It’s been a rough year for Sydney commuters, but the city’s Opal reader machines are being switched off at train stations next week, which is a silver lining. 

The NSW Rail Union has confirmed that they’ll be switching off all Opal reader machines across Sydney’s train network for one week from Wednesday, September 21st.

It’s part of the ongoing industrial action between the rail union and the NSW state government that’s been rumbling on all year. Rail workers are undergoing action in a bid to earn a new pay deal.

By deactivating the Opal reader machines, the NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union hopes to “cause a headache for the NSW government.”

“This will allow commuters to travel around the network for free. If there is no way to tap on or off, then they cannot be fined. This action is coupled with our transport officers not issuing fines and cautions,” NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union secretary Alex Claassens said in a statement.

“You can turn the gates off in any way under this action. For example, by pressing the emergency egress button, flicking the internal switch on legacy gates, or tripping the circuit breaker for the stand-alone opal ‘poles’.

“We need to make sure that all gates get switched off and stay off. If anyone comes to your station to switch the opal readers back on, please let us know immediately as this may constitute adverse action.”

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“We want to put pressure on the government and senior bureaucrats, not the travelling public,” Claassens explained to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We’re making sure that they’re going to be kept open and working the way we want them to work so people don’t have to pay.”

So if you’re in Sydney and fancy some free train travel, Wednesday, September 21st until Wednesday, September 28th is the ideal time to ride the rails. Keep an eye out for more details coming in the next few days.

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