Sydney survives first transport test

Sydney has passed its first major test since buses were banned from one of Australia’s busiest city streets but commuters are being warned the weeks ahead may get “trickier”.


More than 600,000 commuters returned to the city on Tuesday morning after George Street was closed to buses to make way for the construction of a new 12km light rail line.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance says most Sydneysiders took the changes in their stride.

“It’s been a pleasing morning peak and commuters have responded well to the information campaign,” he said.

Lawyer Stephen Friend was less positive.

“My 343 bus in the city went straight past me, chaos,” he said.

Mr Constance said the transport overhaul may still cause teething problems in the months ahead.

“It’s going to take a good number of weeks for people to settle into the rhythm of the city,” he said.

Travellers have been urged to jump on the Trip Planner website/app, or speak to one of the “pink shirt brigade” – people offering help to navigate the CBD.

Pedestrians have also been warned not to take “unnecessary risks” while walking in the CBD.

“We saw a number of near-misses this morning,” CBD Co-ordinator General Marg Prendergast said.

“They may have relaxed and thought it’s OK to jaywalk but our message to pedestrians is that you are around a work site and there are still vehicles travelling through that section of road, so please use the signalised crossings.”

Cars will start being removed from George Street at the end of the month.

Trams are expected to start running on the new rail line, between Circular Quay to Randwick and Kingsford in the city’s east, in 2019.