Travelling with your dog is never easy – whether it’s a long trip cross-country or overseas, or even just a quick commute in and out of the city, dog-owners often run into the problem of not having an easy way to get from Point A to Point B with their pooches in tow. Commuting with your pup becomes particularly difficult when you realize just how hard it is to find public transit that lets you bring your pets on-board. This summer, however, Toronto and GTA dog-owners had the chance to test out public transit with their dogs in a totally welcoming environment! The GO Train launched a pilot project earlier this year, spanning the course of the summer, which let commuters travel on the GO Train with their dogs! For those of us that find travelling around the city with a dog and without a car to be a challenge, this was huge news! We were very interested in the results of this very promising pilot project put on by the GO Train so we decided to chat with one of the commuting dog-owners that took advantage of the temporary policy change to see how it all went down. Cam and his dog, Maverick, seemed rather impressed with how the project unfolded:
Have you and Maverick ever travelled on a train or any other form of public transit together before? Was this new for Maverick?
Maverick has taken the TTC streetcar before but it was more than 6 years ago. So I would definitely say this was a first for him.
Were you and Maverick the only owner and dog on board at the time? How was it interacting with the other passengers?
We were the only owner/dog on the train car we were on. There were a few passengers who approached us and asked about maverick and two little boys who wanted to pet him. When we got off the train on our first ride to Barrie there were 2 labs that were on different cars.
How did fellow passengers react to Maverick? I can't help but imagine a couple smiling faces in the crowd seeing a dog on public transit.
There were definitely people who were happy to see him. He’s a big dog and a breed you don’t see too often so people are always interested in asking about him. But that being said there were also people that I could see who were confused as to why such a big dog was on the train.
How did Maverick react to being on the train? Was he nervous/overly excited?
After Maverick realized that he couldn’t put his head out the window he was great on the train. He laid down at my feet in-between the seats.
Was the journey comfortable enough for travelling with a dog? Was there enough space for Maverick to feel at ease? How did you find navigating the commuting crowds?
The travel was very easy and comfortable. We travelled later at night and very early in the morning so crowds on the train were definitely smaller and made it very easy to be comfortable. In the future I would try to avoid rush hour travel times with a large dog just because of space and not everyone is comfortable with big dogs.
What were the best and worst/most challenging parts of trying out this GO Train pilot project with Maverick?
There were no negative aspects to the travel on the GO Train with Maverick. The experience was very easy, relaxed and simple. The only negative is the pilot project has now ended.
Could you see yourself bringing Maverick on the GO Train regularly if it were to be permitted in the future?
I would absolutely use the program if they allowed dogs in the future. It was such an easy way to travel in and out of the city without a vehicle.
The GO Train is one of Toronto’s most popular options for getting into, out of, or around the city. With such a positive experience from commuters like Cam and Maverick, it would definitely be a great option in the future for dog-owners that feel trapped without the ability to travel with their dogs. While this particular pilot ended on October 15th, we can only hope that the positive response of people that took part in the project and brought their pups on-board will be enough to push for a permanent change in the GO Train’s pet policy. It would definitely make the commutes – and the lives – of dog-owners in the city a lot easier and a lot brighter. Can you imagine having the opportunity to bring your best friend with you for one of the most tedious parts of the day? We sure hope that this pilot project is brought back to the GO Train and maybe even other public transit systems in different cities in the future!
And don’t forget – a few Northern biscuits are a great way to help keep your dog calm and happy on your travelling adventures, so be sure to head to northernbiscuit.ca to check out our entire selection of tasty treats for your pup!