Transit officers and ticket inspectors

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What powers does a transit officer have?

A transit officer is not a police officer, instead, they’re employed by the government to patrol public transport.

If you’re on a bus, train, tram or ferry and a police officer wants to speak to you, their powers are governed by the ordinary police laws.

A transit officer is allowed to ask for your name and address if they reasonably suspect you’ve done the wrong thing.

If a transit officer asks to see your ticket or concession card, you must show it to them.

If you don’t answer a transit officers questions, or if you lie to them or try to stop them from doing their job, you can be fined.


What sort of things can a transit officer fine me for?

If you break the rules on public transport, you can be fined.

Some of things you might be fined for are:

  • Putting feet on seats;
  • Travelling without a valid ticket/card;
  • Littering;
  • Smoking;
  • Drinking alcohol;
  • Offensive language, offensive behaviour or spitting;
  • Blocking doors or interfering with equipment;
  • Damaging vehicles or property through graffiti or vandalism;
  • Trespassing on railway land; and
  • Throwing an object in, at or from a public passenger vehicle or station.


Can a transit officer arrest me?

A transit officer does not have any powers of arrest beyond an ordinary person.

They may arrest you if they see you breaking the law. If they do, you must be delivered into the custody of the police as soon as practicable.


Can a transit officer search me?

A transit officer is not entitled to search you without your permission.


Can I be kicked off public transport?

A transit officer can remove you from a bus, train, tram or ferry if they think that your body, clothing or luggage may damage the bus, train, ferry, light rail or any passengers:

  • you are causing, or might cause inconvenience to other passengers; or
  • you’re committing a crime.

If you’re told to leave public transport, you aren’t allowed back on for two hours – if you do, you might be fined.

If you’re told to leave public transport and you don’t follow instructions, a transit officer is allowed to use reasonable force to remove you.


What should I do if I think a transit officer has done the wrong thing?

If you believe a transit officer has done the wrong thing, you should make a complaint online here.

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