural institutions, should also be considered,” Osmond said.

“This can be modelled on the Copenhagen Card, which offers unlimited travel on the transport network and free admission to 72 of the city’s museums and attractions.”

Osmond said the Opal card for visitors should be available for purchase at outlets in airports and hotels, but also available to be ordered online for anyone to purchase before departing their home country.

“Introducing multilingual Opal top-up machines and multi-lingual signs at tourist transport offices and in highly-frequented visitor areas – as is the case in Brisbane – will also improve the visitor experience,” Osmond said.

“Public transport is vital to major events. Transport for NSW should coordinate its rail maintenance work with Destination NSW to ensure rail maintenance work is not scheduled during major cultural and sporting events.”

“Developing an easier-to-use and integrated public transport network will make Sydney a better place to live, work and crucially, to visit,” she said.

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