The PTO’s procedures are described in a general way. We will apply these to our handling of a complaint on a case-by-case basis.

About PTO Investigations

The PTO will investigate a complaint when you and the operator have been unable to reach an agreement.

In an investigation, we gather information to decide what is a fair and reasonable outcome in the circumstances. When deciding what is fair and reasonable, we will consider the information made available to us, relevant laws and codes, and good industry practice.

Our investigation process is informal and confidential.

We'll let you know if the outcome you’re seeking can be achieved through our investigation process, based on our experience and knowledge of good industry practice.

You and the operator should be prepared to compromise so we can find a fair and reasonable outcome to the complaint.

The process

We'll ask you about the complaint and the impacts it had on you, and what you are seeking to resolve the complaint. We’ll ask you for information in support of your complaint, including:

  • Details of times, dates, and locations
  • Correspondence between you and the operator
  • Documentation of costs (e.g. receipts, invoices)
  • Quotes or expert advice to support requests for compensation
  • Photographs or video recordings

We also ask the operator to provide the information they have about the complaint.

In our experience, dispute resolution progresses more effectively when we can speak with you directly, so we may ask you to make yourself available by phone.


We’ll tell you when we have started investigating your complaint. From this date, we’ll be in contact within 21 days to discuss the operator’s response and our preliminary assessment about how the complaint should resolve based on the information we’ve been provided.

Not all complaints resolve within 21 days. It may take longer to resolve a complaint if we need additional information from you or the operator to help us decide what is a fair and reasonable outcome. After the first 21 days have elapsed, we’ll update you every two weeks about how the investigation is progressing.

If we ask you to provide information within a particular timeframe, it’s important that you do this. If we don’t hear from you, it may increase the time taken to resolve your complaint, or prevent us from investigating further.

Resolving your complaint

If you and the operator agree on an outcome, we’ll finalise the investigation. We’ll confirm the agreement in writing.

If you and the operator can’t agree on an outcome, we’ll make an assessment about what we think is a fair and reasonable outcome.

Finalising the complaint

We can decide to finalise an investigation if:

  • You stop responding to us;
  • A fair and reasonable outcome has been offered and we are not provided any additional information that has changed this view; or
  • It is not appropriate for the PTO to look at the complaint further.
The Australian Aboriginal Flag the Torres Strait Islanders Flag

The Public Transport Ombudsman respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate our services. We pay our respects to the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal peoples, and to Elders past, present and future.