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Free train travel for Sydneysiders without risk of fine

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
A composite image of a woman using an Opal top up machine at a Sydney train station and people sitting on a train with the Transport Sydney Trains logo.
Commuters won't even get the option to pay for their train ride next week. (Source: Getty)

The dispute between the NSW government and Sydney Trains is ramping up, with Opal machines set to be completely switched off next week.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union will deactivate Opal readers and gates from next Wednesday, indefinitely, until a resolution is reached, NSW union secretary Alex Claassens said.

The strategy is designed to turn up the heat on government and senior bureaucrats.

"They are the ones responsible for this mess, they can now live with it," Claassens said.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the union was turning off the machines because 90 per cent of passengers were still tapping on when the gates were left open last month.

"That shows the people of NSW just want to get on with it,” Perrottet said.

“That's what I expect of the union.”

Not all stations have gates, but Opal poles at suburban platforms will also be deactivated.

"You can tap all you like but nothing's going to happen," Claassens said.

The deactivation will be coupled with a ban on issuing fines.

NSW Opposition Leader Chris Minns called for negotiations to resume.

"I'm happy that industrial action at least is not inconveniencing the public, but no one wants industrial action," he said.

"We want an agreement between the two sides."

Perrottet threatened to terminate the existing enterprise agreement at the end of August after a month of industrial action caused widespread disruption across several days.

He declared negotiations for a new agreement over and a final offer was presented, but the unions rejected it and applied to the commission to continue bargaining.

Claassens called the attempts a stalling tactic by the government.

"There is no point in coming to the conciliation table unless you've got the decision makers at the table," he said.

- With AAP

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