Skip to main content

Visitor economy customer outcomes

Customer Outcome 1: Enhancing the Visitor Experience

The transport needs of visitors and people who work in tourism differ from weekday commuters.

To create a world class travel experience for visitors, we need to consider the needs of customers who may be unfamiliar with the transport system and may be travelling at different times. Meeting the transport needs of customers visiting our cities and regions means ensuring services are accessible, comfortable, easy to use and suitable for people travelling in groups, with disabilities, carrying luggage and travelling outside of peak hours and on weekends to popular visitor destinations.

When our customers visit NSW they experience our transport system at each stage of their journey. This includes planning their journey; travelling to and from their destination; experiencing the destination; and sharing their journey with others. We can enhance the end-to-end visitor experience for visitors and enable visitors to move around the network seamlessly and enjoy transport connections to attractions and visitor precincts by:

  • Improving the transport information available to visitors when they are planning their visit
  • Improving access and travel for visitors, including people with disabilities, arriving and departing their NSW destination
  • Creating places and experiences for visitors at their destination
  • Providing opportunities for visitors to share their experience during and after their trip with WiFi access at key interchanges and on public transport and other ways to share their transport journeys on social media.


"Connected, integrated and active cities and regions are key to improving liveability for residents and creating destinations that are attractive to visitors" – Tourism and Transport Forum, 2017

Helping people plan their visit

Our customers tell us that clear and effective communication of road conditions, timetable and service disruption information is very important. To continually improve our performance in this area we are implementing a range of initiatives designed to make it easier for customers to access the information they need, wherever they are, and whenever they need it.


Visitor information and regional promotion

Information about transport services presents opportunities to promote regional destinations.

Personalising transport services to cater for the needs of our visitors means providing service planning information and wayfinding signage in accessible formats that can be easily
understood or translated using new mobile technology for people whose first language is not English, and helpful advice for making connections easier and journeys more enjoyable.

The widespread use of smart phone technologies to plan, book and pay for transport services will be enhanced by new apps that provide real time alerts on service changes. Videos demonstrating how to use these apps and the travel planning toolkit are available on the website in a range of languages.

The Transport for NSW travel planning website is one of the most visited websites in Australia. The site includes information on all regional services and promotes events and destinations within NSW with packages that include travel as part of entry fees for many major events.

Promoting the ‘Next trip’ on board

Planning the next visit in NSW can start on board a public transport service. Transport for NSW has partnered with Destination NSW to promote regional events and destinations on board our trains, ferries and bus services and at transport interchanges.

We could extend this partnership in promotion of regional destinations and events by considering the potential for a regular digital or printed “on-board magazine” to promote destinations, events and experiences, similar to those available on international and domestic flights.


Planning a journey on Regional roads

Self-drive tourism is a popular way for visitors to see NSW. Visitors often do not realise the distances involved in travelling between regional destinations when they first start planning their trip. As visitors are planning more of their journeys online, we are adapting the channels through which we provide information to make it more relevant and available to visitors.

Roads and Maritime Services has collaborated with Destination NSW to establish a series of drives and road trips on the website with information and promotion to help visitors plan their trips. Complementing this is an online rest areas and Driver Reviver interactive map on the Roads and Maritime website to help visitors plan for rest stops along the way. The map works across all devices – mobile, tablet and desktop. It can be used to find the nearest rest area or Driver Reviver location during holiday periods, or to find a rest area with specific amenities on a route.

To progress the commitment made in the Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan 20307 , Roads and Maritime Services will collaborate with Destination NSW to prepare a tourist drive strategy and supporting marketing campaign to increase regional overnight visitors and expenditure and encourage regional dispersal.



Visitor information and regional promotion initiatives

  0-10 years committed 0-10 years for investigation
Partner with Destination NSW, Destination Networks and local tourism operators to promote NSW TrainLink destinations and special services  to events. This includes partnerships with regional councils/local tourism organisations; promoting regional travel to major events; event posters at train stations; promoting services on visitor maps and online events calendars -  
Campaign to advertise self-service bookings for regional services -  
Visitor information centres in key locations, website and apps to provide broader integrated information with transport and other attractions for visitors   -
Increased marketing of transport information services and website for visitors   -
Facilitate the development of new smart phone apps that provide a single point of information and allow visitors to purchase products that bundle travel with cultural activities and visitor attractions   -
Consider the potential for a regular digital or printed “on-board magazine” to promote destinations, events and experiences, similar to those available on international and domestic flights   -



Improving travel experiences to and from destinations

We continuously strive to make travel experiences better for visitors to NSW. We regularly receive and act on feedback from customers using our system. Visitors provide us with valuable feedback about what matters most to them, including the comfort of our services, timeliness, safety and security, and convenience. We can improve the travel experience for visitors travelling to and from their destination by improving ticketing, wayfinding and in-vehicle experience.



New contactless payments and ticketing options will make using public transport easier for visitors.

The number of active Opal cards has remained relatively stable since 2015 but the number of cards issued continues to rise. By December 2016, more than 11 million cards had been issued, suggesting many cards are being purchased for use by visitors during their stay.

We have a holistic approach to improving Opal for visitors that includes improvements to technology and infrastructure, on-mode communications, marketing, wayfinding, and
communication and training of staff. As we move to new payment and ticketing models, we can continue to update and improve the ticketing information we provide to visitors arriving in NSW including at key entry points like airports, cruise terminals and major transport interchanges.


Opal contactless payments trial

Transport for NSW is planning to roll out integrated ticketing across regional NSW so locals and regional visitors have the same convenient experience across the State. Looking further ahead our vision is for a seamless customer experience across modes and borders by 2056. This will mean multiple tickets and different concession entitlements will be a thing of the past.

Currently we are trialling new ways customers can pay for their travel such as contactless payments on Sydney Ferries and light rail. These payment systems are already available in places like London, while Singapore is due to roll out contactless payments via wearable technology such as smart watches.

Customers can now use their payment card or mobile device linked to a contactless payment account to pay for an adult single trip on the light rail and Sydney Ferries networks. Customers can tap on and tap off at an Opal card reader to pay their fare using most American Express, Mastercard and Visa cards, plus mobile wallets on smartphones, tablets and watches.

The trial includes services that run to 57 locations across Sydney, including popular visitor destinations like Manly, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo, the International Convention Centre, The Star Sydney and Sydney Fish Markets. This reduces barriers for visitors catching public transport during their stay by reducing the need to buy an Opal card for trips on these services.



New technologies make wayfinding easier anywhere, anytime.

Finding your way around Sydney or regional NSW has never been easier with multiple smart phone apps for navigating the system. Transport for NSW has been collaborating with app developers over the past five years to produce a range of trip planning and wayfinding apps. We supply real-time data to apps with over five million unique customer downloads. The Transport for NSW Open Data Hub makes these datasets, along with other transport data, more broadly available.

Visitors can use these technologies to find their way on the system and locate connecting services. These technologies are enabled by smart device charging points and WiFi at major interchanges and on services.


Regional booking services initiatives

  0-10 years committed 0-10 years for investigation
NSW TrainLink Discovery pass - Multi-day regional rail and coach tickets -  
Rail and coach tickets available at physical sales agents across NSW, QLD, VIC and SA and on the NSW TrainLink website -  
Package regional rail and coach tickets with car hire and car share   -
Partnerships with selected industry inbound tour operators and Accredited Visitor Information Centre network   -
A booking platform that allows third party online booking agents to sell rail and coach tickets alongside airline bookings   -
Online booking service for customers with special needs on regional trains and coaches   -
Market/promote trip plans for top 10 visitor attractions   -


Personised digital transport assistant

Transport for NSW is developing a ‘Chat Bot’ called RITA (Real-time Intelligent Transport Assistant) which uses artificial intelligence technology to provide customers with personalised end-to-end travel assistance in NSW.

RITA can currently:

  • answer over 300 frequently asked questions including 40 that cover regional NSW
  • provide trip planning advice with geolocation
  • give personalised disruption notifications, and
  • accept customer feedback without the need to fill in complex forms.

Transport is working towards RITA having the ability to top up Opal tickets and request fare adjustments. Future improvements will allow RITA to incorporate ‘micro content’ messaging such as driver safety, driver reviver or providing information about destinations along the way while travelling.

RITA is available on the flagship website; Facebook Messenger NSW Public Transport handle; and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice activated digital assistants with potential to extend to other channels including Apple Siri and Mobile Applications such as Opal Travel.

A new signage system introduced in 2013 has made it easier for public transport customers to navigate their journeys and change between modes. The system, which is based on international best practice, reduces clutter for customers when they enter busy transport locations and provides uniform codes and colours to enable easier navigation. It is now well established across all modes. Transport for NSW is continually improving the use of digital information at stops and interchanges.

There is a growing number of international visitors to NSW who do not speak English as their first language. As international visitor markets change, so do the main languages spoken by visitors. We invest in fixed wayfinding signage on our system, to last decades. It is difficult to anticipate and provide for the changing language needs of visitors with fixed signage. For example, 20 years ago Japanese was the most commonly spoken language at many visitor destinations. China has recently become the origin of most international visitors to NSW. A solution is to provide simplified language on fixed signage and public address announcements while developing more tailored and flexible digital wayfinding products. Additionally, technologies like Google translate are making it easier to translate signs and information on the go.

Digital wayfinding kiosk

Transport for NSW trialled a touch-screen interactive kiosk at Circular Quayto answer simple public transport questions in five languages. A digital platform such as this has the potential to provide multi-lingual assistance and overcome a potential barrier to overseas visitors confidently using public transport.
Road signposting to visitor destinations is also due to be improved with implementation of  the Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan 2030, which outlines actions for Roads and Maritime Services and Destination NSW to work together to streamline the signposting application process to enhance tourist drive signposting in regional NSW8.


Experiencing transport hubs

Our transport hubs operate as gateways for visitors using our transport system. We are investing in our transport interchanges to improve the experience for all of our customers including visitors. Careful attention is being paid to enhance visitor experiences at key destinations such as Circular Quay and Central Station through the establishment of customer focused design principles.


Establishing customer focused design principles for Circular Quay and Central Station

Transport for NSW is taking a customer-led approach to the renewal of the Circular Quay and Central Station precincts. Extensive customer research has been the key driver in the development of design principles that encompass customer needs  and aspirations for the precincts. These design principles will form a key part of the brief provided to future developers of these precincts and will be used by Transport for NSW to assess whether customer needs have been met in the new designs. Our transport hubs need to address multiple, and sometimes conflicting, customer needs. For example, regular commuters and infrequent or first time visitors need different wayfinding assistance. The new design principles make the desired customer outcomes clear for all involved in the renewal of these iconic transport hubs.

In-vehicle experiences

Clearer and friendlier announcements on board our services are improving the in-vehicle experience for customers.

More air conditioned trains are being rolled out across the suburban train network with a further 24 being delivered under the More Trains, More Services program by 2019. These trains will improve customer comfort and accessibility with features that include:

  • Improved air conditioning with advanced temperature control
  • Improved accessibility including priority seating, wheelchair spaces and hearing loops
  • High definition customer information screens to provide journey and safety information
  • Improved interior LED lighting.


New intercity and regional trains

More than 500 new intercity train carriages will replace our older train carriages on services from Sydney to Canberra, Sydney to the Central Coast, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. The first of the 500 New Intercity Fleet (NIF) carriages are to be delivered in 2019.

In addition to the NIF, the entire regional train fleet will be replaced to deliver unprecedented levels of comfort and service for regional rail customers. This includes 60 XPT passenger cars, 23 XPLORER and 28 Endeavour passenger cars for services between Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and major NSW regional centres. The new trains will come into service progressively, with the first trains anticipated to be delivered in the early 2020s.

A new train could provide lots of benefits, such as:

  • Safe, reliable, comfortable and accessible regional trains
  • Ability to leverage innovative technologies for customers and fleet operations
  • A more reliable service for customers travelling long distances
  • Compliance with disability access requirements
  • Opportunities for new servicing patterns for regional cities and centres, including day return travel to support a hub and spoke model
  • Stimulation of the regional economy and provision of long term, sustainable jobs including traineeships and apprenticeships to assist with the maintenance of these new trains in regional NSW.


Ticketing initiatives

  0-10 years committed 0-10 years for investigation
Ticketing information for visitors on the website -  
Roll out contactless payment technology across the Opal network   -
Expand contactless payment technology to more destinations across NSW   -
Opal top up machines in main languages of visitors   -
Extend Opal ticketing to more regional destinations and other private operators, such as private ferries   -
Self-service ticket terminals for regional services at Central Station   -


Wayfinding initiatives

  0-10 years committed 0-10 years for investigation
Simplify language and communication on board and within our wayfinding system -  
Trip planning apps and real time information made available -  
Rolling out consistent wayfinding across the network including regional destinations and a public transport wayfinding ‘toolkit’ for place managers to adopt -  
Large internal electronic screens on new intercity trains and future new regional trains -  
Enhanced automated announcements on new trains -  
Roll out of customer information/help points and CCTV at all regional locations -  
Develop a card/brochure that translates wayfinding information into top three languages of visitors   -
Multi-lingual digital wayfinding assistance at key visitor locations   -
Work with Destination NSW to incorporate local destination information into digital wayfinding products   -
Promote public transport through wayfinding at key international gateways   -
App to show availability of seating and crowding levels   -
Improve wayfinding within stations   -
Increase numbers of station passenger information screens at regional locations   -


In-vehicle experiences initiatives

  0-10 years committed 0-10 years for investigation
Simplify language and communication on board and within our wayfinding system -  
Trip planning apps and real time information made available -  


Experiencing destinations

Transport plays a significant role in a visitor’s experience of destinations across NSW. Much of the public space at destinations is used for transport, which can either enhance or detract from the experience. The accessibility of a place helps to make it successful.

Creating places

The Future Transport 2056 Service and Infrastructure Plans establish a ‘movement and place’ framework to manage and plan our road network in NSW. There is now recognition of the important role our roads play in creating successful public places.

There are some great examples of places we have created on our streets that have become go-to places for visitors. The vibrant main streets in regional centres like Armidale, Tamworth and Maitland are attractions for visitors in their own right. The Newcastle, Sydney and Parramatta city centres are undergoing revitalisation with light rail and streetscape improvements, making them even more attractive for visitors. The development of Place Plans in collaboration with stakeholders will ensure transport investment improves their design and function.Transport for NSW is using its assets to connect people to places and point the way to visitor destinations in places that are accessible by public transport.

“If it’s a great place to live, it’s a great place to visit.” – Tourism and Transport Forum, 2017

Showing how to get to destinations from Transport interchanges

Transport for NSW has worked with agencies such as Destination NSW and Central Coast Council to develop information that helps people navigate their way to common destinations from key train stations and other public transport hubs.


Facilitating Accessible Tourism

Accessible tourism in NSW is valued at around $8 billion per year and is growing. Twenty percent of the population have a disability and of these people, 88 percent take a holiday each year.

Around one third (29 percent) of visitors to Sydney are aged 55 years and over, and closer to two thirds travel in groups of two or more people. These volumes add to the importance of ensuring services are flexible and fully accessible. The proportion of older people and people travelling in groups is even higher in regional NSW.

The Transport cluster of agencies has an important role to play in facilitating accessible tourism. This includes the way information, services and assets are designed for people of all abilities to access. The Transport cluster will continue this work including through sensitive upgrades to heritage listed train stations and transport infrastructure.

Accessible tourism will be a focus of the state-wide Destination Management Plan.

“Visitors with disabilities are usually accompanied by carers, friends and family, which makes inclusive tourism a huge section of the travel market.” - Local Government NSW President Councillor Keith Rhoades


Transport Access Program

The Transport Access Program is an initiative to provide a better experience for public transport customers by delivering accessible, modern, secure and integrated transport infrastructure across NSW.

The program is providing:

  • Stations that are accessible to people with luggage, a disability, limited mobility and parents with prams
  • Modern buildings and facilities for all modes that meet the needs of a growing population
  • Modern interchanges that support an integrated network and allow seamless transfers between all modes for all customers.

Since its launch in 2011, this Government has invested more than $1 billion  in the Transport Access Program. This has delivered accessibility upgrades at an extra 45 stations and 15 ferry wharves improving our compliance with disability access standards.


Customer service on visitor routes

Customer satisfaction on trains, ferries and light rail are at record levels thanks to a significant focus on customer service.

We are improving accessibility to information at key visitor hubs across the public transport network. Staff training, friendly announcements and responding to customer feedback have all helped to improve customer service for visitors. Recent upgrades to the Transport Customer Service Centres at Circular Quay and Central Station have improved the visitor experience at these key visitor gateways to our public transport network. Emerging augmented reality technology will give customers more tailored information anywhere they travel on our road or public transport networks.

There is more we can do to improve amenities and services at prime visitor locations as we progressively upgrade our transport interchanges. New regional and intercity trains will provide improved amenity for visitors travelling to regional areas, enabling a new level of service for these customers.

Creating places initiatives

  0-10 years committed 0-10 years for investigation
Ensure the design and function of transport investments improve places -  
Develop place-based transport plans   -


Facilitating Accessible Tourism initiative

  0-10 years committed 0-10 years for investigation
Transport Access Program -  
Improve amenities on regional trains (on-board and at stations) Allow space for a supplier to offer mobility scooter hire at Central Station for Accessible Tourism   -
Include adult change toilets at Circular Quay and Central Station to enable Accessible Tourism   -


Customer Service on Visitor Routes initiatives

  0-10 years committed 0-10 years for investigation
Sydney Ferries operator offers a cafe on the Circular Quay to Manly ferry -  
Improved amenities and services at prime visitor locations with Integrated and coordinated multi-modal interchanges   -
Improve amenities on regional trains (on-board and at stations)   -



Sharing the journey

Sharing the journey with friends and family is the final part of the visitor experience and is key to supporting the visitor economy. Transport can provide opportunities for visitors to share their experiences during and after their trips.


Making transport moments shareable

Great customer service makes transport experiences memorable. We want to create moments for visitors that will be shared with friends and family back home and on social media. Transport in NSW can be something that is talked about positively around the world.

Everyday visitors interact with Transport staff. Announcements on trains, coaches and buses or a friendly smile from interchange staff can all help to create a shareable moment. Staff can have fun personalising these interactions with helpful, informative and interesting advice to visitors.

Smart device charging points and WiFi availability in vehicles and at interchanges make it possible for visitors to share these moments instantly with their friends and family back home. Already visitors can access charging points at Central Station and on ferries. Visitors are sharing their journey on social media with WiFi available on Sydney Ferries, at Central Station and Circular Quay and being rolled out on select bus routes. New intercity and regional trains will also feature charging points.


Customer feedback

Every piece of feedback gives us a unique insight into the way our customers view our services. Our Transport operators work hard to get the essentials of their service right every day. However, we recognise that sometimes things go wrong. When that happens we want to hear about it and we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to contact us and let us know.

To gain an insight into what our customers’ value, we have developed a Customer Satisfaction Index. This reflects the voices of over 17,000 customers. In listening to their feedback, we have achieved an average nine per cent annual increase in customer satisfaction with buses and trains.

Service innovation has played a key role in increasing customer satisfaction. The introduction of the Opal card significantly improved satisfaction levels by enabling greater convenience and ease of connection between modes. However, customers tell us that barriers to using public transport still exist in the areas of availability, frequency, reliability and areas serviced.

In the not too distant future, our smart phones will be the gateway for each journey and will enable transport providers to communicate directly with customers. These emerging technologies will better enable Transport for NSW to receive feedback in a greater number of ways. This information will enable service providers to know customer preferences and tailor service offerings in real time.

Sharing the Journey initiatives

  0-10 years committed 0-10 years for investigation
Phone charging stations on a number of Sydney Ferries vessels, including the Freshwater Class, which operates between Circular Quay and Manly -  
Integration of visitor and transport information centres and visitor ticketing at prime visitor locations i.e. Circular Quay   -
Extend WiFi access across the public transport network   -

Six principles for Future Transport

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy is focused on six key principles for the future of mobility in the state, which together aim to positively impact the economy, communities and environment of NSW.

Read more