Data released in the PTO Annual Report 2023 shows a 61.6 per cent rise in Victorians contacting the PTO in the 2022-23 financial year.


“The big increase in Victorians contacting the Public Transport Ombudsman mirrors the increasing number of Victorians using the public transport network,” said Acting Public Transport Ombudsman Ms Ann Jorgensen. Trips taken on Victorian public transport rose 61.9 per cent over the 2022-23 period.

This is the second year that complaints to the PTO have increased in line with post-pandemic patronage. The PTO reported a 10 per cent increase in its 2021-22 Annual Report .

Although the rise in complaints received this year was significant, Ms Jorgensen said the overall mix of issues remained similar to previous years.

However, Ms Jorgensen said complaints about some issues increased relative to pre-pandemic levels. “Our complaints data points to some potential emerging trends that we’re keeping our eye on, particularly around Authorised Officers,” she said.

A single complaint to the PTO can involve one or more public-transport related issues, which the PTO logs and tracks individually. The top four issues logged within the 2,119 combined complaints the PTO received in 2022-23 related to:

  1. Public transport staff: 1,150 complaints in total, up 44 per cent on last year
  2. Service delivery: 588 complaints in total, up 58 per cent on last year
  3. Ticketing issues (including myki): 574 complaints in total, up 101 per cent on last year
  4. Land & infrastructure: 418 complaints in total, up 5 per cent on last year

Authorised Officer complaints

The PTO saw an uptick in complaints about Authorised Officers (AOs) in 2022-23, with 150 complaints about AOs received compared to 56 in 2021-22.

Ms Jorgensen said it was notable that AO complaints were nearly double pre-pandemic numbers (73 and 81 AO complaints in 2018-19 and 2017-18, respectively).

While the Authorised Officers complaints we’ve seen this year represent a small number of the AO interactions that took place on the system, each complaint is important because of the powers that Authorised Officers have,” Ms Jorgensen said.

Ms Jorgensen said Victorians can raise complaints about the conduct of AOs with the relevant public transport operator. If they’re not satisfied with the response they get from the operator, they can complain to the Public Transport Ombudsman.

“We will continue to monitor trends in Authorised Officer complaints to make sure emerging issues are raised for action with operators and the Department of Transport and Planning,” she said.

Focus on public transport fines 

The PTO also saw a substantial increase in Victorians contacting the PTO about fines in 2022-23 (264 cases, up 118 per cent on last year). Ms Jorgensen attributed this to rising patronage and a change in how the PTO handles fines complaints.

“The Public Transport Ombudsman now offers Victorians an additional avenue to raise a complaint about the fairness of a fine,” said Ms Jorgensen.

“If a person has unsuccessfully sought a review of their fine with the Department of Transport and Planning, our office can now look at the Department’s decision in some circumstances”. These include exceptional and special circumstances such as homelessness, mental illness, cognitive disability, family violence or addiction to alcohol or other drugs.

The change in how the PTO handles fines complaints came into effect from August 2022, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Transport and Planning and the Public Transport Ombudsman.

“This arrangement between our office and the Department comes out of a common goal to improve the accessibility and overall fairness of the fines review system,” said Ms Jorgensen, who added that the arrangement facilitates collaboration and dialogue around opportunities to improve the system.

“I’d like to recognise the Department’s openness to feedback from our office, and its commitment to having constructive conversations about fair and reasonable decision making,” Ms Jorgensen said.

Download and read the full PTO Annual Report 2022-23 at our Annual Reports page.