Ask-A -Transit Expert
Ask – A – Transit Expert: Problems/Issues Encountered Allowing Animals on Buses
Hello Transit Experts,
I hope you had a great New Year! We have a question out of The Town of Vail from Joyce Rihanek.
She writes: “Of those entities that allow animals besides ADA service animals on their buses, what type of problems or issues have they encountered?”
If you would like to share your policy or your advice with Joyce, you can email her directly atJRihanek@vailgov.com. Also, in our effort to provide a robust Transit Policy Library, I ask that if you are willing to share your policy/advice with Joyce to please copy firstname.lastname@example.org on your email so I may add it to the Library.
David Peckler, Town of Snowmass Village
“I have attached our policy. I will rewrite it to point out the Public Health would include allergies. We have not had any major issues with allowing animals on our buses. However, we operate on a short loop with smaller vehicles. This means that the animal may be on the bus for 20 minutes at the most and there would likely be less than 40 people on the bus. RFTA, as an example, could have an animal on the bus for over an hour and it could impact 60 or more people.”
Geoff Guthrie, Summit County
Howdy CASTA and Joyce Rihanek!
Beginning with the commencement of our winter season operations this year, we started allowing well-behaved, leashed pet dogs on our routes. We printed our simple rules in our bus schedules, and they are:
- Service animals and well-behaved dogs are welcome
- Dogs must be licensed
- Dogs must be leashed
- Dogs must sit next to or under the owner’s feet and are NOT allowed on bus seats
- Dogs must be out of the bus aisle
- Other pets are only permitted in a pet carrier
We have transported 391,004 people since our winter season operations began in November. Thus far, we have received ZERO complaints or concerns about anyone’s pet dog on the bus. Frankly, we look at the possibility of a nuisance animal no differently than we would anticipate a bus full of drunks, and our drivers know that if they encounter a pet dog that shouldn’t be on their bus, they have every right to request of the owner that the dog is removed from the bus. Our road supervisors are ready to address any problems like this but have only been dealing with the usual miscreant human crowd and no dogs.
Since we’ve changed our rules to allow dogs, we have received multiple compliments regarding this policy. Who doesn’t like dogs?
Jonathan Flint, Steamboat Springs Transit
We have stuck with the policy: “Service animals are welcome under Federal Transit Administration rules. Pets can only be boarded if they are in an airline-style pet carrier.”
Despite assurances of good behavior and “best intentions,” we do not trust the obedience of animals outside of a carrier. In addition, concerns of allergens and some people’s fear of animals are taken into account for non-working animals. We have received requests to relax our requirements here in Dog Fancy’s “Dog Town USA,” but have not done so and are not anticipating doing so. Our policy has worked well for the occasional trip to the vet’s office or other transportation involving an animal. I would estimate that we carry 5 – 10 carrier pets a year.
It would be cool to decorate a bus like Harry’s van in Dumb and Dumber, replace the flooring with AstroTurf, the seats with hydrants, and call it the Bow Wow Bus.