Do pets on the bus cause problems? TTC offers London this advice

The London Transit Commission (LTC) is looking into the pros and cons of having pets on board the bus with the country’s largest transit authority offering advice on how to make it work. 

Animals have been allowed to ride with their owners in Toronto for more than two decades with few incidents, according to officials. In London, the current rules state that only service animals are allowed. 

“As long as people are managing their pets and minding them and making sure they’re not, you know, fouling subway platforms, it’s not really an issue for us. We rarely, if ever, get complaints about it,” said Stuart Green, spokesperson witih the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). 

He said it’s preferable that people not travel with pets during the peak morning and afternoon rush hours, but it is understood that pets are a part of many peoples lives. In some cases, he says they may be on their way to a veterinary appointment. 

LTC report due next month

On Wednesday, London resident Anna Maria Valastro submitted a proposal to the LTC board asking it to reconsider its current policy, which only allows for service dogs on the bus. She told them the policy discriminates against low income pet owners who rely on public transit. 

“In London, people just take it for granted that it’s a car city. They can just put their pets or their dogs in their car and, you know, go to the beach or go to the dog park. But that should be equal to people who don’t have cars,” said Valastro. 

“So for me it’s really an issue of equity. If you’re low income, the public transit system should be really public.” 

LTC’s corporate communications manager Caroline Roy said the commission has directed its administration to conduct a review of other agency’s policies. (Dave Chidley/CBC)

In response, the LTC board has directed staff to research how other transit authorities handle pets and to report back on the impacts next month.

It’s not known if the LTC will consult with Toronto, however in an interview on London Morning, Green offered his perspective. 

“I think my advice to the London Transit Commission, if I can give it, would be to make sure that you’re informing your customers,” he said. “Just let them know that this change is happening so that people don’t freak out when they see someone with a dog on a bus.” 

As for the types of pets the TTC sees, Green says there have been “exceptional cases” where a passenger had a pigeon on his shoulder and someone else had a crab in their lap. 

“We’ve had some oddities but I don’t even know that they’re actually pets. But our rule is that we’re quite accepting of animals.” 

London Morning5:37Should London allow pets on buses?

In Toronto, dogs are welcome on public transit, but so far they are not in London. London Morning checks in with the Toronto Transit Commission to find out more about its policy on pets.