February 23, 2020
Can I take my pet on public transport?
It’s a simple question, but unfortunately one without a straightforward answer.
For those of us who don’t have a car, and need to travel with our pets on public transportation, it can seem unfair that our pets are restricted from using the bus, train or tram with us.
According to this study almost two-thirds of Australia’s population owns a pet. Moreover, the percentage of people that have had an animal companion at some point is 90%, so it’s safe to say that Australians love their furry friends!
Whether we care for dogs, cats, or even goats and exotic pets like reptiles, we have to provide them with whatever they need, from water bowls to large feeders, and this sometimes means using public transport too.
Here are some of the rules according to each state.
According to the Transport ACT website, registered assistance animals with appropriate qualification and registration are allowed to travel on buses and light rail vehicles. They are required to be on a lead at all times, and wear an identifiable coat where applicable. Companion animals are allowed to travel on light rail vehicles as long as they are contained in a secure pet carrier and can be transported without disrupting the safety or comfort of other passengers.
Further Reading: www.transport.act.gov.au
New South Wales has some of the clearest rules on travelling with pets. Please note that approved assistance animals are allowed on all public transport in NSW.
It’s better news for companion animals in NSW as they may be allowed to travel on buses, ferries, light rail and in a taxi (if it is confined in a box, basket or other containers) as required by the NSW Passenger Transport Act and regulations.
However, permission is still required by staff or the driver.
For more information, visit: https://transportnsw.info/
Hearing, guide or assistance dogs are only allowed on buses. All other animals are prohibited.
Tassielink Transit is the most extensive bus network around Tasmania, passengers are asked to call 1300 300 520 to enquire about transporting pets. No enquiries are required for seeing or hearing guide dogs or Police dogs.
The Spirit of Tasmania allows dogs, however, it is a requirement that pets travel in a Spirit of Tasmania kennel. The kennels are located on ventilated decks, but during sailing, access to the kennels is not permitted. There have been mixed reviews about this service for pets.
Companion animals are not allowed on any services in Queensland, however, there are some exceptions such as assistant dogs, hearing and guide dogs that are trained and certified are permitted. Animals that also meet the assistance requirements as outlined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 with a TransLink Assistance Animal Pass.
The ‘Dogs on Ferries’ trial started on the 9th of December 2019 and allows pet dogs on the Brisbane ferries including CityCats – conditions apply.
Accredited assistance animals, like guide dogs, can accompany a person with a disability on all forms of public transport. Read more here: https://www.sa.gov.au/
Regarding the Adelaide Metro, the rules state that ‘People must not, without the permission of an authorised person, bring an animal onboard a regular passenger service vehicle unless it is a working animal accompanying a person with a disability’.
If you have an assistance dog trained by certified organisations you are able to travel on any Transperth service. However, no other animals are allowed on any of their services or facilities.
For more information visit: https://www.transperth.wa.gov.au/
You can bring dogs and some other animals with you on public transport under certain conditions. Dogs are allowed on metropolitan trains, if they are wearing a leash and muzzle.
Guide dogs, hearing guide dogs or guide dogs in training can travel for free on all public transport services.
You can travel with an Assistance Animal Pass if you need a trained assistance animal to help you use public transport. To receive a pass, you’ll need to show that your assistance animal is trained to help you manage your disability.
Metropolitan trains, trams and buses
If your animal isn’t a guide dog, hearing guide dog or guide dog in training, and doesn’t have an Assistance Animal Pass, it may still be able to travel with you on public transport.
Small animals can travel with you on trains, trams and buses in a suitable animal container.
Dogs can travel with you on trains, as long as they’re on a lead and wearing a muzzle. If you bring your dog on a train you must:
- clean up any mess your dog makes
- make sure your dog doesn’t sit on seats, or block aisles and doors
- keep your dog under your control at all times
- avoid travelling on weekdays between 7am and 9am or 4pm and 6pm.
Animals other than those in a suitable animal container, or dogs on a leash and wearing a muzzle, are not allowed on trains. Only animals in a suitable animal container are allowed on trams and buses.
V/Line trains and coaches
You can bring small animals on V/Line trains in an suitable animal container. Suitable animal containers must:
- be no more than 56cm long, 30cm wide and 38cm high
- weigh a maximum of 15kg, including your animal
- allow your animal space to comfortably stand up, lie down and turn around.
- Only one container is allowed per customer.
You can put your animal container in the luggage van of Loco-Hauled trains or inside the passenger cabin or bike and luggage storage area of VLocity and Sprinter trains. V/Line conductors will confirm if there is enough space for small animals. Conditions apply.
Animals are not allowed on V/Line coaches, including rail replacement buses unless they’re a guide dog or have an Assistance Animal Pass.
So, in answer to the question ‘Can I take my pet on public transport?’
It seems that the options are limited because of the restrictions that we need to abide by, like special carriers or the fact that dogs may need to wear muzzles.
People that don’t drive or do not have a car are left with little alternatives when it comes to transport.
That’s why you should always check a transport company’s regulations before taking a trip, in order to make sure you can travel together with your dog or cat. This way you can prevent any unpleasant incidents.
Australians are not alone. Many citizens from all around the world face similar situations and our society needs to compare the advantages and disadvantages of allowing pets on public transport, in order to come up with a solution that ensures safety and comfort for all of us while we use public transportation.