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I wrote to the Public Transport Ombudsman to have them review this mess I’m in. Their reply is, as received via email on the 4th of October (2005), as follows:

Dear Mr Tregaskis

The Office of the Public Transport Ombudsman has been established to
receive, investigate and facilitate resolution of complaints against
providers of public transport services in Victoria. However, the
jurisdiction of the PTO does not extend to matters required by
legislation, including fines.

If you believe that the decision to issue the Infringement Notice you
have received is inappropriate, or that the Department of Infrastructure
has not adequately considered your request that the Infringement Notice
be reconsidered, I would suggest that you re-contact the Department of
Infrastructure - Infringement Administration at Level 6/80 Collins
Street, Melbourne 3000, and request a review, or further review, of the
Notice.

Alternatively, you may wish to seek independent legal advice. Should
this be the case, the Law Institute may be able to assist you in
locating a suitable legal advisor.

With regard to the prescribed penalty amount of $150.00, this is a set
penalty and there is no provision for a reduction of this penalty as you
have suggested. The decision to increase the prescribed penalties from
$100 to $150 was made by the Victorian Government. If you believe that
these penalties are inappropriate, I would suggest that you contact your
local Member of Parliament.

I trust that this information is of assistance to you. Thank you for
contacting the PTO.

Regards

Kerry Free
Conciliator
Public Transport Ombudsman

Not so helpful, really. And this is despite the fact that this page on the DOI’s website specifically lists the responsibilities of the Ombudsman as:

The Public Transport Ombudsman hears complaints relating to matters such as:
failure to provide services
fares and ticketing
conduct or behaviour of staff members
use of public transport land or premises

Of course, the “official” PTO site has in it’s “what’s not handled by us” section the following:

Matters that are required by legislation.

So all right, I guess it is there. Nonetheless, my legal advice indicated this was a valid route to pursue.

So there goes that option. I think I’ll write to the PTO again and request compensation or other action against Yarra Trams for their B.S. service. That should at least piss them off a little, although I don’t doubt the PTO will ignore the request. Still, they did reply to my original complaint promptly enough, which is saying a lot for a government entity (which they really are, despite their claims otherwise; someone has to be paying them).

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