How millions of Australians could travel for FREE every Monday and Friday under major shakeup to public transport to lure workers back into CBDs and kick-start the economy
- Sydneysiders want to work at home 3.3 days a week according to Ernst & Young
- New incentive hopes to benefit small businesses in CBD hit by Covid-19
- Sydneysiders could travel for free on public transport on Mondays and Fridays
- NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says he is ‘very open’ to incentivising travel
Sydney’s public transport would be free on Mondays and Fridays under a proposed plan to lure workers back into and breathe new life into the city’s heart.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said he was ‘open’ to the idea while speaking after a summit on the future of the Sydney CBD on Thursday.
He said there were less commuters on trains and busses on Mondays and Fridays and ‘wouldn’t rule out’ giving residents a free ride two days a week.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said he was ‘very open’ to incentivising public transport, especially on Fridays
‘I’m very open to looking at ways we can incentivise public transport, particularly on Fridays,’ the NSW Treasurer said.
‘It clearly came through today, and as I said, we’ll look at it.’
The comments come after a summit that discussed how to attract workers back to the CBD as businesses try to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Sydney’s Town Hall train station could become busier on Mondays and Fridays under the plan to stimulate the CBD economy
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she was in favour of incentivising commuters, and making public transport more accessible.
‘It’s a topic that was discussed very thoroughly today, and I know the Treasurer is going to take that back to the (Transport) Minister’, she said.
The Property Council of Australia first suggested the idea of ‘reviving’ CBD’s in major Australian cities, news.com.au reported.
A survey conducted in the report by consultancy firm Ernst & Young found the average Australian worker would ideally work from home 3.3 days a week.
Mondays and Fridays were the least popular days to leave home, with full-time workers taking advantage of their weekends by cutting down on travel time.
Offering commuters free transport on those days would work two-fold the report said, by enticing people back into the city it would also increase CBD ‘vibrancy’.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore (pictured) said she was in favour of incentivising ridership, and said it would make public transport more accessible
Riders would also save on transport fares, with the maximum daily travel fare costing Opal card users $16.10 a day, meaning $32.20 could be pocketed each week.
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance is currently on leave and has not commented on the new incentive.
Small businesses in the CBD were hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, with multiple lockdowns and people working from home losing venues crucial customers.
What is usually one of Sydney’s busiest areas is now haunted by empty streets, proving a continued anxiety for the NSW Government.
Le Petit Tarte Cafe in Sydney would be one of the small businesses that would benefit from an increase in workers in the city
Mr Perrottet called Sydney’s CBD ‘one of the biggest casualties of the pandemic’ during a budget speech in November.
Small Business Minister Damien Tudehope said commercial occupancy rates in Sydney had fallen from 90 per cent to about 50 per cent.
‘When people return to the office, they support small businesses and local jobs by buying lunch, shopping in store rather than online, and going out to visit cultural institutions as they stay open after dark,’ he said.
The NSW Government has pledged an extra $20million for initiatives that will hopefully breathe new life into the city’s economy.
About $40million has now been allocated to the CBD strategy, including $5million from the City of Sydney.