Pets onboard

Next month Red Deer Transit will see some new passengers of the furry variety.

Dogs and cats will be the latest riders to join the fleet and this concept should prove to be an interesting venture for the City.

While some residents may be up in arms about their four-legged passengers, we are looking forward to seeing how the latest pilot project pans out.

Cats and dogs will officially be welcomed onboard starting Aug. 4. The City will run the pilot project until Jan. 31.

Allowing small dogs and cats on City transit is an interesting concept. We understand that there are some Red Deerians who don’t have other options when it comes to taking their beloved pet to the vet or to the off leash parks.

However, for those who suffer allergies, it could prove to be a real problem especially if you are planted next to Fido on a long cross-City trip.

Yes, the City will try to minimize this impact to those suffering from allergies by only accepting small cats and dogs that are crated. But does that make a big difference with dander and hair that will inevitably float throughout the bus? This is just one of the questions that remains to be answered.

The City has also laid out a series of regulations that must be adhered to when bringing Fluffy on the bus.

Restrictions will be in place and include allowing only small dogs and cats, provided they are contained in fully enclosed, clean, hand-held crates appropriate to the animal’s size. All crates must have a solid bottom capable of containing any animal waste; crates must be small enough to fit on the owner’s lap and only one hand-held crate allowed per passenger. Passengers are also responsible for the safety of their pets and must hold onto crates at all times. If there is room on the bus, crates may be placed on the floor beside the owner without blocking the aisle or restricting other passengers. Transit operators may refuse trips if pets misbehave or pose a health or safety risk and when the bus is busy there may not be room for pets. Call Red Deer Transit to find out which trips tend to be busy.

Red Deer did not come up with the pets onboard idea originally, City officials have studied other municipalities who allow the same thing.

Officials with the City have said, if airlines can do it, why can’t we?

Ultimately Red Deerians should keep an open mind as some are quick to judge. Red Deer Transit hopes to garner more ridership by allowing cats and dogs on the busses.

We look forward to seeing what the outcome of the pilot project is.

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