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There's a petition to change TransLink's pet policy making the rounds right now

It already has over 700 of the 1,000 signatures needed.
Dog on a bus
A petition wants dogs to be allowed on buses in carriers, backpacks and tote bags.

A petition on is challenging TransLink to amend its pet policy to allow more flexibility and opportunity for people to bring their furry friends on board. At the time of publishing this, the petition has over 700 signatures and cites the New York City transportation policy as a model for the future of TransLink.

Currently, TransLink's policy is that all animals must be kept in clean, odour-free, handheld enclosed cages that don't have sharp edges and that don't leave any part of the pet exposed. They must be kept on your lap or on the floor out of the way of other passengers and only one pet is allowed per person. All pets with the exception of service animals are banned from HandyDART buses. Dog strollers are also not permitted on any transit.

The petition largely focuses on dogs and makes the case that dogs that are well-behaved and fit in a carrier, tote, or backpack should be allowed on public transit so long as they don't bother other passengers by growling, barking, or licking. This is also the policy in New York but the petition points out that other major cities like Toronto and Seattle allow well-trained dogs on transit so long as they remain on a leash.

Back in 2017, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation made a bid for TransLink to loosen the reins on their pet policy. The Parks Board thought that access to off-leash dog parks would improve if dogs were allowed on transit but TransLink held firm and the policy remains unchanged.

At the time, the Parks Board reported that 36 per cent of households owned dogs and since the pandemic that number has only increased with an estimated three million pets adopted in the last two years. Many people who got a pet during the pandemic are now having to come to terms with fitting it into their lifestyle which has led to a record number of surrenders.

The petition suggests that rising gas prices, the increased cost of living, and the increase in dog ownership are all reasons to revise the policy. Stating, "It's unreasonable to expect dog owners to own a vehicle or pay for a car hire every time they want to travel with their pet."

Indeed, democratizing access to the transit system so that it makes room for our four-legged companions may also decrease the number of surrenders.

You can view the full petition here.