One of the public speakers at today’s TransLink board meeting requested the public transit authority to reconsider its policy with pets onboard transit.
Margaret Halsey, a resident of New Westminster, told TransLink’s board of directors to allow all dogs to ride transit, except during the busy peak hours.
She also suggested that dogs would be required to wear a muzzle and a jacket, which would reduce the potential spread of allergens. Such a dog-friendly policy would begin as a pilot project.
“Not everyone likes dogs, and there’s some people who are allergic to dogs and are afraid of dogs, so changing the policy has some challenges and hurdles to clear,” said Halsey.
“Yet small dogs in cages and service dogs are allowed on transit now, and those with allergies and fears have found a way to ride transit safely, and in other cities they have been able to do it.”
She says transit systems in Seattle, Calgary, Toronto, and many other cities in North America and Europe already allow dogs on transit with no restrictions, apart from peak times.
Currently, TransLink’s pets policy allows small dogs, cats, rabbits, and small fur-bearing or feathered animals on transit, but they must be contained in small, hand-held cages. Larger dogs are allowed only if they are assistant animals, however, they need to wear a harness and be leashed.
Halsey addressed the possible scenario of a dog defecating on a bus by suggesting that only responsible dog owners who have trained their pets would take their dogs on transit, and they will “be prepared to clean it just as they would outside.”
The possibility of urination was not discussed.
TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond responded to her recommendation by stating that the public transit authority is already in the process of examining its pet policy.
“We are really working diligently in understanding what is best for the system and our customers, and we will be bringing back to our board soon on any changes to our pets on transit policy,” he said.
Haley said she first brought up the idea to TransLink four years ago.
About a year ago, the Vancouver Park Board recommended that pets should be openly allowed on public transit to increase access to its off-leash parks.