Can You Take Your Fur Babies on Public Transport in Australia?

Can You Take Your Fur Babies on Public Transport in Australia?
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You may have heard the recent updates from NSW Transport regarding pets and travel on ferries. The news on this front is that as of July 1, NSW Transport staff will be enforcing policies regarding the presence of pets on ferries.

Animals are permitted on the public transport service, but they must be kept in some form of container during the travel period. That means, no dogs on leashes allowed. It is also a requirement that travellers attain permission from the ferry staff or driver to bring pets on board.

This does not pertain to assistance animals, but does apply to “therapy animals, facility animals and emotional support animals,” the NSW Transport website reads.

It has been reported that fines of up to $550 can apply if rules are broken. The news and corresponding signage have left locals pretty peeved with some even kicking off petitions in response, reports say.

We reached out to Transport for NSW about the updates, and a spokesperson gave the following statement:

Dogs are not banned on ferries. When travelling on ferries dogs must be in a box, basket or other container, unless they are an assistance animal. This is not a new policy but will be enforced from July 1.

So, now that we’re learning about restrictions on pets on ferries what are the broader rules in this space?

I took a quick look.

Here’s a breakdown of pet transport rules across Australia

New South Wales:

In NSW, pets are permitted on busses, ferries, light rail and taxis. However, in each of these cases, the same rules apply as listed above.

The website states that:

  • The animal must be restrained in a suitable box, basket or other container at all times while on board.
  • The driver or crew may refuse to allow the animal if the service is reaching capacity.
  • Animals that are not clean, appear vicious or likely to annoy, threaten or inconvenience other customers will not be allowed.
  • Animals are not allowed on seats and must not obstruct passageways.
  • You should keep your animal away from other travelling animals to ensure the safety and comfort of other customers and pets
  • On ferries, animals should not travel in the enclosed ferry cabin areas, unless the vessel does not have an outdoor area or it is unavailable.

Pets are not allowed on metro trains, trains, coaches or the stations connected to all three.

“Assistance animals with a valid form of accepted accreditation are allowed on all public transport in NSW.”

Victoria:

In Victoria, any Assistance Animal (guide dog, hearing dogs or those in training) are able to travel on all public transport – with accreditation.

Small animals are permitted on trains, trams, buses and V/Line trains if kept in an animal container. Dogs are able to travel on trains as long as they have been fitted with a lead and muzzle. Further rules regarding dogs on public transport include a requirement that you:

  • clean up any mess your dog makes
  • make sure your dog doesn’t sit on seats, or block aisles and doors
  • keep your dog under your control at all times
  • avoid travelling on weekdays between 7:00 am and 9:00 am or 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.

With V/Line trains specifically, it is asked that your animal containers do not rest on seats, block doorways or passageways. It’s also specified that you may not bring dangerous animals on board, which we kind of hope is the case everywhere.

Queensland:

TransLink Queensland specifies that dogs are permitted to travel on Brisbane River ferries, including CityCats. Restrictions ask that you stick to the following periods: 8.30 am – 3.30 pm and 7:00 pm – 6:00 am weekdays, and all weekend.

Additional rules include travellers:

  • ensure their dog is on a lead and wearing a muzzle, or in an enclosed carrier
  • remain outside the ferry cabin and maintain control of their dog
  • carry waste bags and clean up after their dog.

South Australia:

Adelaide Metro’s website states that “People must not bring an animal on board a regular passenger service vehicle unless it is an accredited working animal accompanying a person with a disability”.

Western Australia:

TransPerth states that pets are not allowed on public transport services unless in cases where you’re travelling with an Assistance Dog trained by Assistance Dogs Australia, Lions Hearing Dogs, Seeing Eye Dogs Australia, VisAbility, Guide Dogs Australia and affiliated bodies or approved by the Department of Local Government.

Australian Capital Territory:

Transport ACT states that accredited Assistance Animals, guide dogs or animals assisting people with disabilities, or animals training to be assistance animals are permitted on buses and light rail vehicles.

Beyond that, the website states that “Animals (including pets) that are confined in a box, basket or other appropriate pet container are permitted on light rail vehicles and are permitted on a bus with the driver’s permission”.

Tasmania:

Lifehacker Australia understands that in Tasmania, public transport providers, including taxis, must accept assistance animals.

We have reached out to Metro Tasmania for further details and will update accordingly.

Northern Territory:

The NT Government website states that “Hearing, guide or assistance dogs are only allowed on buses. All other animals are prohibited”.

What’s the deal with Uber Pet?

If you’re concerned about bringing your fur baby around with you, some cities do have Uber pet services in place. If you’re booking a ride, simply select the ‘Uber pet’ option on your app and you’ll be matched with a driver who is willing and able to pick up both you and your pet. This will result in a small surcharge of about $6 to $7, Uber statements read.

This service is currently available in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle, Hobart, Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Geelong, Wollongong and Darwin.

Worth noting here that as with many of the conditions with public transport, those travelling with assistance animals do not need to use Uber Pet. Regular Ubers will travel with service animals.

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