I’m an adamant mass transit user due to the fact that I don’t own a car. I also enjoy the benefits that are associated with riding mass transit such as the fact that I save googols amount of money. Nevertheless, it becomes a bit of a problem when your best friend wants to go on a long journey across the city to maybe enjoy some new sites. By the way, my best friend has four legs, a long tail, and a constantly sniffing nose. Her name is Tia and she is a bridle colored Greyhound. For an owner without a car, it becomes a bit of a challenge to take your cute pooch to a dog park say 3 miles away. This may be within walking distance for some, but others are not as walk savvy as others. But wouldn’t it be great to be able to bring your faithful companion along with you on our mass transit? I mean c’mon, they let others who are not nearly as we’ll behaved or hygienically prone individuals on, why not our twinkling eye cuties. Some transit agencies are taking steps toward that direction. For example, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has dog parks on their three terminals http://skyharbor.com/customerservice/pets.html . As an owner to a large (very large) dog, I appreciate this facility and would be more apt to use the phoenix airport due to this convenience (that is, if I lived in Phoenix). However, when it comes to mass transit, I don’t find much support for our furry friends. However, there are exceptions; Cities like San Francisco, CA; Put-in-Bay, OH; Boston, MA; and Nantucket, MA all have pet friendly policies that allow all dog sizes unto their transit, other transit such as Gainesville’s Regional Transit (RTS) in Gainesville Florida have a cage policy which serves to house small dogs while boarding the bus. That’s great (except when your puppy weighs 72.5 lbs and is waist high on all fours) and is definitely a step in the right direction (BTW, RTS is doing a lot of great things in Gainesville so this is by no means a negative criticism towards them). There are transit agencies that have pet friendly policies, and are showing that our faithful companions pose no problems to our commuters. With responsible rules in place, I feel our bundle of furry goodness can and should be allowed on our public transit, especially in today’s day when transit (finally) is starting to get some popularity. This popularity is indicative of the fact that people from all walks of life will start to rely on more on transit to supplement their transportation needs. That includes joggers, business men (and women), students, and pet owners. It’s time that our transit agencies start thinking about policies they can implement
that would facilitate dog ridership. Such policies could include: Pet fare, muzzle for larger dogs, leash policies, pet ID, pet training, etc. It can be done! I guess it’s just a question of whether transportation agencies thinks it’s worth their time and effort and whether it would increase ridership. I can’t answer that question without further study, but I can answer this, as an owner to a large (very large and absolutely amazing) pet, I would most certainly welcome better pet policies in America’s mass transit system. Who knows, maybe some transportation officials will see this blog and change their ways. Or maybe, just maybe, some transportation agency will want to hire me after I finish my graduate studies to tackle this issue and create pet friendly and innovative solutions to this problem/opportunity for greatness. What do you think?