Sydney is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful cities and a great place to live, but the city lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Whether you already live outside of Sydney or are considering making the move, here’s what to expect if you need to commute into Sydney for work.
Commuting to Sydney from popular satellite towns
There are some truly gorgeous properties on the outskirts of Sydney, so if you are considering moving outside of Sydney while still working in the CBD, choosing the right place to live can make a huge difference in your commuting times. Some towns and areas are much better connected to Sydney than others.
If you are planning on catching public transport, look for areas that have a train station with regular train services, including Penrith, Gosford, Newcastle and the stunning Blue Mountains region. The Northern Beaches are also a popular choice for those looking for a relaxed beach lifestyle that isn’t too far from central Sydney.
Driving into Sydney
Sydney is just like any other large city – peak hour traffic is incredibly hectic. Unless you are willing to get into the CBD very early, it will generally take you much longer to get there than if you were to take public transport.
Petrol costs in Sydney, however, are lower than in many parts of the world but do fluctuate regularly – though around 150 cents per litre is a very general average to expect.
Parking in Sydney
Parking in Sydney is notoriously expensive. If your workplace does not offer free or subsidised parking you could be looking at up to $50 per day to park in the public car parks. You can get annual or shorter term discounts if you pay in advance, but these will depend on where you want to park your car.
Some apartment building and home owners who don’t have cars will rent out their car spaces to commuters at relatively reasonable prices. You will typically rent the space for a year. You can find ads for these on Gumtree.com.au and ads in local newspapers.
The further outside of the CBD you go, the cheaper parking gets so you might get lucky if you’re in a less built-up area.
Public Transport into Sydney
Public transport is reliable and fast in Sydney. Of course it gets crowded during peak hours, but you do avoid traffic and can generally get into the CBD much faster than by car, if you leave and work close to a train station or bus stop.
The cost of a daily train ticket varies depending on where you are coming from, but as an example, a weekly ticket from Penrith to Sydney (approximately a 45 minute journey) costs $52; a yearly ticket will cost $2,080 (as of January 2014).
Not all areas are within easy access of a train station, but the bus system covers almost all parts of greater Sydney. Some parts of central Sydney have bus lanes, which makes travel much faster but you might find that a bus takes just as long as driving. It is worth doing a trial trip to see just how long it will take.
Commuting by Ferry
Sydney is one of few cities in the world where you can commute by ferry to work. The extensive network of ferries in and around Sydney is often the fastest and most affordable option for getting into the city for many people.
Unfortunately there are few ferry services from towns outside of Sydney’s suburbs. Popular ferry services include those from Manly and Parramatta. You might find however that you can incorporate a ferry journey into your trip by driving part of the journey (such as to Parramatta) and then getting a ferry for the rest of the trip.
Sydney Commute Times
Here is a general guide to travel times into Sydney during peak hour from major commuter towns:
Public transport: 2.5-3 hours
Car: 3 hours
Public transport: 1.5 hours
Car: 1.5 hours
Public transport: 1 hour (express train)
Car: 1.5-2 hours
About the Author: Johnny Peters is a native Londoner who has worked as a designer in over seven countries, but now calls Australia his home. He is currently working on a book, and spends time in between cycling along the coast and volunteering for education and environment charities.