public transport network of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Travel topics > Transportation > Public transportation > Public transport in Sydney

Sydney's public transport system is a long and complicated one, similar to London's tube system except that there's a lot more ferries, and distances are longer.

Prepare Edit

Opal cards Edit

Map of Sydney's stations and wharves.

Consult Edit

All you need to travel on public transport is an Opal Card.

Bus Edit

Buses operate all over Sydney and most of its surroundings.

Train Edit

As of April 2021, there are 8 train lines in Sydney excluding metro and 5 intercity train lines.

Sydney Train Lines Edit

 T1 : North Shore and Western Line Edit

About Edit

The route passes through a number of business districts and major centres, namely Hornsby, Chatswood, North Sydney, the Central Business District, Parramatta, Blacktown and Penrith.

The line heads south from Berowra to Hornsby using the Main North Line. Trains then divert onto the North Shore Line, eventually passing through North Sydney station before heading across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, through the western limb of the City Circle and the stations of Central and Redfern. Services then run along the Main Suburban Railway, usually using the middle 'Suburban' pair of the six tracks between Redfern and Strathfield. Services do not stop at intermediate stations between Redfern and Strathfield.

Services continue west from Strathfield to Granville where trains join the Main Western Line. After passing through Parramatta, trains reach Blacktown, where the line divides in two. A western branch continues along the Main Western Line as far as Emu Plains and a north-western branch heads to Richmond using the Richmond Line.

Bikes are allowed on this service but it isn't ideal to bring a bike during peak hour times.

History Edit

Following victory in the 2011 New South Wales election, the O'Farrell Government embarked on reform of transport in New South Wales. In November 2011, Transport for NSW was created to improve planning and coordination of transport projects and services. The organisation developed a new rail timetable and branding, which was put into effect on 20 October 2013. This saw the merger of the North Shore Line and Western Line (Berowra - City via Gordon then to Emu Plains or Richmond via Strathfield) with the Northern Line (Hornsby - City via Macquarie Park then to Epping via Strathfield) to form the North Shore, Northern & Western Line. A new numbering system was also introduced and the line was given the number T1.

The North Shore, Northern & Western Line formerly ran along the Epping to Chatswood line until it closed in September 2018 to be converted to metro standards as part of the Sydney Metro Northwest project. As a result, the traditional Northern line route from Hornsby to Central via Strathfield was reinstated. The closed section was replaced by Station Link bus services until it reopened as metro. On 28 April 2019, this route became a separate T9 Northern Line, with the T1 renamed the North Shore & Western Line.

Timetable Edit

Timetables cannot be found at train stations and are subject to change.

Focal Points:

  • North Shore
  • Richmonds
  • Western Suburbs

 T2 : Inner West and Leppington Line Edit

About Edit

Services on the Inner West & Leppington Line commence by taking the City Circle (generally in an anti-clockwise direction) and then the Main Suburban railway line, on the local pair of tracks. At Homebush, trains can either terminate or merge onto the suburban pair of tracks. At Granville, trains can take the Main Western line a short distance to Parramatta or the Old Main South railway line to a junction north of Cabramatta, then continuing onto the Main South railway line as far as Glenfield. At a junction south of Glenfield, services switch to the South West Rail Link to reach the terminus at Leppington.

Additionally, services to Parramatta and Harris Park only operate on weekends. If you want to use the T2 line on a weekend, take the T5 line to Granville and change trains.

History Edit

Following the 2011 state election, the newly-elected O'Farrell government embarked on reform of transport in New South Wales, and created a new organisation, Transport for NSW, in November of that year. This was followed up with another government reform, which saw Sydney Trains take over operation of the Sydney suburban rail network from CityRail in July 2013.

Transport for NSW developed a new rail timetable and branding, which was put into effect on 20 October 2013. This saw three of CityRail's lines - the Airport & East Hills Line (Macarthur - City via Sydney Airport or Sydenham), the Inner West Line (Liverpool or Bankstown - City via Regents Park) and the South Line (Campbelltown - City via Granville) - merged to form the Airport, Inner West & South Line. A new numbering system was also introduced and the new line was given the number T2. The 2013 timetable was designed to integrate the projects of the Rail Clearways Program, a 2004 plan to divide the network's fourteen metropolitan rail lines into five independent "clearways" by installing extra tracks, passing loops, turnouts and turnbacks at pinch points around the network. By 2013, the Rail Clearways Program was substantially complete. At the same time, the delivery of 78 new Waratah trains was almost complete as well.

A new Sydney Trains timetable was introduced on 26 November 2017. The former T2 line was split in two. The new T2 consists of services from Leppington to the city via Granville, with a branch to Parramatta being added. A new T8 line provides services from Macarthur to the city via Sydney Airport or Sydenham. The new T2 is coloured light blue - a similar colour to CityRail's South Line. The T8 inherited the green line colour from the old T2, which was itself derived from the colour of CityRail's Airport & East Hills Line.

T5 services were modified to no longer travel to and from Campbelltown, instead starting and terminating at Leppington. These changes mean the section of the network between Glenfield and Macarthur is served exclusively by services operating via the East Hills railway line.

Timetable Edit

Focal Points:

  • Inner West
  • Leppington
  • City

 T3 : Bankstown Line Edit

Focal Points:

  • Liverpool
  • Lidcombe
  • City

 T4 : Inner West and Illawarra Line Edit

Focal Points:

  • Eastern Suburbs
  • Illawarra
  • Cronulla

 T5 : Cumberland Line Edit

Focal Points:

  • Leppington
  • Richmond

 T7 : Olympic Park Line Edit

Focal Points:

  • Lidcombe
  • Sydney Olympic Park

 T8 : Airport and South Line Edit

Focal Points:

  • Airport
  • South-West/South Suburbs
  • City

 T9 : Northern Line Edit

Focal Points:

  • Gordon
  • Northern Suburbs

Ferry Edit

 F1 : Manly Edit

From: Circular Quay

To: Manly

About Edit

The most used ferry service in Sydney. A bike-friendly ferry and is a lot faster than going from Circular Quay to Manly by car. Mostly double decker ferries operate across this route unless in rare cases. It does get very crowded and a ferry only comes every 12 minutes peak hour time. Please note, the F1 ferry doesn't operate between 0100 and 0600.

It's also good to note that the Manly Fast Ferry (MFF) is different to the F1 line but have a similar history and the same stops: Manly and Circular Quay.

History Edit

In 1853, Henry Gilbert Smith chartered the wooden paddle wheeler Brothers to bring people to the Manly area and thus boost the value of the subdivision of his land holdings near the Corso. The Manly area with its beaches and bays became a popular weekend destination and more ferries were chartered including by a local hotel owner. By 1855, the paddle steamer Emu (I) provided two daily weekday trips. Emu was followed by Black Swan and Pelican.

In the mid 1960s hydrofoil services were introduced to complement the traditional ferries. They halved the travel time of the ferries but had significantly higher fares. The hydrofoils were replaced in 1990 by Jetcats, however, these proved unreliable and expensive and were replaced by the current Manly fast ferry service. The Sydney JetCats high speed service, was discontinued on 31 December 2008 and replaced with a privately owned service operated by Manly Fast Ferries. In March 2010, the government announced that that Manly Fast Ferries contract had not been renewed. Instead another private operator, Sydney Fast Ferries, was awarded a five-year contract from 1 April 2010. However both operators continued to operate services between Circular Quay and Manly. During 2014 Transport for NSW put out a tender for a combined service to commence during 2015 with Bass & Flinders Cruises, SeaLink Travel Group, Sydney Fast Ferries and Transit Systems responding. On 13 December 2014, it was announced that Manly Fast Ferries had won back the rights to operate the service, with a new contract which commenced on 1 April 2015.

In 2013, the Manly Ferry was given the designation F1 as part of a program to number all lines of the Sydney Ferries, Sydney Trains and Light rail networks.

Timetable Edit

A copy of the timetable can be accessed here[dead link]

 F2 : Taronga Zoo Edit

From: Circular Quay

To: Taronga Zoo

Ferry information Edit

This is the most efficient way to access Taronga Zoo. Travel times are better than travelling by car and additionally, wheelchair access is on both Circular Quay and Taronga. Bikes are also permitted on this ferry and some ferries are double decker.

History Edit
Timetable Edit

A copy of the ferry timetable can be accessed here[dead link]

 F3 : Parramatta River Edit

From: Circular Quay

To: Parramatta (Rydalmere for now)

Ferry information Edit

Due to floods in early 2021, Parramatta wharf is closed. To go to Parramatta wharf, you'll need to temporarily take the 60F3 line.

As the second most used ferry, you'd expect it to be a nice ferry, like the F1 Manly Ferry? Wrong, this is probably the smallest ferry and the most compact ferry. Firstly, there's only one floor so the same number of people who use the other ferries would have to fit in this same small compact space. And on two of the new ferries, there's no outdoor areas where you can stand. Bikes can only be taken on the ferries with an outside patio.

History Edit
Timetable Edit

 F4 : Pyrmont Bay Edit

From: Circular Quay

To: Circular Quay

 F5 : Neutral Bay Edit

From: Circular Quay

To: Neutral Bay

 F6 : Mosman Bay Edit

From: Circular Quay

To: Mosman Bay

Timetable Edit

A copy of the timetable can be accessed here[dead link]

 F7 : Double Bay Edit

From: Circular Quay

To: Double Bay

 F8 : Cockatoo Island Edit

From: Circular Quay

To: Cockatoo Island

Ferry information Edit

The F8 ferry is just a quicker way of getting to Cockatoo Island without having to go on the slower F3 line.

 F9 : Watsons Bay Edit

From: Circular Quay

To: Watsons Bay

Ferry information Edit

The route is bike friendly and is also double decker with a bay at the front. However, at Watsons Bay, the wharf is not wheelchair accessible and staff will not be able to assist you there. This is not the case for Rose Bay though.

History Edit

The F9 service began operation on 25 October 2020 and replaced the eastern half of the F4 Cross Harbour service following community consultation jointly held by the ferry operator Transdev Sydney Ferries and TfNSW in 2019–2020, the F4 route was divided into F4 Pyrmont Bay and F9 Watsons Bay services on 25 October 2020.

Timetable Edit

A copy of the timetable can be accessed here[dead link]

Ferry Wharves Edit

Ferry Wharf Ferry Lines Wheelchair accessible Connecting transport
1 Abbotsford  F3  Yes  
2 Balmain    Yes  
3 Balmain East    Yes  
4 Barangaroo    Yes  
5 Birchgrove   No  
6 Cabarita  F3  Yes  
7 Chiswick  F3  Yes  
8 Circular Quay           Yes       
9 Cockatoo Island    Yes  
10 Cremorne Point   Yes  
11 Darling Point   No  
12 Double Bay   No  
13 Drummoyne  F3  Yes  
14 Garden Island   Yes  
15 Greenwich Point   No  
16 Huntleys Point  F3  Yes  
17 Kirribilli  F5  No  
18 Kissing Point  F3  Yes
19 Kurraba Point  F5  No
20 Manly  F1  MFF Yes  
21 McMahons Point  F3  F4  Yes  
22 Meadowbank  F3  Yes   
23 Milsons Point  F3  F4  Yes    
24 Mosman Bay  F6  Yes  
25 Neutral Bay  F5  Yes  
26 North Sydney  F5  No    
27 Old Cremorne  F6  No  
28 Parramatta  F3  Yes      
29 Pyrmont Bay  F4  Yes    
30 Rose Bay  F9  Yes  
31 Rydalmere  F3  Yes  
32 South Mosman  F6  No  
33 Sydney Olympic Park  F3  Yes   
34 Taronga Zoo  F2  Yes  
35 Watsons Bay  F9  No  
36 Woolwich  F8  Yes  

Light Rail Edit

 L1 : Dulwich Hill Line Edit

Focal Points:

  • Dulwich Hill
  • Central
A light rail at Newcastle Beach station

 L2 : Randwick Line Edit

Focal Points:

  • Circular Quay
  • Randwick

 L3 : Kingsford Line Edit

Focal Points:

  • Circular Quay
  • Junior Kingsford

NLR: Newcastle Line Edit

Light Rail/Tram stops Edit

Tram Stop Tram Lines Connecting transport Notes
Bridge Street   
Capitol Square  
Central     You'll need to walk 110m from Grand Concourse (L1) to Chalmers Street (L2/3)
Circular Quay                 
Civic NLR
Crown Street NLR
Dulwich Grove  
Dulwich Hill  
ES Marks   
Exhibition Centre  
Fish Market  
John Street Square  
Jubilee Park  
1 Juniors Kingsford  
2 Kingsford  
Leichhardt North  
Lewisham West  
Moore Park  
Newcastle Beach NLR
Newcastle Interchange NLR
Paddys Markets  
Pyrmont Bay  
Queens Wharf NLR
Royal Randwick  
Surry Hills   
Taveners Hill  
Town Hall   
UNSW Anzac Parade  
Wansey Road  
Waratah Mills  
  • NLR = Newcastle Light Rail

Metro Edit

 : Northwestern Metro Line (Tallawong to Chatswood)

Metro Stations Edit

Station name Metro Line Connections Other information
Bella Vista North West B
Castle Hill North West B
Chatswood North West B, T9, T1
Cherrybrook North West B
Epping North West B, T9
Hills Showground North West B
Kellyville North West B
Macquarie Park North West B
Macquarie Uni North West B
North Ryde North West B
Norwest North West B
Rouse Hill North West B
Tallawong North West B

Coach Edit

Respect Edit

Throughout Australia, including in Sydney, public transit norms (often formally codified) encourage younger and healthy people to give up seats to elderly, pregnant, or disabled riders. If you're in good physical health and sharing a crowded bus or train with such a person forced to stand, it's good manners to let them take your seat, particularly if you're sitting close to the exits. If you're such a person yourself, whether to request a seat from a sitting person is a matter for you to consider; keep in mind many disabilities are invisible and a young, apparently healthy looking person might have mobility problems themselves.

Additionally, it is also a disrespect to blast loud music on public transport as well as putting your feet on the seats. If you want to listen to music, plug your headphones in, otherwise, don't blast your music. While swearing and adding a few extra f bombs into sentences is a norm in Australia, it is disrespectful to swear on public transport unless you want others to be xenophobic towards you.

Avoid Edit

It's best to not bring pets on public transport unless they're a guide or a TSA dog. Otherwise, it's considered disrespectful. In some cases, pets may be banned from the service (e.g bus or train).

Resources Edit

Other Edit

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