People just don't realise the benefit of having fixed seating but having it of a better quality than the reversibles.
There is a reason why reversible seating is so rare elsewhere in the world, Sydney isn't forward thinking, its stuck in the 1950's.
Its like having a office desk chair vs a sofa. While you may be able to swivel around in a desk chair, I would much rather sit in a sofa for 2 hours.
Consider a couple of points. First, you don't see a great demand for seats in cars, buses and planes to be facing backwards - in fact none at all, although buses have to have a few because of wheel arches etc, but in the minority. Second, even in those places around the world with trains and trams with seats facing both ways, I have invariably observed that when the train or tram fills at the terminus, people invariably go for the forward-facing seats first and only when these are filled do they occupy the rear-facing.
Rather than actively liking facing the rear, people tend to accept it philosophically when there's no alternative. It's human nature. There may be the odd person who actively likes travelling backwards in a moving vehicle as first choice, but they would probably be considered biological freaks.
So really, you get the seats to face forward if you possibly can but unfortunately in many vehicles, particularly double-ended ones, there's not much choice other than to face as many as half the seats backwards.
The traditional solution was the flip-over seat but their days are pretty much done because of the weight issue and that leaves the rotating seat, which is fine on long distance trains but possibly not so good on a commuter train because so many people are potentially affected by its arc when somebody swings it around.
Putting fold-down tables on the back of seats somewhat decides the issue for these Sydney trains, although that could be done still on rotating seats.
In short, expect a rush for the forward-facing seats at the terminus and a lot of complaints about having to face the rear. It's not just a Sydney thing by any means, I've seen the preference in many places around the world. Some cultures are simply more passive and defeatist about the inconvenience than others.
Just remember - you're trying to attract people out of using their private cars. In cars they face forward and the seats are comfortable. The V sets rose to this challenge admirably. Nothing since has so far on the interurban scene.