Wellington Scoop

More pets, less news

On the same day that dogs were allowed on to our commuter trains, the pages of the DomPost shrank to tabloid size.

While there’s a smaller-is-better (or at least cheaper) approach to news publishing, our transport bosses (the same ones who got rid of the trolley buses) have taken a small decision to expand the possibilities of public transport and make it a bit more user friendly.

Their new policy for train travel doesn’t only apply to dogs – any domestic pets can now accompany their owners on train rides. But only off peak, and only if they’re in cages or containers.

When the Regional Council’s decision was first reported, it seemed that the new travel policies wouldn’t start till mid-year. But today’s report says pets are now legal on trains and ferries – though not yet on buses. Hutt buses won’t be pet-friendly till the middle of June, and Wellington pets will have to wait till mid-July to take a legal (caged) bus ride.

In Auckland (where the Herald is already a tabloid), councillors were approving more expensive and more ambitious transport plans today – specifically, the new regional fuel tax and the government’s $28billion transport agreement which will help build light rail.

No such big spending yet in Wellington, though our light rail campaigners continue to explain why light rail is affordable, and would be better (in every way) than buses. And the rest of us are keeping up our expectations for the next episode in the LGWM saga.

No surprises from the DomPost – it’s been signalling its decision to shrink for quite a while. But it hasn’t been using the word tabloid. Its preferred description is compact.

Whatever you call it, the new reduced format has today earned praise from a couple of professionals:

And the new freedom for travelling dogs brought a happy response from a city councillor (though her facts weren’t quite right.).


  1. luke, 1. May 2018, 14:17

    not all of us appreciate there will be animals on the trains thank you. back to the car for me.

  2. Traveller, 2. May 2018, 8:59

    I would be happy to sit next to a small dog on a bus or a train. Not so sure about cats in cages, though.

  3. Simon Wilson, 2. May 2018, 9:59

    Dogs on buses? Anne Batley told the [Auckland] council that people on buses who are allergic to animals could wear masks, and former councillor Toni Millar said she prefers to carry her dog in a frontpack than a cage. Cr Cathy Casey had a dog with her and looked blissed out. [via twitter]

  4. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 2. May 2018, 10:27

    Hi Traveller, why are you ‘not so sure about cats in cages’ on public transport? For the record, we’d never transport a cat in a cage on the bus because such an action would be stressful for the cat, especially now dogs are allowed on public transport. For vet visits we always use a car or taxi, though these days some taxi drivers will reject carrying a companion animal even if it is a veterinary emergency.

  5. Andy Mellon, 2. May 2018, 17:26

    Crazy policy. Catering for a tiny minority. Forget about all the people who have allergies to cat/dog hair. Completely ignore the major issues with public transport for this kind of lunacy. Sigh.

  6. ProudKiwi, 3. May 2018, 14:28

    The article omits to mention what class of ticket is required for the transportation of these caged beasts. Are the fare paying customers expected to scrunch up to make room for the assortment of terrified felines, screeching cockatoos and burbling fishtanks? Lastly, will the bus driver make the bus kneel, and assist me to roll the cage aboard, when I take my pet goat to council meetings?

  7. Dave B, 11. May 2018, 13:19

    We used to take our cat to the vet in a special box with air-holes. Puss would not have been able to see if a dog was in the next seat so wouldn’t have been spooked by it. And the train staff didn’t even know it was an animal being carried. Worked fine.