Ticket-sellers are being removed from Sydney train stations where commuters can use the Opal public transport smartcard.
On the same day that the auditor-general revealed a further spike in complaints about Sydney’s rail system, unions and rail workers were told about the latest cuts to take place on the train system.
The changes include the expected loss of more than 60 ticket sellers, starting at stations in inner Sydney that already offer use of Opal card.
In addition, more than 20 station staff responsible for electrical maintenance were told on Monday their positions would be outsourced, the Electrical Trades Union said.
Also on Monday, auditor-general Grant Hehir’s report to Parliament showed a 7 per cent spike in the number of complaints about the train system in the year to the end of June.
‘‘The governments come to power making all sorts of promises, but all they’ve really done is spent a lot of money on rebranding and putting people in new uniforms and cutting jobs left right and centre,’’ the NSW branch secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Alex Claassens, said.
The union was told that about 70 people in Sydney Trains’ information and ‘‘customer environment’’ branch would either lose or have to reapply for their jobs.
And a station staffing review proposes to abolish 62 ticket-selling positions. The review would start at stations in the City Circle, on the Eastern Suburbs line and on the North Shore line to Chatswood, where commuters can already use Opal cards.
As well, 21 electrical maintenance workers were told their jobs would be outsourced, the ETU said.
‘‘This restructure has the potential to seriously impact on rail customers,’’ NSW Secretary of the ETU Steve Butler said. Despite the cutting, Mr Hehir’s report showed that the share of public transport funded by the taxpayer has continued to climb.
Providing bus, train and ferry services cost taxpayers $12.9 million a day in 2012-13, up from about $12 million a day the year before. The largest share of this was the rail system, which costs about $9.1 million a day.
The report says the Opal ticketing project, which last week was extended to the 333 bus in the eastern suburbs, is running on schedule. The Opal ticketing card should be across all forms of public transport in Sydney by early 2015.
But the report also highlights how long-term ticket buyers could be paying more to use the Opal card. People who buy monthly or yearly MyTrain tickets could pay about 30 per cent more if they switch to the Opal card.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian pointed to the fact that on-time running had increased in the past year against the year before that.
“I welcome the auditor-general’s report, as it shows that the major reforms we undertook since coming to government are not only necessary but they are already working,’’ the minister said.
On the job cuts, Ms Berejiklian said: “These are proposals, and today was the start of consultation with staff and unions.”
“New technology will mean customers won’t have to every queue to buy a ticket again, so naturally there could be some reduction in the need for staff at some ticket windows down the track,’’ she said.
Labor transport spokeswoman Penny Sharpe said: ‘‘This is a broken commitment to maintain frontline staffing at stations. Staff that work on stations are not just ticket-sellers, they’re customer service staff who assist commuters.’’