With Opal's electronic ticketing system solidly in place and paper tickets a thing of the past — not to mention the rise of alternative bank card and smart tech payment methods — you may have noticed quite a few of Sydney's ticketing offices closed for business. To be exact, 300 have closed across the city's train stations since the introduction of Opal in 2014.
Now, some of these redundant spaces will be given a new purpose, with The Sydney Morning Herald reporting that Sydney Trains has released plans to turn 30 of these offices over to retailers by November. The locations chosen are both regional and metropolitan, and specifically include closed offices at Central Station and Martin Place. The repurposed retail spaces boast central positions within each station and are up to 135-square-metres in size.
Sydney Trains recently presented this opportunity to potential lessees, stating that the introduction of Opal had "streamlined operational and staffing requirements" and resulted in "the creation of new retail opportunities". In the nearly two years since transport officials ended the sale of paper tickets, the Sydney Trains Annual Report 2016/17 shows that station staff numbers have fallen from 1918 employees in the 2013–14 financial year to 1408 in 2016–17.
Apparently, all revenue from the retailers will be invested back into network operations, which a Sydney Trains spokesman said will potentially ease taxpayer subsidies. No information on lessees has been provided just yet — we can only hope it won't just be another 30 City Convenience and 7/11 outlets.