Public Transport and The Law
Disclaimer: The material in this factsheet is a general guide only. It is not legal advice. For legal advice about your own particular situation we encourage you to call the Free Legal Helpline on 1300 366 424. The legal information was correct at the time of publishing (January 2018), however may change without notice.
Ticket Inspectors and Police
When can a ticket inspector or transit police officer ask for my ID?
If you are on a public transport vehicle, platform, concourse, or other part of a public station and a ticket inspector or security guard or police officer asks to see your ticket, student identification card, or your concession card you must show them when asked – if not, you will get a fine. It’s also unlawful to give them a fake name or address, or a fake ID, or refuse to give these details.
Remember, if a police officer who is wearing plain clothes asks to see your ID, ask to see their official identity card.
If you don’t feel comfortable giving your details out in public, ask to go somewhere quiet or offer to write them down.
Do I need to travel with a student card to get cheaper tickets?
If you’re aged 15 or over you must have your student ID card with you while you travel if you want to buy to a student concession price ticket.
If you get Youth Allowance from Centrelink you can apply for a Transport Concession Card on the website www.sa.gov.au
What can a ticket inspector, security guard, transit police or Adelaide Metro employee ask me to do?
They can ask you to get off a public transport vehicle if they think that you have behaved in a disorderly or offensive way. You can also be banned from getting on public transport vehicle or a platform/station for a period of time, or asked to leave.
You can be told not to board or to leave public transport if you are drunk or drug affected so much that they think you might cause discomfort, offence or embarrassment to the other passengers, you are abusive or acting in a threatening way, the vehicle is full, they think that you’re not dressed properly or that your clothes might cause other people offence or are likely to get the vehicle dirty, or you haven’t paid the appropriate fare. If you don’t leave then you can be fined.
If you’re having trouble paying a fine, call the Legal Help Line for advice on 1300 366 424.
What happens if I don’t follow an instruction?
You can get a fine for not following reasonable directions of an employee of Adelaide Metro or a transit police officer while in a public transport vehicle or a platform or station. If you’ve been told to get off a public transport vehicle because you’re behaving in a disorderly or offensive manner and you don’t get off, then a police officer or someone working for Adelaide Metro (like a security guard) is allowed to use reasonable force to get you off the vehicle. If you think that someone has used too much force call the free Legal Help Line on 1300 366 424.
Behaviour on public transport
What can I can get fined for?
There are many things you can get fined for doing on public transport. Here are just a few: behaving in a way that is considered disorderly or offensive (this could be swearing, using loud voices, playing loud music, play fighting etc.), riding between carriages, drinking alcohol or having alcohol in an open container while on public transport, eating food or drinking on public transport unless you are stopping it from spilling, letting a part of your body or any other object stick out of a window or door, standing on a seat or putting your feet on a seat or placing a foot against a seat, getting on or off a public transport vehicle while it is moving, stopping or deterring another person from siting on an empty seat, littering, and many other things.
Can I get fined for mucking about at a station or bus stop, even if I’m not actually on the train or bus yet?
Yes. You can get fined or get in more serious trouble with police for behaving in certain ways while you’re at a station or waiting for public transport. Here are some things that you can get in trouble for: damaging or defacing (e.g. tagging) a public transport vehicle or any structure, equipment, sign or notice that has to do with a public transport service, riding a bicycle,scooter, skateboard, roller-blades (or similar) on a public transport station or platform (without the permission of the driver), throwing or placing objects that might stop or interfere with public transport vehicles, or mucking about with any structure, equipment, sign or notice that is designed to help keep the operation of public transport services safe. If you have to go to court and you are convicted of doing any of these things, you might have to pay compensation for any damage that you have caused.
Transit Barring Orders
What can I do if I’ve been given a Barring Order?
A ‘barring order’ means you’re not allowed to use public transport or be around public transport stations for a certain period of time. If you receive a barring order get legal advice so you can understand what you are specifically allowed or not allowed to do. It’s an offence to disobey a barring order.
Call the free Legal Help Line 1300 266 424 to check your rights.
The Legal Services Commission gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the National Children’s and Youth Legal Centre in allowing the Legal Services Commission of South Australia to use and adapt existing content.