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 patrol the public transport network.

If you’re on a bus, train or tram 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.

A transit officer can ask to see your ticket and identification, including a concession card if you have one. You must answer their questions.

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.

You can ask to see their official identity card, and they must warn you that failing to answer their questions can result in a fine.

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 have to pay as much as $210, or more if you’re charged and go to court.

Some of things you might be fined for are:

  • using a concession ticket without a valid concession card or student ID card;
  • 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;
  • carry dangerous or offensive objects on board; and
  • climbing through windows or opening locked doors.

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

Can a transit officer arrest me?

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

If they witness you committing a crime, they may use reasonable force to detain you until the police arrive.

Can a transit officer search me?

 Transit officers do not have the power to search you or confiscate your property.

Can I be kicked off public transport?

A transit officer can remove you from a bus, train or tram if they believe you’re behaving in an offensive or disorderly way. If you don’t do as they say, they are allowed to use reasonable force to remove you.

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

Transit officers can’t be rude to you and use offensive language. They also shouldn’t use or threaten to use force in exercising their powers.

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

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