Should you be able to take your pet on ACTION buses? Greens and RSPCA say ‘yes’

Tim Benson 4 May 2018 60
Outgoing ACT RSPCA CEO, Tammy Ven Dange, chook in carrier and ACT Greens spokesperson for Active Transport, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, at RSPCA Canberra to support a trial for pets on ACTION buses.

Outgoing ACT RSPCA CEO, Tammy Ven Dange, chook in carrier and ACT Greens spokesperson for Active Transport, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, at RSPCA Canberra to support a trial for pets on ACTION buses. Photos: Supplied.

The ACT Greens want ACTION buses to trial allowing passengers to travel with their pets.

ACT Greens spokesperson for Active Transport, Caroline Le Couteur MLA and Outgoing ACT RSPCA CEO, Tammy Ven Dange, held a joint media conference yesterday (3 May) to support the change.

At the media event at the RSPCA in Weston, there was a demonstration of how cats, dogs and chickens would travel in pet carriers during a potential trial.

The intention is to bring ACTION buses in line with recently introduced ACT legislation to allow pets on light rail.

Pets on public transport

We are LIVE from RSPCA ACT in Weston Creek with Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur Member for Murrumbidgee and RSPCA CEO Tammy Ven Dange who are sharing their thoughts on why they have called for a trial to allow pets to travel on ACTION buses.

Posted by The RiotACT on Wednesday, 2 May 2018

ACT Greens spokesperson for Active Transport, Caroline Le Couteur, said, “Our public transport system should serve the needs of the public. As most Canberrans do own a pet of some kind, it must be as convenient and accessible as possible to travel with them.”

Currently, Canberrans cannot take animals onto a bus without permission, with exemptions in place for assistance animals or guide dogs.

ACT Greens spokesperson for Active Transport, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, ACT RSPCA CEO, Tammy Ven Dange and ACT RSPCA puppies.

ACT Greens spokesperson for Active Transport, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, ACT RSPCA CEO, Tammy Ven Dange and ACT RSPCA puppies.

ACT RSPCA CEO, Tammy Ven Dange, said, “There are some great examples around the world about how people and animals can be transported on the same sort of transport, without any kind of issues for the animals or humans.”

In March, Wellington Council (NZ) decided that any animal that could be considered a domestic pet would be allowed on off-peak services for free – provided they were in a suitable carrier that could fit in the luggage areas or on the owner’s lap.

Taking this into account, as part of the trial proposed by the ACT Greens, domestic animals would be allowed on ACTION buses as long as they were secured in an appropriate carrier and there was no impact on the safety and comfort of other passengers or the driver.

“Canberrans can travel with their pets on light rail. The Government should look to close this obvious gap,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“From an environmental perspective, it’s also important that we do all we can to encourage more Canberrans to shift away from car use.”

In late 2014, the Transport and City Services Directorate conducted public consultation on a proposed code allowing pets to travel on public transport. The recommendations of the consultation showed strong community support for the proposed changes.

But not all Canberran’s are in favour with Canberra disability advocate, Christina Ryan, calling for the trial to be abandoned, stating that it is hard enough for people with electric wheelchairs to currently navigate buses without having to deal with a menagerie of animals as well.

RSPCA CEO, Tammy Ven Dange, didn’t see this as a problem.

“There are two entries on buses and there is a practical way to manage this for everyone,” Ms Ven Denge said.

Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur said there were also benefits for older Canberrans.

“Older members of the community often rely on public transport, and pets can be helpful for a person’s mental and physical health, particularly as we get older. We need to assist in making it as practical as possible if a person needs to take their dog to the vet, or would like to take them to the local dog park in a nearby suburb,” Ms Le Couteur said.

Animal Medicines Australia Executive Director, Ben Stapley, welcomed the ACT Government’s introduction of legislation to allow pets on light rail and the ACT Greens’ proposal to extend this to ACTION buses, but wants the ACT Government to go further.

He said that ‘strata and rental laws should also be structured to encourage pet ownership, so the many health benefits of ownership can be realised’.

He also advocated for the right for people to take their pets to work.

“Walking the dog to the bus to get to work can only benefit a health system that is already under pressure from having to deal with lifestyle diseases because of inactivity,” Mr Stapley said.

MLA Le Couteur said there were complex issues with pets in apartments but was supportive of Canberrans being able to take their pets to work … stay tuned.

Do you think Canberrans should be able to take their pets on ACTION buses and light rail?

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60 Responses to Should you be able to take your pet on ACTION buses? Greens and RSPCA say ‘yes’
Tobias Olney Tobias Olney 8:02 pm 12 May 19

I fully believe that dogs should be able to ride on action busses and light rail. It is impossible for me to take my dog to the vet or even if I can ride down with her running next to my bike I can’t get her home if she’s been under anaesthetic. I’ve managed to bluff my way on by saying my dog is a companion animal once when I was really desperate and she just sat quietly next to me, no carrier needed because she is well trained. I don’t want to have to bs my dog onto the bus every time I need to take her somewhere. Also I suffer from major anxiety and my dog is my only friend. She gets me through everything. How do I get a card to allow her to accompany me on the bus like quite a few older ladies do? My dog is quiet and responsive to all commands. I find it very hard to be away from her. Little help?

gooterz gooterz 10:39 pm 06 May 18

The whole carrier thing is a joke. No one is going to use one. No bus driver is going to argue.
Are drivers going to be paid extra to clean the bus?
What about passengers that have pet allergies?

We live in a society where people will change their kids in the middle of a shop and hide the dirty nappy behind stock / leave on fresh produce stand.

How many food stamps does it cost to catch the bus these days?

    Maya123 Maya123 10:40 am 07 May 18

    gooterz wrote,”The whole carrier thing is a joke. No one is going to use one. No bus driver is going to argue.”

    How do you know this? I can very much see the drivers banning animals, as they do now, without carriers. Unless they are support animals. They are allowed on now.

    “How many food stamps does it cost to catch the bus these days?”

    A bit below you to catch a bus, is it?

Mia May Mia May 10:00 pm 06 May 18

They allow dogs on buses in Europe without a problem. I’ve been there multiple times and used the public transport, along with the dogs without a problem. Humans, on the other hand...

Gay Robertson Gay Robertson 4:39 pm 06 May 18

No, for many reasons & particularly so that bus drivers don't have the burden of determining which animals can/can't get into their vehicle. This seems to be such a ridiculous issue to be advocating for!

Stephanie Kam Fong Mei Stephanie Kam Fong Mei 1:10 pm 06 May 18

Absolutely NOT!

Kev Renfrew Kev Renfrew 5:35 am 06 May 18

No, Public transport is for people. Why are we humanising animals ? It's difficult enough tolerating some humans on public transport.

Magarac Singh Magarac Singh 10:32 pm 05 May 18

No pets on buses - how will asthmatics like my husband travel otherwise?

Melissa Lewis Melissa Lewis 9:51 pm 05 May 18

My daughter and I are severely allergic to cat and dog hair. As a single unemployed parent, we both have to rely on buses as I can’t afford to own or run a car. Please say no to allowing animals on buses.

Maya123 Maya123 6:57 pm 05 May 18

When I have seen dogs travelling on public transport in Europe, all of the dogs either sat on the floor, or the owner spread a blanket on the seat for the dog to sit on. I was worried about the German Shepherd sitting under the seat in front near my legs, but it behaved. However, it was mentioned here this would only be for small animals and carried in a pet carrier.

NM ORourke NM ORourke 6:35 pm 05 May 18

I have dogs and I'm saying no as there are people that have allergies to animals, it also means the pet carrier will be on the seat next to the person and so 1 less seat

Julia Ross Julia Ross 5:56 pm 05 May 18

NO!! There would be some disgusting person that would allow their pet to use the bus as a toilet, or allow them to sit on the seat so the next person person to sit there is covered in pet hair. This would be awful for people allergic to animal hair. I would not want to ride on any public transport that stinks of dog or cat. Why should the driver have to clean up after someone's bloody animal.

    Magarac Singh Magarac Singh 10:33 pm 05 May 18

    I certainly wouldn’t want to arrive at work covered in someone’s car hair.

    John Moulis John Moulis 7:01 am 06 May 18

    ... or to arrive at work (or anywhere else) with dog sh*t on my shoe.

David Brown David Brown 3:13 pm 05 May 18


Pat Murray Pat Murray 1:25 pm 05 May 18

Snakes on Buses!

Gonnie Kelly Gonnie Kelly 12:49 pm 05 May 18

No they should not let pets on public transport . I have a fear of animals and dont trust people to do the right thing with there animals. To keep them under control

Lauren O'Hara Lauren O'Hara 11:59 am 05 May 18

I'd love to be able to do my morning commute with a coffee in hand - if we can't get that sorted, what hope do we have for pets?!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:07 pm 05 May 18

    In a reusable cup naturally😏, not a wasteful disposable cup. Or I hope.... 🙂

    Lauren O'Hara Lauren O'Hara 12:08 pm 05 May 18

    Julie Macklin, of course! KeepCup for the win!

Isabella Goyne Isabella Goyne 8:41 am 05 May 18

I don’t know, obviously some people will be responsible but I don’t know if everyone will. Also what about allergies, pets soiling themselves (those carriers aren’t always water tight), animals becoming frightened, animals escaping on a crowded bus, biting, noise... I can understand making compassionate exceptions to the no animals rule in some cases, but I’m not sure if this is something that should be encouraged.

Faith J. Humphries Faith J. Humphries 7:55 am 05 May 18

No! Not all people are responsible pet owners & do the right thing.

Steven Catanzariti Steven Catanzariti 7:44 am 05 May 18

Of course they would say that. How bout if people have allergies to cats or dogs??? Here comes more PC

Rhonda Maree Rhonda Maree 7:15 am 05 May 18

I for one will stop using buses if this happens yes im not an animal lover

Rhonda Maree Rhonda Maree 7:13 am 05 May 18

No. Some people have severe allergies to dog and cat hair.

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