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PREMIER Gladys Berejiklian says she’s open to considering Opal card refunds in future for stranded commuters in the wake of a train meltdown over the weekend partially caused by a flyaway balloon.
Thousands of train travellers across Sydney were delayed after the metallic balloon flew into a tunnel and “caused overhead electricity wires to short” on Friday night.
“I’m really upset about what happened yesterday,” Ms Berejiklian said. “I hate to see it … I don’t like to see the train system letting people down.”
Passengers wait at Central Station after work on overhead lines caused major delays on Saturday. Picture: Damian ShawOpposition transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay called on the government to refund Opal card users for the delays experienced. “This is becoming all too common,” she said.
When Transport NSW chief executive Howard Collins took over the reins of the train network five years ago he said electronic ticketing in London made it easier for customers to get refund after delays and he would look at it bringing it here.
“People have had a delayed journey, we can automatically refund their journey on the tube and I think that will be a thing for Sydney to look forward to,” he said at the time.
Asked yesterday if she would introduce the policy Ms Berejiklian replied “we’re always open to looking at what we can do into the future”.
“I never like to rule anything out like that. It’s not current policy. It never has been but we’re always there to provide best service we can for our customers and I know Opal users are generally very happy with what we provide them.”
Rolling delays affected people travelling to sports events. Picture: Damian ShawShe said the State Government was working to untangle many interconnected train lines and build new ones.
“In the last few years in particular we’ve invested a lot of money in making sure that if something happens in one part of the system it doesn’t happen on others,” she said.
“We’re investing over a billion dollars separating the lines out and you’ll see less of that happening.”
Rail, Tram and Bus Union secretary Alex Claassens said rail workers want a full review of the IT errors that hit the Sydney network to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
He said workers were called on to exceed their shift limits on Saturday in order to keep trains moving.
“We’re hopeful the NSW Government will not spare any expense to get to the bottom of the issues that forced Sydney to grind to a halt on what we knew was always going to be a very busy day,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au
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