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Transit officers

1    What powers does a transit officer have? 
2    What sort of things can a transit officer fine me for?  
3    Can a transit officer arrest me?  
4    Can a transit officer search me?  
5    Can I be kicked off public transport?  
6    What should I do if I think a transit officer has done the wrong thing?   


1    What powers does a transit officer have?

A transit officer is not a police officer, but they are employed by the government to patrol buses and bus stations and have the power to issue on-the-spot fines.

If you’re on a bus, train or tram and a police officer wants to speak to you, their powers are governed by the ordinary police laws – more information can be found here.

A transit officer is allowed to ask for your name and address if they reasonably believe you’re breaking the law. They must tell you why they’re questioning you, and should record it as soon as possible.

A transit officer can ask to see your ticket and identification, including a concession card if you have one.


2    What sort of things can a transit officer fine me for?

If you break the rules about travelling on public transport, you can be fined.

Some of things you might be fined for are:
•    swearing;
•    putting your feet on the seats;
•    not standing up for a disabled or elderly person;
•    drinking alcohol or having an open container or alcohol on the bus;
•    littering; and
•    throwing things out of the bus.


3    Can a transit officer arrest me?

A transit officer does not have any power of arrest beyond an ordinary person.

If they witness you committing a crime, they may use reasonable force to detain you until the police arrive.


4    Can a transit officer search me?

No. Transit officers do not have the power to search you or confiscate your property.


5    Can I be kicked off public transport?

A transit officer may direct you to get off a bus if they reasonably believe you’re breaking the law. Failure to do so might result in you getting a fine.

Only a police officer can physically remove you from the bus.


6    What should I do if I think a transit officer has done the wrong thing?

If you believe a transit officer has done the wrong thing, you should make a complaint online at:
http://www.action.act.gov.au/About_ACTION/service_policies/feedback_and_complaints_handling_fact_sheet

NCYLC would like to express thanks to the law clerks and volunteers who assisted with the preparation of this material: Rahul Arora, Ed Slattery, Sebastian Hanscomb, Jaspreet Nagra.

This page was last updated in January 2017.

   
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