Here is some information about some of the common public transport complaint issues we see. If you would like to discuss your public transport complaint, please contact us.

You can be fined for traveling on public transport without a valid ticket or without proof of your concession entitlement. You can also be fined for behaviours like smoking, drinking alcohol, putting your feet on the seats or littering on public transport.

The Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) website has a full list of public transport offences and fine amounts.

If an Authorised Officer (AO) thinks you have committed an offence, they will report this to the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP). If an AO asks for your name and address, you are required by law to give them this information so it can be added to the AO’s Report.

The AO cannot fine you on the spot. Their report is submitted to DTP who assess it and decide whether to fine you.

You have the right to ask DTP to re-consider its decision to fine you, if you think there’s a reason you shouldn’t have to pay the fine. You can access your right to a fine review through DTP’s Internal Review process. If DTP reviews your fine and confirms its decision to fine you, the PTO may be able to help if the reason you applied for a review was due to:

  • circumstances that meant you could not understand or control the behaviour that got you fined, such as cognitive disability, mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness or family violence
  • events or circumstances that were outside your control (such as a medical emergency)

An Authorised Officer (AO) wrote down my details and said I might get a fine. I don’t think I should have to pay it – what can I do?

First, wait to see if you get an Infringement Notice in the mail. When an AO takes your details, they also fill out a Report that gets sent to the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP). DTP reviews this Report and decides whether to fine you. Sometimes, DTP will send you a warning instead of a fine.

If DTP does decide to fine you, you will get a fine in the mail in about 4 - 6 weeks. The fine is called an Infringement Notice.

I got a public transport fine in the mail. I don’t think I should have to pay it – what can I do?

The first step is to ask the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) to do an Internal Review of your fine. This means DTP will re-consider its decision to fine you, based on the information you give them. If you apply for an Internal Review, you can expect one of the following outcomes:

  • DTP will cancel your fine or change your fine to a warning. This means you don’t have to pay the fine or take any further action
  • DTP will confirm its decision to fine you. This means you must pay the fine or take further action before the new due date on the Infringement Notice. There may be extra penalty costs if you don’t act before this date

DTP should give you the outcome in writing within 90 days.

It is important to apply for an Internal Review before the due date on your Infringement Notice:

  • If you do not apply for a review, pay the fine or make other arrangements before the due date you will get a Penalty Reminder Notice. A Penalty Reminder Notice has extra costs added to it
  • If you don’t pay by the due date on your Penalty Reminder Notice, your fine will go to Fines Victoria and you will get a Final Demand letter. Once a fine reaches ‘Final Demand’ stage it’s too late for DTP to do an Internal Review. You will need to seek a review through Fines Victoria instead. You may incur extra penalty costs, too
  • Read more about unpaid fines and Fines Victoria at Victoria Legal Aid

How do I apply for an Internal Review?

Apply to the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) in writing. To make sure your application is valid you must:

  • Include your Infringement Number. This is listed on the fine you got in the mail
  • Apply before the due date on your Infringement Notice or Penalty Reminder Notice. Once a fine reaches ‘Final Demand’ stage it has been referred to Fines Victoria. This means it’s too late to ask the Department of Transport and Planning to do an Internal Review
  • Tell DTP why your fine should be reviewed. Valid reasons include special or exceptional circumstances. These categories cover events (such as medical emergencies) and circumstances (such as cognitive disability, mental illness or homelessness) that explain the actions that led to you getting a fine. Read more about valid reasons to apply for an Internal Review at Victoria Legal Aid.

If the reason you give falls under special or exceptional circumstances, attach any documents that help prove of this. For example: photos, a medical certificate or a case worker’s letter. Read more about the types of documentary proof that DTP requires.

You can only ask DTP to do an Internal Review once. It’s a good idea to get advice or support with your application, if you need it:

I applied for an Internal Review and DTP confirmed its decision to fine me. What are my options now?

If the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) confirms its decision to fine you, you can:

  • Pay your fine by the new due date
  • Ask DTP for a payment plan. This allows you to extend the fine’s due date and/or pay the fine in instalments. If you have a Health Care or Pensioner Concession or Card, DTP must give you a payment plan. Read more about fine payment plans at Victoria Legal Aid.  
  • Ask the PTO to review your Internal Review application and circumstances, if ‘special’ or ‘exceptional’ circumstances apply. The PTO can independently review your circumstances and the fairness of DTP’s decision to uphold your fine. The PTO can’t cancel your fine - only DTP can do this. But we can make recommendations to DTP if we think the circumstances that led to you getting a fine warrant this.
  • Challenge the fine in the Magistrates Court. It is important to get legal advice before you choose this option.

Community Legal Centres (CLCs) give free legal advice to the public, including advice about fines. Search by suburb or locality to find a general or specialist CLC in your area. Specialist CLCs include Youthlaw, who give free advice and support to people under 25, and the Mental Health Legal Centre, who give free advice and support to people with lived experience of mental illness.

Legal Aid also gives advice about getting legal help and support with fines, including help at court.

You can read more about going to court to challenge a fine at Victoria Legal Aid and Department of Transport and Planning.

My fine has reached ‘Final Demand’ stage. Can I still apply for an Internal Review

Once a fine gets to ‘Final Demand’ stage it has been referred to Fines Victoria. This means it’s too late to ask the Department of Transport and Planning to do an Internal Review.

If you have a ‘Final Demand’ notice and want to request a review of your fine, you need to contact Fines Victoria. You can read more about your options once your fine is with Fines Victoria at the Legal Aid Victoria website.

You may want to get legal advice about these options, and how they apply to you:

In summary

If you have been reported, or have received a fine that you think is unfair, seek a review by the Department of Transport and Planning.

If you are dissatisfied with the way your review request has been handled, call us and tell us about what has happened, and we will see if we can help. If we cannot help, we will let you know why, and who might be able to assist further.

Myki is the smart card public transport ticketing system in Victoria.

You can use myki on:

  • Metropolitan Melbourne trains, trams and buses
  • V/Line commuter train services between metropolitan Melbourne and Eaglehawk/Epsom, Seymour, Traralgon, Waurn Ponds and Wendouree
  • Bus services in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, the Latrobe Valley, Seymour and Warragul.

There is information on PTV’s website about myki and other travel conditions. You can also call the PTV call centre on 1800 800 007 for advice.

The conditions of travel are set out in the Victorian Fares and Ticketing Manual (VFTM). You can look at the VFTM on the PTV website here.

Top tips for travelling with myki

  1. Only buy your myki from an authorised retailer such as 7-Eleven, myki card vending machines or railway stations. If you buy a myki from someone who is not authorised, you could lose your money.
  2. Make sure you take all reasonable steps to have enough money on your myki to cover your fare before travelling. For example, you can’t top up your myki on a tram, you can do this before you travel online or by calling PTV.
  3. Make sure you have ‘touched on’ your myki properly. Listen for the sound and look at the screen at the myki gate to make sure your touch on is successful.
  4. Register your myki. This protects the money on your myki if it is lost or stolen.
  5. Make sure that you are carrying the right proof that you are entitled to a concession fare if you are travelling on a concession myki.
  6. Check out the PTV website to see if you are entitled to an iUSEPass, which provides discounted travel to international undergraduate students.
  7. Do some research to work out the cheapest way to travel. Regular travellers may save money using a myki pass rather than myki money. You can get information from the PTV website or by calling PTV on 1800 800 007.

Myki complaints

Here are some of the common myki complaint issues we receive at the Public Transport Ombudsman’s office:


There are different concession mykis. A concession myki requires you to travel with proof of entitlement to the concession myki. Information about entitlement to a concession myki can be found on the PTV website or you can contact the PTV call centre on 1800 800 007 for advice. If you travel with a concession myki and you do not have the correct proof of entitlement, you may be issued with a fine.

If you are aged 5 to 18, you can travel on a Child myki. If you are aged 17 and 18 and travelling on a Child myki, you will need to carry government-issued proof of age ID, or another concession entitlement. Information about travelling on a Child myki can be found on the PTV website.

If you’re a Victorian undergraduate student studying full-time you may be able to travel on a concession myki. You will need to travel with a PTV Tertiary Student ID and carry this with you when you travel. You can find out more on the PTV website.

If you travel on a concession myki with a Health Care Card as proof of entitlement, the Health Care Card needs to be issued in your name. Any dependents listed on the Health Care Card cannot use it as proof of entitlement. While being listed on a Health Care Card may offer some concession entitlements elsewhere, it doesn’t apply to public transport.

We look at complaints from consumers who have travelled on the wrong myki and been charged incorrectly. When we investigate these complaints, we will look at the consumer’s individual circumstances and the cost of the fare charges.

Refunds and reimbursements

Consumers are entitled to a refund of any unused balance owing on their myki card. Refund and reimbursement requests can be made through your online account or the PTV call centre. If a myki is submitted for a refund, the card is cancelled, and the entire balance refunded.

Many of the refund and reimbursement public transport complaints we look at involve passes, rather than myki money. When PTV says ‘unused’ in relation to passes it means passes that either have not been activated or have pass days remaining. PTV doesn’t provide refunds for expired passes, or for pass days that have been used. It is important to understand that if a pass has been activated, pass days are being used even if the pass isn’t being used for travel.

Sometimes consumers may be entitled to reimbursement for used pass days or myki money fares. Requests can be made for ticketing equipment faults, medical conditions and other special circumstances.

We look complaints from consumers about refund or reimbursement amounts. When we investigate these complaints, we look at the how the refund and reimbursement was calculated and the consumer’s individual circumstances to understand if the most appropriate request was made, and if any refund or reimbursement payment is correct.

Overcharging / default fares

The myki system is designed to charge a fare at the end of a journey and when a myki is touched off. However, there isn’t always a requirement to touch off. For example, if you’re travelling on a tram within zone 1 you don’t need to touch off your myki.

If a myki isn’t touched off, a default fare might be charged. This might be more than or the same amount as the highest fare possible. A default fare can be a significant amount if you are travelling in a regional area. A default fare might not be charged for some time, depending on how often a myki is used. This can be confusing for passengers when checking their myki money balance or travel history.

We look at public transport complaints from consumers who have been overcharged or charged a default fare. When we investigate these complaints, we look at the consumer’s individual circumstances and what a fair and reasonable outcome to the complaint would be.


When we look at a public transport complaint, we can consider what compensation may be appropriate to resolve the complaint. It is important to realise that not every complaint will result in compensation.

Here are some examples of when we would consider compensation for loss suffered by a consumer:

  • Significantly delayed or cancelled public transport services
  • A significant breach of privacy
  • The provision of inaccurate advice and poor staff behaviour
  • A failure or lack of operator policies or procedures
  • In limited circumstances, claims from businesses for loss of profits.

We do not consider compensation for the following types of claims:

  • The costs associated with making the complaint
  • Claims for exemplary or punitive damages
  • Claims for injury to feelings or pain and suffering, except in some limited privacy related complaints
  • Claims more appropriately handled by another body such as the TAC, or a court or tribunal due to the complexity or value of the claim

Personal injury

In some circumstances, we can consider claims for loss caused by personal injury.

Claims for costs associated with personal injury can be very complex and involve amounts of money greater than the Public Transport Ombudsman’s binding decision monetary limits ($5,000 or $10,000 with the consent of the public transport operator). We will only consider claims for actual costs incurred or loss suffered, and not future or ongoing loss.

We will carefully review your claim to ensure we are the most appropriate body to handle your public transport complaint. We may refer you to the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), as no fault compensation may be payable if the injury was as a result of a transport accident involving a public transport service.

What you need to tell us

To help us investigate your public transport complaint, you need to give us:

  • A detailed explanation of your claim, including all relevant dates, times and locations and a description of people involved (where relevant) in case we need to view CCTV footage of the incident
  • A timeline of events can be useful to help us understand the background of your complaint
  • If available, copies of any supporting information you have, such as receipts, tickets, photos, witness statements, medical reports and other correspondence
  • What you are seeking to resolve your complaint, including the amount of the claim. You may need to provide supporting documentation such as receipts and information about insurance payments or other rebates.

How we approach your complaint

We will consider all the information provided by you and the public transport operator when we assess your claim for compensation. This includes:

  • Investigating the link between the operator’s actions and the loss you are claiming
  • Looking at whether there are any laws or codes that exempt the operator from liability, or limit their liability
  • Whether reasonable steps were taken by either party to reduce the loss
  • Whether we have been provided with sufficient information to support the amount of the claim.

If following our investigation we think payment of compensation is appropriate, we will work with you and the operator to reach a fair and reasonable outcome.


Aside from compensation, there are several other outcomes that could be appropriate to resolve your complaint. They include:

  • A detailed explanation
  • An apology
  • Refunds or goodwill payments
  • Changes to operator policies and procedures
  • Public transport operator staff training or counselling

If an agreed outcome cannot be reached, we will look at whether further investigation of your public transport complaint is warranted. We will speak to you about your options at that time.

Authorised Officers (AOs) are employed by bus, train and tram operators in Victoria. Their job is to check tickets, help prevent anti-social and unsafe behaviours, and help passengers during special events and service disruptions.

AOs are also employed to report public transport offences to the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP). Public transport offences include travelling without a valid ticket, not having proof of concession, and smoking or littering on public transport. If a person commits an offence, DTP may fine them.

AOs must comply with the Authorised Officers Code of Conduct. The code says that AOs must be respectful to members of the public; consider passenger safety and comfort while doing their job; and comply with data privacy protocols when recording passengers’ personal information.

AOs are authorised by the Victorian government to:

  • Ask to check your ticket or concession entitlement. They can do this even if you’ve left the vehicle or the paid area of a train station.
  • Ask for your name, address and proof of identity
  • Ask you to surrender your myki card or paper ticket to use as evidence

If you don’t comply with these requests, you could be charged with an offence or arrested. AOs can arrest and detain a person until police arrive. 

The section below covers FAQs and complaints about Authorised Officers. If your question isn’t covered contact the PTO team for advice.

How do I make a complaint about the behaviour of an Authorised Officer?

Contact the operator of the train, tram or bus service the Authorised Officer (AO) was working on. If you don’t know which operator to contact, contact Public Transport Victoria (PTV). PTV will send your complaint to the right operator.

If you’re not happy with the response you get from the operator, you can contact the Public Transport Ombudsman (PTO) to independently review your complaint. 

Although the PTO shares responsibility for AO complaints with the Victorian Ombudsman, we can review most complaints about AO conduct. If we assess your complaint and find that it falls under the Victorian Ombudsman’s area of responsibility, we will refer your complaint to their office. The Victorian Ombudsman is responsible for AO complaints about excessive use of force or unlawful restraint, or police involvement beyond proof of passenger identity.

An Authorised Officer (AO) wrote down my details and said I might get a fine. I don’t think I should have to pay the fine – what can I do?

First, wait to see if you get a fine in the mail. When an AO takes your details, they also fill out a report for the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP). DTP reviews this report and decides whether to fine you. Sometimes, DTP may give you a warning instead of a fine. If DTP does fine you, you will get a fine in the mail in about 4 - 6 weeks.

If you get a fine, you have the right to ask DTP to review its decision to fine you. For more on how to apply for a fine review, see the ‘Public Transport Fines’ section of this page.  

Do I have to give an Authorised Officer my name and address, or show them my ID?

If an AO asks for your name and address, you are required by law to tell them.

An Authorised Officer (AO) can only ask for your name and address if they think you have committed a public transport offence. The AO must tell you why they think this, and what the offence is. The AO will include your name and address in the report they send to the Department of Transport and Planning.

An AO can also ask to see identification that proves your name and address. If you can’t show them identification, they may ask you to call a relative to confirm your details.

If you refuse to give an AO your details, or give them false information, you could be charged with an offence or arrested. An AO can arrest you until police arrive if you refuse to comply.

How can I tell if a person who claims they are an Authorised Officer really is one?

Authorised Officers (AO) may work in plain clothes or in uniform. They must carry an approved Authorised Officer badge, photo identification, and a portable myki reader.

An AO is required to show their badge and photo identification:

  • to any passenger who asks to see it
  • to anyone they intend to report to the Department of Transport and Planning for a public transport infringement

If someone tells you they are an AO but can’t show you their badge and identification:

  • report them to the nearest public transport staff member or call PTV on 1800 800 007
  • and you feel threatened or frightened, you can call Triple Zero (000) for immediate police assistance or text STOPIT to 0499 455 455 if the situation isn’t urgent. STOPIT is a text-based service that notifies Victoria Police about anti-social or unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport.

We cannot look at complaints about Protective Service Officers

Protective Service Officers (PSOs) provide specialist protective services for the general public at metropolitan and major regional railway stations from 6.00pm until the last train of the evening, seven days a week.

While on duty at train stations, PSOs have several powers, including:

  • Arrest and detain – including arrest for drunk and disorderly offences
  • Search people and property – and seize items such as weapons and alcohol
  • Issue on-the-spot fines (infringement notices) – including for graffiti offences
  • Issue a direction to 'move on' from the area.

PSOs are recruited, trained and employed by Victoria Police. Victoria Police is not a member of the Public Transport Ombudsman scheme therefore we are unable to look at complaints about PSOs.

You can make a complaint about a PSO to:

Victoria Police – The Police Conduct Unit (complaints and compliments), Ethical Standards Department.

Telephone: 1300 363 101

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We can investigate complaints about noise and public transport. However, there are some significant limits to our jurisdiction which are explained below.

What you need to tell us

When you make a noise complaint to us, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Relevant dates, times and locations;
  • Frequency of the noise;
  • Types of noise (a clear description will help to identify the source);
  • Carriage numbers, bus numbers, tram numbers where possible; and
  • Any changes in services/noise levels that you have noticed.

You will need to tell us what you are seeking to resolve your complaint and we will discuss with you whether this is likely to be achieved through our process.

Where relevant, we may look at what measures you have implemented to reduce the impact of noise on your property.

Our investigation

We will consider all the information provided in assessing the merits of your noise complaint. This will include investigating:

  • The source of the noise and whether any laws or codes exempt the operator from liability; 
  • Whether practical steps have been taken by the operator to reduce the noise emissions as far as is practicable; 
  • Whether any further practical reduction in noise emissions is possible; and
  • The handling of your complaint by the operator.

Site visits

We may arrange a site visit which allows us to meet with you and the operator and identify the noise that is of concern. A site visit is useful because it ensures the nature of the complaint is understood by everyone and all parties will have the opportunity to hear the noise and assess whether it is unusual or standard operational noise.

Limits to our jurisdiction

There are limits to our jurisdiction in relation to noise complaints.

The Ombudsman can make a binding decision up to the value of $5,000 or $10,000 with the agreement of the public transport operator. The likely costs involved in making changes to infrastructure or rolling stock to eliminate the cause of noise would in most cases exceed our monetary limit.

Tram and train operators have exemptions from some environmental controls under legislation, which generally place the needs of operators to run an efficient and effective passenger service for the general public ahead of the rights of individuals to quiet enjoyment of their property.

Responsibility for the specification and design of trains, trams, sidings, depots, stations and platforms rest with the Victorian Government, therefore we cannot investigate this aspect of a noise complaint.

We can identify when an operator is not complying with legislation, regulation or standards, but we do not have an enforcement role. We need to refer these issues to the relevant regulator or enforcement body, which can include PTV or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Noise complaints can involve complex issues and in some instances the outcome being sought (cessation of all noise) may not be possible. We may consider that other remedies should be provided to ensure a fair and reasonable outcome is achieved, in the context of our jurisdiction. These remedies may include:

  • Provision of information
  • An apology
  • A commitment by the operator to review internal processes/conduct
  • A change of internal policies/procedures
  • The provision of a goodwill gesture

We aim to resolve complaints through agreement, but when investigating noise complaints this is often not possible. If your complaint cannot be resolved through agreement and we cannot assist further, we will try to refer you to another organisation.

New bus stops

There are three types of complaints we typically receive about bus stops:

  1. A consumer unhappy about the location of a new bus stop
  2. A consumer complaining they were not notified about a new bus stop
  3. A consumer unhappy with the consultation process for a new bus stop

Who can look at bus stop complaints?

We generally can’t look at complaints about bus stops because PTV is authorised by legislation to construct public transport infrastructure. There is no requirement for public consultation or notification in the legislation.

PTV’s process for determining new bus stops

PTV advises that it consults publicly when it creates new bus routes or substantially changes existing bus routes. However, it does not publicly consult on the location of individual bus stops. PTV generally provides written notification of a new bus stop to any property abutting the bus stop.

There are several different factors PTV considers when determining the location of bus stops, including (but not limited to):

  • Input from the relevant bus company and the local road authority;
  • The distance between bus stops;
  • Whether a site is accessible and fit for a bus stop;
  • Whether there is enough space for a bus stopping area;
  • The location of side roads near the bus stop; and
  • Whether other factors such as general site and road geography make the sitea practical location for a bus stop.

Making bus stops accessible

PTV ensures that all new bus stops are compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), except where there are factors outside its control such as a road with a steep gradient. PTV may build a compliant bus stop but it is not accessible because of a lack of surrounding infrastructure such as a footpath. Not all existing bus stops are DDA compliant. PTV is involved in an ongoing project to update existing bus stops to make them DDA compliant.

Making a complaint about a new bus stop

PTV will consider requests from the public to update existing bus stops to make them DDA compliant and more accessible. Consumers should make their request to the PTV Call Centre on 1800 800 007. PTV advises that it may be a process of some months from approval before a bus stop is updated.

Bus stop complaints should be referred to the PTV Call Centre. The Call Centre has information about bus stops and staff will try to resolve the complaint in the first instance. If it cannot be resolved, the complaint will be escalated internally to PTV Customer Feedback.

PTV says that in rare cases, it may agree to move a new bus stop for safety reasons. Consumers with concerns about the safety of a new bus stop should contact the PTV Call Centre and their concerns can be raised with relevant staff at PTV.