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Ticket to Ride: Pets on Public Transport

pets on public transport

So you want to take your pets on public transport. It makes sense if you live in a major city. It’s inexpensive and gets you where you need to go. But are your pets allowed? What are the rules? Here’s everything you need to know about pet-friendly public transportation!

Traveling by Subway

When it comes to traveling by subway, there are definitely some rules you need to follow if you’re going to bring your pets along for the ride. The first rule is just because you see someone else bring their pets on public transport, that doesn’t mean you can bring yours. Many dogs you see on the subway are service dogs and protected by the American Disabilities Act. However, many subway systems are pet-friendly public transportation.

Each city’s subway system has a different set of rules that you need to follow. For example, in New York City, pets must be in a carrier and carried in a way “which would not annoy other passengers.” In other words, keep your animal in a carrier on your lap or on the floor — not on the seat next to you.

In short, before you head to the subway with your pet, familiarize yourself with your city’s rules.

Traveling by Train

Good news for fans of pets on public transport! Amtrak allows small animals on their trains. And of course service animals are always allowed. Amtrak is definitely pet-friendly public transportation, but you’ll need to follow a handful of rules:

  • Only one pet may travel with each passenger.
  • It’ll cost your dog $25 to ride.
  • Only four pets are allowed on each train and it’s first come, first serve.
  • Pets with carriers cannot weigh more than 20 pounds.

Looking for other ways to travel with pets on public transport? Try local trains! These modes of transportation are frequently pet-friendly. 

Traveling by Bus

Counter-intuitively, Greyhound does not allow any pets on board. Not even Greyhounds! They do allow service animals. However, your local city bus system may prove to be more pet-friendly public transportation! Generally buses ask that you follow these rules if you bring your pets on public transport:

  • Pets don’t require a carrier, but they must be leashed.
  • Lap pets ride for free while larger pets will cost the standard fee.
  • Pets may not sit on seats and can only sit on your lap or on the floor.

Other Tips for Pets on Public Transport

Follow these additional tips if you plan on bringing your pets on public transport:

  • Have your pet wear a collar and ID tag in case you two get separated.
  • Microchip your pet. Microchips are the only permanent form of identification and serve as a backup in case your pet slips out of their collar.
  • Socialize your pet and train them in basic commands.
  • Look up what kind of carrier you need. Some pet-friendly public transportation requires you use a hard carrier or muzzle.
  • Bring treats. It never hurts to bribe your furry friend to encourage good behavior!
  • Make sure your pet is healthy and up to date on their vaccinations. Keep your pet’s health records on hand.