The above video from KOMO in Seattle has been making the social media rounds today and is well worth a look. As you will see, a dog — minus its owner at times — has learned how to board a bus and ride to its favorite dog park.
But here’s the thing. The rules on King County Metro in the Seattle area are different than Metro. On our system, dogs and pets must be in carriers, as per the Metro Code of Conduct. Service animals and police dogs are allowed on board as long as they’re leashed.
King County Metro’s rules, from their website:
Why the difference between the two agencies?
The main difference is size. King County Metro is certainly a big agency and averages about 317,000 boardings on weekdays on its bus system, according to the latest American Public Transportation Assn. ridership estimates. On the other hand, Metro has about 1.08 million weekday bus boardings. Let’s face it: space on our buses at peak hours is often at a premium, which isn’t an ideal condition for dogs. Or riders.
I think the other issue here is — and there’s no way to skirt around it — is that many of us own dogs that can’t be counted on to always play super nice with others. Or perhaps they play in a way that can be best described as “completely crazed.” Which is to say that as much as I love my pit bull mix Blue (a rescue), I’m not too keen on trying to take her on a bus or train and seeing how she would cope with another doggy passenger. And I wouldn’t want to frighten or make another passenger uncomfortable.
One other thought: Metro’s bus operators are already working in a very busy environment between dealing with traffic and passengers. Adding dogs to the mix and making operators play Judge Judy as to which gets to board and which are left at the curb doesn’t seem like an additional duty needed at this time.
All that said, kudos to Seattle for pulling it off — they’re more exception than the rule when it comes to transit in the U.S. and it’s nice to see it can be done. Potential Pacific Northwest emigrants take note!
Categories: Policy & Funding