Transit officer powers
When you use public transport, you may come into contact with transit officers. Transit officers are responsible for ensuring that you are safe when using public transport (buses, trains, ferries) and are given some legal powers similar to the police, which apply when using public transport or being on public transport property.
Power to ask for your name, address, date of birth
If a transit officer reasonably suspects that you have committed or are about to commit an offence or a breach of the Public Transport Regulations, he or she can:
- Ask for your name, address and date of birth.
- Ask you to produce identification and detain you for the length of time it takes to get this information.
- Detain you if you refuse to give them these details.
Power of search
Transit officers also have the power to stop, detain and search you if they reasonably suspect you have in your possession anything that may affect the safety or security of other members of the public or be used to commit an offence (e.g. weapon, firearm, can of spray paint, etc.).
The search must be carried out by a person of the same sex as you. Reasonable force may be used.
Power to remove you from public transport or station
Transit officers have the power to use reasonable force to remove you from the train, bus, ferry or station if you have been warned but have not complied with a direction, including:
- Sitting in an unauthorised seat after having been asked to vacate it and/or refusing to vacate the seat.
- Interfering with a sign or equipment after having been asked to stop and/or refusing to stop the interference.
- Travelling on a train or part of a train not intended for passengers after having been asked to move away and/or refusing to move away.
- Entering or leaving other than through a passenger door after having been asked to stop and/or refusing to stop.
- Being in an area not intended for use of passengers after having been asked to move away and/or refusing to move away.
- Travelling with a bicycle in a peak flow direction during peak times on a working day after being asked to disembark and/or refusing to disembark.
- Travelling on a train after having been advised that you are banned.
- Acting in a way so as to cause danger or annoyance to another person using the train.
If you fail to comply with a direction given by a transit officer, you also commit an offence.
Power of arrest
Transit officers have the power to arrest you and take you to a police station if you:
- Behave in a disorderly manner (e.g. shouting, swearing, insulting other passengers, etc.).
- Trespass on Public Transport Authority property (e.g. taking a shortcut over the track).
- Damage any Public Transport Authority property (e.g. spray painting, kicking bins, smashing windows, scratching a window, drawing on a seat, etc.).
- Continue to do any act that is an offence after having been warned that the offence may result in you being arrested.
If you are arrested by a transit officer, do not struggle or make it difficult for the transit officer as you could be charged with serious offences. Never spit, push, shove or hit a transit officer as this is a very serious offence. If you do not like the way you are being treated, you can complain later.
Tickets and infringements
You must have a valid ticket to travel on public transport.
Transit officers and Transperth inspectors can issue infringements for not having a valid ticket or for any other actions which are against the Regulations (e.g. spitting, having feet on the seats, littering, smoking, drinking alcohol on the train or in the station, etc.).
Speaking to transit officers and Transperth inspectors
Sometimes it can be embarrassing and humiliating when transit officers or Transperth inspectors approach you and give you a warning or ask you for proof of your identity. It is very important to stay calm and be polite even if you feel you are being unfairly treated. If you are unhappy about how you were spoken to, or believe the officers behaved badly, you can make a complaint afterwards to the Public Transport Authority or the State Ombudsman.