Specific rules for dogs on buses
As I created the stir asking the City Council to consider dogs on buses, I thought I should try to explain my vision. I certainly do NOT want to do anything that would upset or inconvenience the present bus riders, and I also don’t like smelly, slobbering bus riders, human or canine. However, I can see responsible owners following specific rules that they have agreed to which enable them to be on buses without disturbing other human riders.
Pet dogs can and do ride buses in Snowmass Village, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and throughout most of Europe without any significant problems. The problem actually is not the dogs but irresponsible owners.
I propose that owners wanting to bring their dogs on buses pay a fee to get a pass and sign a strict agreement as to their and their dog’s behavior. For example: Dogs would only be allowed on short city routes and not at congested times or on full buses, not more than two dogs on any bus, owners sit in the back, dogs must stay on the floor and be leashed and muzzled, owners must clean up “accidents,” and dog and owner must leave the bus if there is any problem. The bus driver always has the last say. As routes are short, I would expect no accidents, and allergies should not be a problem. People with allergies could sit in the front of the bus. If an owner doesn’t comply, the pass is pulled, and the fee paid is not refunded.
With these restrictions only those owners who really want their dogs with them will be interested, and they should be happy to comply, while non-dog riders will feel reassured. Since our town is small, most people probably prefer to walk when they can and would only use the bus when needed. I, for example, would walk more if I knew I could take the bus home sometimes.
Perhaps I’m being naive to hope that people can be considerate and responsible and this can work smoothly, but I do think it is worth a trial. If we can make our buses accessible to more people without chasing existing riders away, why not try it instead of just saying no?
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