News from RNZ 
Domestic pets in cages are to be allowed to ride on Wellington’s public transport network from the middle of this year.
The Greater Wellington Regional Council Sustainable Transport Committee has today given the animal carriage proposal the greenlight, as part of changes being introduced as new operators come on board.
Currently, the conditions of carriage for passengers only apply to train services, but the council decided to apply them across all public transport services to avoid confusion.
That means domestic pets will now be allowed on off-peak services as long as they travel in a cage or some other container.
One councillor, David Ogden, thought the idea was barking mad and shared a constituent’s email raising concerns about the move.
“I love dogs, but they will poo on the bus, they will bark, they will run around on the bus, they will pee on the bus. Someone will get bitten.
“They will sit on seats and who is going to stop them. Which dogs can go on? The poor driver has enough trouble as it is.”
Mr Ogden said large transport problems were still unsolved in the area, such as those plaguing the Wairarapa train line, and the pet idea should never have been introduced. He said a large number of comments online were against the proposal.
But the committee’s chairwoman Barbara Donaldson said there would be measures to deal with unruly animals.
“People can be asked not to get on to the train or bus or to get off if their pet is causing a nuisance, maybe barking or sounding aggressive. But it is in its carrier, so the things he was talking about can’t happen,” she said.
Ms Donaldson said pets were part of people’s lives and it made sense to be able to take them on public transport. She said it was likely drivers would decide which pets could get on the bus.
Asked about people who might try and stretch the rules, Ms Donald said people were sensible and would know whether their pet carrier could fit in their lap. But she didn’t rule out the carriage of larger pets, such as baby goats, if they were considered to be a domestic pet and could fit in a container.
Most people RNZ approached on Lambton Quay agreed with the proposal, saying animals were parts of people’s lives and should be allowed on public transport as long as they were contained.
The ability to transport domestic pets will be rolled out as new transport contracts are introduced and will be in place across the region by the middle of July.