Pets and Public Transportation

WHAT TO DO WHEN RIDING TRANSIT WITH CHARLEY


Riding transit with Charley has been quite an experience. I had to learn it all by a horrible chain of rudeness to small sympathy to flat out denied while dealing with this incredibly new issue introduced to me 

My last dog, LB JUNE, little pit Bull runt, 35 lbs, passed at 14, I HAD A CAR, I was living in a houses with a huge backyards, and friends that loved her and doggie sat if needed and we would have doggie play dates.

So now that I’m without a vehicle, live in a small studio in subsidized housing, AND in the armpit that’s smack dab downtown and my only transportation from town to town is public transit, or the shoe leather express. This really wasn’t an issue for me when I didn’t have Charley. Half the time I could
ride free, and always have my disabled bus pass that gives me a discount of half off. I was able to ride this or that bus, residential , commuter, train etc , night or owl as they call it, during rush hour without much thought. Didn’t matter at all except some of the routes are sketchier than others.

It dawned in me sometime in the early frustrating days with her ONE MAJOR THING. What is expected of me when I take Charley on public transportation? I’ve heard a variety of things and a variety of nothing.

So I’m going to just write down everything I’ve gone through with transit. The good and the bad. And sometimes it got ugly.
  • First time I actually rode with Charley was when I first got her when she was a puppy like six week-old in one of my bags. The bus driver didn’t notice until we were 2 stops away from home. Charley popped her head up and he kinda gave a weird look. Little did I know this was the beginning.
  • When riding transit dogs are to ride under the seat. No part should be in aisle.

This was learned getting in the bus and I was given a look of disgust by the bus driver. No words. He just watched as I put my money in . He then told me I owed 2.25 more. I showed him my disabled bus pass and he growled as to why I didn’t show that to him in the first place. I was puzzled because it was in my hand and I had showed him. He asked to see the expiration date on my card. I’ve never been asked that. He then did not believe it was me. I told him I’d shaved my head and it was just growing out in the picture. I was puzzled and taken back by what I thought mean behavior but boarded anyway. He looked like he was going to say more but kept silence. Not 2 minutes later a recorded message came over the intercom saying “at no time are animals allowed occupy a seat on transit.” I looked up and saw his eyes shooting daggers at me. Taken back I collected myself and said,” you couldn’t have told me that when I got on the bus?” He ignored me so I got up and stood behind the line and asked again. He said, “you can’t come up here. You have to stay behind the line! “. With covid going on nobody could even get 2 rows next to the driver. Me: “I’m not even near the line. I don’t know rules!? Why didn’t you say something when I got on? You didn’t have to broadcast this over the bus.” Then I asked why he was being so rude. He actually said to me, “you’re damn right I am! Your dog is supposed to be under the seat!” I said again I didn’t know that. I don’t know the rules. He acted like I had a bomb or something and told me to get off his bus. No joke. I got off, confused, fuming a bit, but I really was asking what are the rules. I didn’t feel as if I was threatening, or ANYTHING. I DON’T KNOW THE RULES!!!

  • If you’d like your animal to ride next to you, then a fare for two people would have to be paid
  • Even if your dog is sitting in your lap. Unless it is a service animal then it is allowed to sit next to you.

Those two little tidbits I gleaned from friends that are homeless and rode the bus, and friends that are in wheelchairs or legally blind. But it was mainly from my homeless friends because the other category told me they’ve never had a problem. I suppose because their disability was obvious whereas mental, PTSD, victim of abuse, anxiety disorders, phobias and everything else that isn’t in neon lights attached to your body is game for harassment. That’s what I was beginning to feel like. Like I was being harassed. I was starting to feel picked on, and actually my thoughts of lack of worth anything started creeping in and I actually started getting severely depressed and really angry.

  • I guess on commuter buses no animals of any kind are allowed on the bus AT ALL. IT’S BEEN LIKE THAT FOREVER

This was the real doozy. I found this one out when I went to get on the 512 because it pretty much is a straight shot from my place to where I had to go. Plus that bus is quieter than the regular transit buses for Charley’s sale and I was trying to get to PETCO before they closed because I’d promised her a new frisbee.

Well the bus pulled up. I had my pass ready, my money ready, my good treats in case she fussed the way there, was ready to have her sit by my feet. I was confident I had it all down. The door opened and this lady with an owl face looked at me as we started to board. She opened her mouth and said “no Pets allowed on the bus.” I was shocked. “What? When?” She said “it’s been that way forever. No Pets “. I incredulously told her that I have never heard that, this is the first time I had to deal with this. She just stared at me and said, “no Pets”, and shut the door and drove off. No flipping joke.

It happened one more time but this time it was 10:30 at night. I am a woman with a 7 month old puppy. Things in Seattle are pretty sketchy during this covid times. I happened to run into one of my homeless buddies, Justin, and told him that story. He said just tell them she is a service animal. They have to let you on. I told him she is registered, which she is. She just doesn’t have the vest.

The bus, 512 again pulls up. She said the same thing. “No Pets allowed”. I said she is a service animal. She said sorry, no Pets. I lost it. I told her this is the first time I’ve ever had to deal with this, that IT IS NOT POSTED ANYWHERE ON THE BUS. THERE ARE NO SIGNS ANYWHERE. I used to have a car, I no longer do, so I don’t know! WTF? There are signs saying to watch your back pack so it doesn’t hit anybody, but nothing about animals. I told her I wished she or somebody she knows becomes homeless and has to travel by bus! I was so angry She drives off and I threw a frisbee at the bus. I was livid. Absolutely angry.

I CALLED METRO. I WENT ON THEIR WEBSITE. THE GAL ON THE OTHER END COULDN’T FIND ANYTHING REGARDING PETS OR ANIMALS ON THE WEBSITE. SHE DID NOT EVEN KNOW THE RULES!!!!!

Charley is registered. I was able to go on USA Service Dog http://usaservicedogregistration.com and gave me even more ammunition in telling people that have denied me and Charley claiming no dogs allowed, etc. They can not deny if your animal is a service Dog.

I CALL THIS ANOTHER INSTANCE OF WAR ON THE POOR

Published by C.W.

A lot of things can happen in a half century. Life is so weird.

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