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Pets on Board to continue

Fluffy and Fido may continue to ride in style on Red Deer city buses.

Fluffy and Fido may continue to ride in style on Red Deer city buses.

Red Deer Transit manager George Penny has asked the city to allow small pets to ride on buses permanently after a successful three-month trial run.

Last summer, the city unleashed its Pets on Board program that allowed small pooches and cats to board buses in hand-held crates.

The city already allows service dogs on board.

The pilot was a step forward in the plan to make Red Deer more pet friendly.

Penny said they heard from happy passengers who were able to take their pets to the veterinarian and other appointments.

He said the city did not receive any complaints.

“I was expecting a few complaints,” said Penny.

“When I was in Calgary, there were a couple complaints about allergies but we never heard any complaints about that.”

Penny said there was one incident where a passenger was allowed to bring her pet on the bus on one run and then refused on the next run.

Penny said the bus driver was not briefed correctly in that situation.

He said the trial period also allowed the city to ensure bus drivers knew what was expected.

Penny said no official statistics were kept on the number of animals commuting and their frequency.

Bus drivers did not report any problems.

“We have to enhance people’s experience on transit,” said Penny.

“This is part of that. We’re trying to get people out of cars. We’re trying to put them on transit. It gives them the ability to do things that we all experience.”

Penny said the pilot is now over and he feels that it should continue because of the positive feedback. Penny said the rules were very similar to those in other municipalities across Canada.

Penny has made a formal recommendation to the city manager. City council should hear the proposal in the coming weeks.