If you’ve noticed some creative pet owners lately on the subway, you’re not alone. In reaction to the October 2016 transit rule banning animals on the subway (except those confined in small travel kennels, service dogs, or those accompanying officers of the law), passengers took to social media documenting what constitutes a proper “container.”
Out of necessity, New Yorkers have to take their pets on public transportation – but that doesn’t mean it’s always permissible or easy.
Taking Your Pet to the Vet
We happily offer house calls to pets who require wellness exams and/or attention to illness or injury. If your pet needs certain tests or treatment, we’ll transport him or her back to Animal Kind.
That being said, however, many pet owners decide to take their pets on public transportation for various veterinary services. According to the MTA, pet owners must carry their pet “in a manner which would not annoy other passengers.”
Larger pets are technically not allowed inside a subway station or on the platform without the safety of a travel kennel.
The MTA recognizes a service dog as a guide or signal dog that benefits a person with disabilities (such as impaired vision, hearing, or mobility). This term does not explicitly include therapy or emotional support animals.
Tricks and Tips
Before we get into the rules and restrictions, consider our tips for taking pets on public transportation:
Closely observe your pet’s behavior. Is he or she socialized and comfortable with unpredictable experiences? Strangers, loud noises, speed, and strange smells can quickly lead to a stressful situation.
Assemble your pet carrier, if necessary. Have a leash and a backup on hand.
Gather your pet’s medical records and have a copy of current vaccinations.
Don’t forget healthy treats, comforting toys, and water.
Who’s Your Mascot?
It’s easy to assume that Greyhound bus lines would accommodate dogs, but unless you have a service dog, you’re out of luck. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act supersedes all other rules pertaining to pets on public transportation. Indeed, only service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners on bus lines unless they are kenneled.
There is Hope
There are special rules for Amtrak train-traveling pets:
Cats and dogs cannot exceed 20 pounds when inside the approved kennel.
There is a $25 fee for each pet, one pet per passenger.
Excluding service dogs, there can be only 5 pets per train (make reservations early!).
Pets must remain inside a kennel at all times, stowed securely beneath the passenger’s seat.
Pets on Public Transportation
The Metro-North line does allow pets on leash, but they must not bother other passengers or take up valuable seats. Otherwise, in-kennel pets and service dogs are always welcome.
Taxi drivers can pick up pets and their owners, but it’s up to the individual’s discretion. If your pet is contained or sweetly standing next to you, you may have a better chance at getting a cab.
If you have additional questions about how to handle pets on public transportation, we hope you’ll reach out to us. Good luck!