Travelling with your dog on public transport

Lots of dog owners are familiar with taking their dog on holiday or for day trips in the family car, but perhaps not so many people consider the idea of taking their dog on public transport.  Can you even take your pet with you when using public transport? Holidays4Dogs finds out.

Dogs on Buses – This seems to be at the discretion of your local bus operator, so it is best to phone ahead first before setting off to catch the bus.  Generally speaking, dogs are allowed on buses as long as they are kept on the lead and not allowed to ride on a seat.  There may be a small charge for taking your dog on the bus, but support dogs will be allowed to travel free of charge and they are always allowed on buses.

Dogs on trains – National Rail allow pets free of charge (maximum of two per passenger) as long they are on a lead or contained in a suitable carrier and they do not pose a nuisance to other passengers on the train due to their size or behaviour.  Dogs are also allowed on sleeper trains but there is an extra charge for cleaning and they must be booked 48 hours in advance of your journey.

Dogs on the London underground – Dogs are allowed on tube trains, but they must be carried on escalators, so this is very dependent on the size of dog and the route you intend to take.  Support dogs can use escalators but owners must provide a pass to show that the dog has been specifically trained to use them.

Dogs in Taxis – There are many private taxi firms that only allow dogs in their cars at the driver’s discretion. It would seem that many of the companies local to me will not allow dogs in their cars for reasons of health and cleanliness.  However, all taxi firms must by law allow assistance dogs under the Equality Act 2006, unless they have an exemption certificate, (where for instance, the driver has been medically diagnosed as asthmatic).

Boats and ferries – If you are taking your dog abroad on a ferry he must be part of the pet passport scheme.  Dogs must stay in the car for the duration of the crossing, unless you have pre-paid for on-board kennel accommodation.  As a guide; prices start from around 16 pounds to take your dog to France and around 60 pounds return to Spain, if using kennels.  You should always check with the operator before travelling to make sure you understand all the rules of travelling on board with your dog and the charges involved.

Not quite public transport, but pleasure boat operators will again have their own rules about dogs on board – however, we have found that in-land river and canal way cruises as well as sea cruises around the coast of Britain are often amenable to carrying dogs as long as they are well behaved and on the lead.  Always check with individual companies beforehand.

Travelling with your dog on public transport can be quite an adventure, but unless you do your homework first, it could also end up being a bit of a headache. Some dogs, for instance, do not enjoy travelling on buses or trains, so if you intend to frequent public transport with your dog, try to get him used to it gradually by taking him on very short trips.  It is essential you keep your dog calm, under control and out of the way, so he needs to learn to sit quietly by your feet and this can often mean he will need to squeeze into a tight space – especially if the bus or train is very busy.

Once your dog is happy with this form of travel though, the sky is the limit and both you and your dog can enjoy happy adventures travelling to different places together – you could even stop off at some dog friendly pubs with no worry of having to drive home!