Other public transport issues
Protective Services Officers (PSOs)
PSOs are uniformed officers similar to police. Their authority operates in designated places such as public transport stations and stops.
As long as they are within a designated place, PSO powers are quite extensive and include the authority to:
- tell you to move on if they believe you are breaching the peace or endangering the safety of others;
- remove you from the designated place if the officer believes you are committing an offence that is a danger or annoyance to the public, or is getting in the way of a police officer, protective services officer or transport employee;
- issue fines for offences such as being swearing, drunk in public, or committing a public transport or ticket offence;
- search for weapons if they reasonably suspects you have a weapon;
- arrest you if you are drunk or drunk and disorderly in a designated place; or
- arrest you if they suspect you have broken the law.
If asked for your name and address you are obliged to give it, however you may ask why they require your name and address.
Public Transport Victoria Authorised Officers
Authorised officers have a range of powers strictly in relation to public transport fares. They can ask to see your ticket and – if relevant – your concession card, even when you have left the bus, tram or the paid area of a railway station. Authorised officers may be in uniform or plain clothes. They are required to display their badge and show you their identity card if you ask to see it.
Authorised officers only have authority to ask for your name and address if they believe ‘on reasonable grounds’ that you have committed or are about to commit an offence related to your use of public transport. If you refuse to give your name and address, or give false information, you may be charged with an offence and can be arrested. They can also ask you to prove that your name and address is correct if they believe on reasonable grounds that the details are false.
If they think you have committed or intend to commit a public transport offence, they can report you to the Department of Transport or arrest you until the police arrive if you don’t comply.
However, authorised officers cannot search your bags or any of your belongings, nor can they give you an on-the-spot fine.
Public transport complaints
If you have a complaint about public transport or authorised officers (but you have not been fined), you should first contact the relevant public transport operator and make a complaint directly to them. You can find the contact details for public transport operators here. If you are not sure who to complain to, you can send your complaint to Public Transport Victoria, and they will forward it to the correct operator.
If you have made a complaint to the relevant public transport operator, but they have been unable to resolve your dispute, you can make a complaint to the Public Transport Ombudsman.
The information on this website is not legal advice. It is legal information only. If you require legal advice, please contact the UMSU Legal Service here.
Last updated: 7 June 2019