An online petition is calling for TransLink to change its current pet policy so well-behaved dogs can travel with their heads exposed. The petition’s goal is to ensure the amendment to the policy will be discussed by Sept. 28, and that the petition reaches 5,000 responses by then too.
The current TransLink pet policy allows pets, but they must travel in an enclosed carrier that can fit on the person’s lap. Good behaviour for dogs can be defined as not annoying other passengers with growling, licking, or barking,
Pet owners who don’t have a car are limited in transit options in terms of where they can travel with TransLink, and have to resort to car hailing services like Uber or taxis to transport their pets —- but for a fee in addition to TransLink’s transit.
Paws en Route, a popular pet taxi company, charges their customers based on the same cost as a regular taxi ride. The overall cost of a taxi ride is $1.84 per kilometre in Vancouver. Double that to transport your pet.
If TransLink amends its pet policy, more pet owners would be inclined to use public transit to cut costs and emissions. The amendment would also help the City of Vancouver reach its goal of over 50 per cent of trips in the city to be by “foot, bicycle, and public transit.”
The policy amendment the petition calls for would also allow pet owners to travel to outdoor pet-friendly areas, bring their pets to see friends and family, and travel to a vet.
The current TransLink policy also states that pets are not allowed on HandyDART buses unless they are assistance animals. Bus drivers may refuse pets on board at their own discretion due to space limitations or passenger risks as well.
Pets should be allowed on transit as long as they are well-behaved. The environmental benefit of encouraging people to reduce their carbon footprints outweigh the manageable risks of allowing pets on transit.
Further amendments to the policy can be made to include no-pet spaces to accommodate for those with allergies, pet limits per bus, and require owners provide flea vaccination records. Owners could register their pets in advance if TransLink created a pet registration portal on their website with the Compass Card.
TransLink could create a pilot program for a period of time to test out the initiative with the amendment and receive feedback from riders in some transit areas. A pilot program could also be used to work out any safety or financial issues that may arise from these amendments.
Allowing pet owners to travel on public transit will contribute to a greener city, increased flexibility for pet owners, and a transit system that is in line with other transit systems across North America.