Public Transport Offences
1. Travelling on buses
For any of the following offences a person can be fined up to $360:
- not having a valid ticket on each bus trip;
- having a valid ticket that is damaged; and
- using a concession ticket when you are not a concession.
2. Offences on buses
A person commits an offence when they are on a bus if:
- they put a foot on a bus seat;or
- they prevent a person from being able to sit on a bus seat; or
- they spit when they are on the bus; or
- they throw something in the bus or from the bus; or
- they drink alcohol or have an open container of alcohol on the bus; or
- they eat and drink on the bus when signs say you cannot; or
- they litter on the bus; or
- they use offensive language; or
- behave in an offensive way; or
- behave in an aggressive way; or
- they interfere with someone else’s’ comfort or safety on the bus.
For these offences the maximum amount you can be fined will vary from $181 to $360.
It is also an offence to travel with your animal on a bus without permission. It is not an offence to travel with a guide-dog or assistance animal if you are a person with a disability.
3. Travelling on Light Rail
When travelling on the Light Rail you must:
- Have a valid light rail ticket for each trip;
- Not damage your ticket; and
- Only use a concession ticket if you are a concession.
You can be fined up to $360 for failing to comply with these requirements.
4. Light Rail Offences
A person commits an offence if they:
- put their foot on a light rail seat;
- spit on the light rail or at a light rail stop;
- use offensive language on the light rail or at a light rail stop;
- behave in an offensive or aggressive way on the light rail or at a light rail stop;
- get in the way of a light rail door;
- get off the light rail while it is moving;
- throw objects on or from the light rail;
- drink alcohol or have an open container of alcohol on the light rail or at a light rail stop;
- eat or drink on the light rail when there is a sign saying you cannot eat or drink; and
- travel with an animal that is not confined in a box, basket or other container.
Fines for these offences will vary from $181 to a maximum of $360.
5. What do I do if I receive a fine on public transport?
If you receive a fine on public transport you must take action within 28 days. If you do not you will be sent a reminder notice and charged an additional $34. You will then have another 28 days to take action.
When you receive an infringement notice for a public transport offence you can:
- Pay the fine in total;
- Dispute liability for the fine in writing;
- Apply to pay the fine by installments through an infringement notice management plan (INMP);
- Ask for the fine to be withdrawn;
- Apply for a waiver of the fine; or
- Apply for more time to pay the fine.
You can pay a public transport fine online at the Access Canberra website here: https://form.act.gov.au/ smartforms/landing.htm?formCode=1009-action
6. Applying for withdrawal of the fine or an extension of time
You can apply for the withdrawal of a fine or an extension of time to pay the fine at the Access Canberra website at this link: https://form.act.gov.au/ smartforms/servlet/SmartForm.html?formCode=1305
Reasons a fine may be withdrawn include:
- Administrative or technical reason outside of your control — this means that the ticket machine was defective or broken;
- The infringement ticket issued to you contains an error;
- You can provide a statement explaining the type of concession that you have;
- You can prove that you paid for your ticket;
- You can prove that the ticket machine was faulty and you took reasonable steps to obtain a ticket;
- You can prove that you were eating or drinking for medical reasons;
- You can prove that the animal was guide dog or assistance animal; or
- You can prove that you were in the 90 minute window.
7. Applying for a waiver
You can apply for a waiver of a fine at the Access Canberra website here: https://form.act.gov.au/ smartforms/servlet/SmartForm.html?formCode=1305
If you apply for a waiver of a fine you will need to provide evidence that:
- you cannot pay the fine; and
- you have special circumstances (eg disability, homelessness); and
- enforcement action (like suspension of your licence) is unlikely to make you pay) and
- you are not able to complete an approve community work or social development program.
8. Applying for an INMP
You can apply for an INMP to either:
- Pay your fine in instalments; or
- Enter into an approved community work or social development plan.
You can apply for an INMP on the Access Canberra website here: https://form.act.gov.au/ smartforms/servlet/SmartForm.html?formCode=1305
For more information on how to apply for an INMP see our Factsheets on:
- Apply to pay by instalments; or
- Completing a work or development program.
9. Disputing liability
You can apply to dispute liability for a public transport fine online at the Access Canberra website at this link: https://form.act.gov.au/ smartforms/servlet/SmartForm.html?formCode=1305
You will need to provide the reasons why you dispute liability and evidence supporting your application. You should only dispute liability if:
- you were not responsible for the infringement; or
- there was no infringement.
If you choose to dispute liability it is possible that you will have to go to the Magistrates Court to sort out the matter. If you lose your dispute you might be convicted of an offence and required to pay the additional costs of going to court.
10. Apply for more time to pay the fine
You can apply for an extension of time to pay your fine here: https://form.act.gov.au/ smartforms/servlet/SmartForm.html?formCode=1305
You can apply for an extension of time to:
- pay the fine;
- apply for a waiver of the fine; or
- enter into an INMP.
If you apply for an extension of time after 56 days has passed (28 days +28 days), you will have to explain your special circumstances that stopped you from applying for an extension of time previously.
The material in this fact sheet is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this publication without first getting legal advice about their particular situations.
If you would like more information, please contact Street Law on (02) 6218 7900 or email@example.com. Street Law is a program of Canberra Community Law Ltd.
© Canberra Community Law Ltd. Not to be reproduced without permission or acknowledgement.
Last updated: 20 May 2021