Sydney commuters gain 1200 more bus, light rail and ferry services for summer

Sydney's public transport users will have access to about 1200 extra services a week under a new timetable to handle the surge of commuters expected to return to offices, shopping strips and beaches from December.

As the NSW government pushes for workers to return to deserted CBDs, Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the timetable would include 600 weekly night bus services between 9pm and 1am on Friday and Saturday.

More people are expected to use public transport as NSW passes 28 days since recording a coronavirus case without a known source.Credit:Renee Nowytarger

There will be 300 additional "Nightrider" services from midnight to 4.30am on Friday and Saturday.

An extra 236 extra bus services will run to Bondi, Coogee and Manly beaches on weekends. The Manly ferry will run every 20 minutes, instead of every 30 minutes, until 6pm to maintain physical distancing requirements.

Seventy extra light rail services will run on the L2 Randwick and L3 Kingsford Lines from 7pm Wednesday to Sunday.

Mr Constance said on Tuesday the more than 1000 additional bus services would be on top of "3300 extra services we added during the COVID pandemic, to help commuters enjoy all the city and surrounds have to offer this summer".

He said the 900 weekly services added on Friday and Saturday nights would help support Sydney’s night-time economy as it recovered from the COVID-19 crisis.

Sydney's public transport network has been strained as more people returned to the city while physical distancing requirements restricted the number of passengers allowed on trains, buses and ferries.

Opposition Transport spokesman Chris Minns has previously said the government should do more to increase peak-hour capacity and stimulate the economy.

Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins said hundreds of extra staff would be retained for the summer period to help customers move safely around the network.

"We are continuing to do everything we can to support customers travelling on the public transport network, with increased cleaning, green physical distancing dots, and additional staff all still in place," Mr Collins said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in September the government wanted workers to "get back to those CBDs and we want people to support those economies and those businesses that have essentially been inactive for seven to eight months".

On Monday, NSW recorded more than 28 days since a coronavirus case without a known source, prompting Ms Berejiklian to signal restrictions on group gatherings could be further relaxed this week, possibly on Wednesday.

Under changes that came into effect on Monday, up to 3000 people may now attend an outdoor concert, and outdoor religious gatherings of 500 may be held in measures designed to allow for local Christmas celebrations.

Ms Berejiklian has flagged the next steps would likely be increasing the number of people allowed in a home and moving towards a two-square-metre rule at indoor venues, but said on Monday she was still taking health advice.

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