If you live in London or ever visit the Capital, you are able to take your pooch on the tube with you. London Underground allow dogs to travel on the entire tube network. The only proviso is that dogs must be carried on escalators to prevent injury to their paws. This means that owners of larger dogs will have to use the stairs in the stations if their pets are too heavy to carry. Not all stations have stairs and so it is important to research access before you set out.
Guide and assistance dogs are permitted to use the escalators as long as they have been issuedwith a pass that demonstrates they have been trained to use them safely.
Transport for London staff can refuse entry to your animal if they have safety concerns and you must be able to control your pet.
The New York Subway
So dogs are welcome on the London Underground but are a surprisingly rare site. The situation is very different in New York where dogs are frequent travellers on the subway but have recently been subject to new restrictions.
New Laws mean that New Yorkers are no longer allowed to take their pets on the subway unless they are "carried in a manner that would not annoy passengers. " In other words, dogs have to be carried in bags!
The law was passed as part of a clampdown by the Metropolitan Transport Authority to prevent larger dogs from travelling. However, the people of New York have refused to be foiled in their attempts to travel with their dogs. The law does not state a maximum size of bag that can be used so travellers are inventing ever more creative ways to get their pets onto the trains. This has sparked a social media frenzy with many pictures being posted of dogs in their bags!
Pet owners have managed to fit really quite large pooches into backpacks, holdalls and even those blue bags that Ikea offer in place of baskets. Commuters are enjoying the site of the dogs so much that they are photographing them and posting the pictures online. Dogs can be seen with their heads poking out of all manner of bags but some of their owners must be developing impressive muscles carrying them. A husky in a holdall is very heavy but these dogs have been seen in bags on the subway!
With dogs being carried in rucksacks, holdalls, tote bags, carrier bags and handbags, pickpockets now have to be more careful about trying to pinch wallets and mobile phones. Dipping into travellers' bags could see the thieves getting bitten!
Will Transport for London be tempted to adopt a similar policy? We hope not! The new rules in New York don't seem to have had any effect on the number of dogs travelling but have provided a great deal of entertainment for travellers. The dogs probably aren't quite as happy about those bags!