Sydney public transport chaos: Sydneysiders are being urged to work from home as train and bus drivers go on strike

Sydneysiders were urged to work from home and avoid unnecessary travel on Wednesday as industrial action throws the city’s public transport system into chaos.

Up to three-quarters of Sydney’s trains will not operate during the 24-hour strike after rail and union officials failed to find a solution in ongoing negotiations.

Up to 1,100 bus drivers are also on strike, affecting routes in the city’s south, west and central business district.

During both the morning and afternoon travel periods, work stoppage meetings are held for bus drivers.

Adding to the public transport chaos, the Harbor Bridge Tunnel was closed southbound overnight after an oversized truck got stuck.

Sydneysiders are being urged to work from home during a 24-hour rail strike on Wednesday

Sydneysiders are being urged to work from home during a 24-hour rail strike on Wednesday

The tunnel has since reopened, but motorists are already facing a long journey on the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

All transit lanes are open to all motorists to allow Sydneysiders to get to and from work and school on Wednesday.

Train services are expected to run every half hour during the 24-hour strike, while all trains on the T5 Cumberland and T7 Olympic Park routes will be cancelled.

A limited number of rail replacement buses will operate during the morning rush hour, with the main priority being to get students to school.

Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland warned commuters to “absolutely” stay at home.

“That is our urgent advice, avoid all unnecessary travel and leave the available capacity on trains to those who really need it,” he told 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham on Tuesday.

“If you can work from home or avoid taking the train tomorrow, that would be my best advice.”

Motorists have to commute long into the city due to strikes in the train and bus networks. Pictured is the Sydney Harbor Bridge at 6am

Motorists have to commute long into the city due to strikes in the train and bus networks. Pictured is the Sydney Harbor Bridge at 6am

Up to 1,100 bus drivers are also on strike Wednesday, affecting routes in the city's south, west and central business district.

Up to 1,100 bus drivers are also on strike Wednesday, affecting routes in the city’s south, west and central business district.

The Transport Workers Union refused to apologize for the mess.

“The reality of today is that this is ongoing,” an official told the Today Show on Wednesday.

“We have been talking to this company and the government for over two years.”

Commuters planning to take the train to work on Wednesday are being warned to expect limited service and lengthy delays

Commuters planning to take the train to work on Wednesday are being warned to expect limited service and lengthy delays

Railroad workers refuse to operate foreign-built trains, which make up about 70 percent of the fleet.

Several unions are trying to secure a new company agreement to replace an agreement that expired in May 2021, while the Rail, Tram and Bus Union is calling for changes to a fleet of Korean-built intercity trains it says are not yet safely operating in NSW can become .

Neither the various government ministers involved in the dispute nor Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet believe the trains need to be modified.

RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens has refused to rule out further industrial action as train drivers are also demanding a 0.5 per cent pay rise.

Negotiations with the state government will continue this week.

The chaos comes after the union rejected an offer by the NSW government to call off the strike, branding the offer a “stunt”.

In a letter on Sunday, the government withdrew its demand that a new company agreement for railway workers be finalized before changes to the new intercity fleet can begin.

The government’s requirement that an agreement be reached before changes begin was a sticking point in the long-running negotiations.

“It doesn’t really add anything new to this negotiation,” RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens said on Tuesday.

“It was just used to generate another headline for the government.”

Transport Secretary David Elliott denied claims the offer was a stunt.

“That’s exactly what the railroad union asked for,” he said

“Just take the deed…we gave you what you wanted.”

Services are expected to run every half hour during Wednesday's 24-hour strike (pictured commuters during a recent strike).

Services are expected to run every half hour during Wednesday’s 24-hour strike (pictured commuters during a recent strike).

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11162005/Sydney-public-transport-chaos-Sydneysiders-urged-work-home-train-bus-drivers-strike.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Sydney public transport chaos: Sydneysiders are being urged to work from home as train and bus drivers go on strike

Emma Colton

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