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 employees of the government who are around to help make things safe for everyone.

If you’re on a bus or at a bus stop 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, you must answer truthfully.

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

They must show you their identity card before exercising any of their powers.


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

If you break the rules on public transport, you can be fined. You might also be directed to stop doing something that you shouldn’t, if you don’t stop immediately you could be fined.

Some of things you might be fined for are:

  • failing to show your ticket, student ID card or concession card when asked;
  • refusing to hand over an invalid ticket;
  • blocking the path or creating a nuisance, including swearing;
  • throwing things out of a bus;
  • graffiti;
  • littering;
  • bringing an animal on board; and
  • eating, drinking alcohol or smoking.

To avoid a fine, you should always pay the correct fare and behave politely on public transport.


Can a transit officer arrest me?

If a transit officer witnesses or reasonably believes that you have committed an offence such as:

  • Offensive conduct;
  • Violent disorder;
  • Loitering;
  • Indecent exposure;
  • Trespass; or
  • Criminal damage

Then they may arrest and detain you, and must deliver you into police custody as soon as possible.


Can a transit officer search me?

If you have been arrested then a transit officer may frisk search you.

You may only be searched by someone who is the same gender as you. If there are no officers of your gender available, the officer might direct a nearby person who is the same gender as you to conduct the search.

If the transit officer finds something on you that could cause harm to you or somebody else, they may seize it. Anything an officer takes off you will be given to the police when you are placed in their custody.


Can I be kicked off public transport?

A transit officer can ask you to get off a bus, or move away from a bus stop. If you don’t do as they say, they are allowed to use reasonable force to remove you.

They might tell you that you can’t return to the bus stop for up to 24 hours. They cannot ban you for any longer than that.

You should follow the officer’s instructions as quickly as possible, or they may fine 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 at here or by calling them on (08) 8936 4014.

If you are not happy with the response from Transport, you can make a complaint to the Northern Territory Ombudsman by phone, on 1800 806 380 (which is a free number), or by email to: [email protected]

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