Customer Stories

Pradeep attempted to top up his myki at a Card Vending Machine (CVM) at a tram stop. His myki was not credited, but $126 was debited from his bank account.

He contacted the PTV Call Centre on 23 October and was advised to send them a copy of his bank statement showing the debit of $126 to support his claim for a refund. After he resent his bank account information twice, PTV initiated an investigation and confirmed with the system contractor that it was a case of inadvertent myki purchase. This means that instead of topping up his myki, Pradeep inadvertently purchased a new myki for $6 which was then topped up with $120 and in all likelihood taken from the CVM by another consumer.

On 10 November Pradeep was advised that matter would need to be escalated within PTV for further response. The customer contacted the PTO on 1 December to make a complaint as he had not received a further response from PTV. Because Pradeep had had a number of contacts with PTV, the complaint was allocated for investigation.

PTV responded to the PTO and apologised for not providing a timely response. PTV looked at the travel history report for the inadvertently purchased myki and advised that the travel history was distinctly different to Pradeep’s travel history. PTV was confident that Pradeep was unaware of the inadvertent purchase, and someone else found the myki in the CVM and used it. PTV arranged to have $126 myki money credited to Pradeep’s myki and the complaint was resolved.

Joanne attended Winchelsea train station to catch a train to Melbourne. On arrival at the station, she found a notice advising that due to track works, a coach replacement service was operating.

The notice didn’t indicate timetable or route details other than to advise passengers to expect delays of up to 40 minutes. It also didn’t specify the departure location for the replacement service. As V/Line’s regular coach service normally operates from a bus stop in town Joanne thought she should wait there.

When the coach replacement service arrived, it drove straight past her.

Joanne said the incident caused her a great deal of confusion and stress. She contacted V/Line through PTV a number of times seeking an explanation and then contacted us because she was dissatisfied with their response.

Following investigation by our office, we established that the replacement coach service operates as both express and stopping all stations. The coach seen by Joanne was an express service. We confirmed that the notice did not contain advice about which services were express or where to wait for the replacement coach.

V/Line acknowledged the issues highlighted by the complaint and advised that future communications about replacement coach services would include information about where consumers should wait for these services.

V/Line also acknowledged that information provided to Joanne by their customer feedback team was not clear and likely to cause confusion.

In recognition of the inconvenience and distress to Joanne, V/Line offered Joanne a complimentary travel voucher as a goodwill gesture. Joanne accepted V/Line’s offer and the case was closed.

Michael complained to us about a penalty fare.

He believed he successfully touched on his myki at a suburban train station before boarding a train; however he was unable to exit the myki barriers at Southern Cross station and approached customer service officers for help. He was directed to AOs who issued him with the penalty fare of $75 for travelling without a valid ticket. He complained to the PTO on the basis that the myki reader at the local station must be faulty. Michael claimed that he touched on his myki and the myki reader displayed the message that his touch on was successful. PTV declined his request for a refund so the PTO investigated the matter.

The PTO reviewed CCTV footage from Michael’s local station which showed Michael holding his myki to the reader for a few seconds and looking at the screen. The footage does not capture what is on the screen or the audio. PTV reported that device reports showed that there were no faults, downtime or errors with the myki reader and PTV was unable to determine why a successful touch on was not recorded. PTV maintained its position that Michael made an informed decision to pay a penalty fare after travelling without a valid ticket, and as such Michael was not entitled to a refund.

However the PTO accepted in good faith Michael’s statement that the myki reader displayed a ‘touch on successful’ message after he touched on. The CCTV footage supported his claim that he had taken reasonable steps to touch on his myki and travel with a valid ticket and he had a positive balance on his myki. After looking at all the circumstances, the PTO concluded that Michael did not knowingly travel without a valid ticket and that he took reasonable steps to ensure his ticket was valid.

After further discussions with the PTO, PTV agreed to make a goodwill payment of $75 to Michael and the complaint was resolved.

In November 2008, the then Ombudsman made a binding decision to resolve a complaint against V/Line. In the absence of an agreed outcome, the Ombudsman has the power to make a decision that is binding on the operator. A binding decision can be up to the value of $5,000 or $10,000 with the agreement of the operator. This is the only case to date in which the PTO has made a binding decision.

Colin complained to us after he was removed from a V/Line train travelling between Geelong and Melbourne. He was carrying a periodical Metcard (the ticketing system that was in place before myki) and a V/Line extension ticket – valid tickets for the travel he was undertaking. When the tickets were checked, the conductor wrongly concluded that the tickets were not valid for Colin’s travel and asked him to leave the train at Werribee station. Colin refused and police were called to remove him from the train. This was not the first time Colin had been removed from a V/Line service while holding valid tickets.

During our investigation, V/Line agreed that the conductor could have handled the matter better, and action was taken to address his conduct. The Ombudsman directed that Colin be provided with a letter from senior V/Line management, confirming his entitlement to travel with a periodical Metcard and V/Line extension ticket. The Ombudsman also recommended that V/Line staff who sell or check tickets be reminded of the entitlement of rail passengers to use extension tickets. This recommendation was implemented by V/Line.

The Ombudsman made a binding decision that required V/Line to pay compensation to Colin of either a 26 week full fare ticket between Melbourne and Geelong, or the equivalent monetary amount ($1245.40). The compensation recognised that hurt and embarrassment Colin was caused, and provided an opportunity for Colin to regain confidence in V/Line services.

Claudia contacted us in desperation after significant periods of disrupted sleep due to level crossing works directly across the road from her home. From late in the evening until early morning, Claudia heard the noise coming from generators and large trucks and cranes. Dust and debris were also covering her car and home.

Claudia had contacted the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) a number of times and efforts were made to address her concerns by making arrangements to have her house and car cleaned. In addition, Claudia was relocated to alternate accommodation during a period of excessive overnight works. However when she returned from the relocation, the noise and disruption continued through her first night back home. Claudia thought this was unreasonable and that’s why she decided to get our office involved.

Our investigation found that LXRA had forgotten to tell Claudia that the disruption would continue and that she was still entitled to ongoing relocation and cleaning assistance. As a result of our investigation, LXRA put in place new procedures to prevent this type of oversight occurring in future. LXRA apologised to Claudia and undertook to assess any future cleaning needs on a case by case basis. Claudia was happy with this outcome and we closed the case.

Vivienne contacted us after she was stranded with her elderly mother one evening. Their train had been cancelled, so they travelled from Melbourne to Springhurst in a V/Line replacement coach and were dropped at a bus stop in Springhurst after dark. They had arranged for Vivienne’s husband to collect them but he did not show up, and they had no way to contact him. Because it was dark, Vivienne was not sure where they had been dropped off.

When the next coach arrived they used a passenger’s mobile phone to call Vivienne’s husband. He had been told by PTV that the replacement coach would arrive at the bus stop outside the post office and had been waiting for them there. Clearly the information from PTV had not been correct.

Vivienne told us that many elderly people use the train and she was concerned how her 80 year old mother would cope with something like this if she was travelling on her own.

We investigated Vivienne’s complaint and established that PTV had been relying on information from V/Line’s website when it directed Vivienne’s husband to the wrong bus stop. V/Line agreed that the information on its website was wrong. V/Line updated its website so that it had accurate information about where replacement coach services would arrive.

V/Line apologised for the distressing experience Vivienne and her mother had. In resolution of her complaint, Vivienne accepted V/Line’s offer of two complementary vouchers for return travel between Melbourne and Springhurst, worth $139.20.