The Public Transport Ombudsman
The Public Transport Ombudsman provides a cost-free,
independent and accessible dispute resolution scheme.
We are able to receive complaints against operators of
Victoria’s public transport services, including complaints
about trains, trams and buses. We aim to resolve
complaints quickly and informally, and take into account
what is fair and reasonable, good industry practice and
The following information details when you can make a
complaint to the Public Transport Ombudsman, how to
make a complaint, and how the Ombudsman deals with
When can you complain to the Public
This section deals with the complaints the Public
Transport Ombudsman can receive. In general, the
Public Transport Ombudsman can receive most
complaints about the services provided by public
transport operators, provided they are members of the
Ombudsman scheme. Importantly, the operator must
have the first opportunity to resolve the complaint.
1. The Public Transport Ombudsman can only receive
complaints about public transport services provided
in Victoria. In addition, the public transport operator
must be a member of the Ombudsman scheme. The
current members are:
Bus Association of Victoria, which represents most
Connex, which runs the metropolitan train system
V/Line, which operates the regional train network
including some buses
Yarra Trams, the Melbourne tram operator
Metlink, which provides information, signage and
other transport-related services
Transport Ticketing Authority, which is responsible
for ticketing including the new myki ticketing system
Southern Cross Station Authority, and
VicTrack, which owns a number of critical rail assets
If you are not sure whether your complaint concerns an
Ombudsman scheme member, you can check with the
Public Transport Ombudsman. If we cannot deal with
your complaint, we will refer you to someone who can.
2. The Public Transport Ombudsman can deal with
most public transport complaints.
complaints about the provision or supply of public
passenger transport services, including cancelled,
delayed or early running services, and information
provided about public transport services
complaints about public passenger transport
vehicles, facilities and land, including concerns
about cleanliness, complaints about vehicle stops
and accessibility, and issues of graffiti and
complaints about tickets, including tickets sales,
ticket validators and vending machines, and ticket
complaints about the conduct or behaviour of public
transport staff including the conduct of authorised
officers and ticket inspectors, and
complaints about the use of land or premises by
public transport operators, including issues such as
station announcements, vehicle noise and
operations or activities that affect members of the
There are some complaints that the Public Transport
Ombudsman cannot investigate. This includes
complaints about ticket prices, transport routes and
service frequency, complaints referred to a court or
tribunal, government policies, matters that public
transport operators are required to do by law and
complaints about free school bus services.
Please check with the Public Transport Ombudsman if
you are not sure whether the Ombudsman can
investigate your complaint. If we cannot, we will refer
you to an agency that can take your complaint.
3. If you have a complaint about the operation of public
transport services, it is important that you contact
the relevant operator first. This will allow the
operator the opportunity to resolve your complaint.
The Public Transport Ombudsman cannot deal with
your complaint until this has occurred.
If you have a complaint and you have not contacted the
operator, you can ring 131 638 and speak to a Metlink
Customer Feedback officer, who will be able to assist
you with your complaint. Alternatively, the following
contact numbers can be used:
for Connex services, telephone 1800 800 705
for V/Line services, telephone 1800 800 120
for Yarra Tram services, telephone 1800 800 166
for bus and ticketing complaints, use the Metlink
number, 131 638.
If you are not satisfied with the transport operator’s
response, or you have not received a reply within 10
working days, or within 3 working days for very serious
complaints including disability access complaints, you
can complain to the Public Transport Ombudsman.
How to complain to the Public transport
The Public Transport Ombudsman provides a free and
informal service, and you can choose how you want to
lodge your complaint. You can make your complaint to
the Public Transport Ombudsman by telephone, on free
call 1800 466 865, or by TTY on 1800 809 623.
You can also make your complaint in writing to the
Online at www.ptovic.com.au
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail at Public Transport Ombudsman, PO Box 538
Collins Street West, MELBOURNE VIC 8007
Fax on 03 8623 2100
How the Public Transport Ombudsman
The Public Transport Ombudsman acknowledges all
complaints received, usually within 2 working days of
receipt. If necessary, we will clarify any matters in your
complaint, ask for any additional information you might
have, and check what it is that you want as an outcome
of your complaint.
The Public Transport Ombudsman will also check that
the transport operator has had a chance to consider,
investigate and respond to the complaint.
Sometimes, where the issue is straight forward, and if
you agree, we will refer your complaint back to a senior
officer within the public transport operator to resolve
directly with you. For these matters, you will receive an
acknowledgement from the senior officer within 24 hours
and a full response in 7 days. The Public Transport
Ombudsman monitors these complaints, and is provided
with full advice about the outcome. If you are not
satisfied with the advice you receive from the transport
operator, the Ombudsman is still able to investigate the
Where the Ombudsman investigates your complaint, the
transport operator will usually provide all relevant
documentation and other information to the Public
Transport Ombudsman within 14 days.
Where necessary, we will research relevant laws or
industry practices, and obtain information from others
who can assist in our investigation.
Our first aim in investigating complaints is to seek a
resolution which is agreed on by both the complainant
and the public transport operator. The resolution that you
reach will depend upon your and the transport provider’s
individual requirements, and may be influenced by a
variety of factors, including how you believe the alleged
events have impacted upon you. The PTO attempts to
resolve each complaint on an individual basis by taking
into account the circumstances of the events which led
to the complaint.
The Conciliator who handles your complaint will discuss
with you the possible options for resolution of your
complaint, and will assist you to clarify which option you
believe may be most appropriate for your circumstances.
The Conciliator will not tell you which option, or options,
you should decide upon.
There is no obligation on the transport provider to agree
to any specific suggestion resolution, and it is important
that you remain flexible in your requests and
Resolution of a complaint may involve the transport
Providing an explanation for an event
Giving information relating to an event or incident
Providing details of a company policy or operational
Making an apology or expression of regret
Giving some form of compensation, financial or in
Waiving or amending a charge for a service
Performing corrective or other work, or
Doing, or stopping doing, something
During an investigation, the Public Transport
Ombudsman may suggest that you to go through a
conciliation process with the transport operator. This is a
voluntary process, which may include a meeting or on-
site visit, which can assist in the resolution of your
If you are satisfied with the outcome of the investigation
of your complaint, or the Public Transport Ombudsman
assists you to reach agreement on an appropriate
resolution of your complaint, your complaint will be
finalised. Details of any agreement will be confirmed with
both parties, usually in writing.
If you are not satisfied with the proposed resolution of
your complaint, and the Public Transport Ombudsman
believes there is sufficient information to support a
continued investigation of your case, the investigation
will be continued.
If, as a result of the investigation, the Public Transport
Ombudsman concludes that your complaint cannot be
supported, the reason for this conclusion will be
explained, and your complaint finalised.
The Public Transport Ombudsman has the power to
make a decision that is binding on the transport
operator. The Public Transport Ombudsman will provide
you and the transport operator with written reasons in
support of a binding decision. The Public Transport
Ombudsman will also publish binding decisions on the
website. A Binding Decision is based on what is fair and
reasonable, taking into account good industry practice
and the relevant laws, and is binding on the transport
provider only. You may accept the decision, which will
finalise your complaint, or reject the decision, and, if you
choose, take further action in another forum.
Review of PTO Decision
If either a complainant or public transport operator is not
satisfied with the handling of a complaint by the PTO,
they may formally request a review of the PTO decision.
The request should be made in writing within 14 days of
notification of the PTO decision, and include reasons for
The review will be conducted by the Ombudsman.
Outcomes may include determining that no further
investigation is required, or re-opening the complaint to
carry our further investigation.
Both the complainant and public transport operator will
be advised of the outcome of the review.
If you require any further information about the Public
Transport Ombudsman, or if you need information to
make a complaint about a public transport service or
operator, you can ring the Ombudsman’s office on 1800
466 865, email the Ombudsman at
email@example.com, or write to the Public
Transport Ombudsman, PO Box 538, Collins Street
West, MELBOURNE VIC 8007.
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Ph: 1300 367 055