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lyonscj

Need money, MTA? How about letting leashed dogs on the trains?

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Boston has been doing it for years, with no problems. They don't charge extra, but Seattle does, for people bringing leashed dogs onto buses and streetcars. Works great, as it has all over Europe, in Australia, and in Toronto Canada.

 

I seriously think this could generate tens of millions in yearly revenue, and would cost very little to institute. A Proof-of-payment system, such as is now being used for the Bx12 Limited bus could be employed. You pay your dog's fare at the MetroCard (or in this case MuttroCard) machine, get a receipt, and show it to any official person who asked--or face a fine.

 

There are many potential objections, sure--but if Boston can do it, why can't we? Here's an blog article I wrote, dealing in some detail with the idea.

 

http://washingtontykes.blogspot.com/2008/11/muttrocard-idea-whose-time-has-come.html

 

Tweak the existing machines, slap up some notices in the trains and platforms regarding the new policy and the rules governing it, get some free coverage (and great PR) on the local and even national news--is it that easy? Probably not, but obviously it's doable--whatever Boston can do, we can do.

 

Does the city council have to approve it? I have no idea, though I do believe such a policy could be implemented through the city council. I don't know if the MTA could do it on its own. The MTA does allow leashed dogs on the Metro North, which has many stations within the city limits. I've taken my own 60lb Shepherd Mix on the Hudson Line many times, and there's never been a problem.

 

So I'd love to hear some intelligent criticism, but please no "Are you crazy?" type comments. This is not some revolutionary new idea. New York subways are the exception worldwide in not allowing dogs, except in a container--we're the strange ones. And since pets are already allowed in containers, which have to be well-ventilated, allergies are not a valid issue to bring up. Neither are phobias. It's public transportation, and we're scared of a whole lot of things--it's no excuse for keeping people who pay fares and taxes from getting to bring their dogs onboard. New York City dogs are incredibly well-behaved by and large, and people wouldn't be bringing problem dogs on the trains.

 

There is also the safety issue, of course--the trains would be a lot safer, late at night, if people could bring their big dogs along with them. Nobody's getting mugged on the car with the big friendly Rottweiler.

 

No, it wouldn't work during rush hour--and it doesn't have to. Offpeak hours only. Dogs can cope fine with a somewhat crowded car--this is probably the most socially adaptable species on the planet we're talking about.

 

Would there be problems? Sure, but nothing compared to the problems we're about to face as a result of the financial shortfalls. Which this scheme could do much to alleviate. It's worth a try, surely. MuttroCard!

 

:)

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Considering the MTA would lose more in the suits than they would earn, no.

 

This may be the first time I agreed with Kamen Rider. :)

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What about the costs of implementing this system? They have enough spending as it is. No need to add another cost to the Capital budget.

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They don't have lawyers in Seattle and Boston? Or anywhere else in the world where leashed dogs are allowed on trains? They do, and yet for some reason, it's a non-issue there, and there have been no serious problems.

 

I got mugged on the #4 train years ago--do I get to sue the MTA for allowing poorly socialized people onboard? :)

 

So lawsuits aren't really a valid issue--you might as well say people could sue the city for allowing dogs within the city limits, everytime they got nipped by a passing pooch. The Parks Department formally instituted Offleash Hours in many parks, from 9pm to 9am--been about two years now since they did that--and ten years as an informal policy before that. Show me ONE lawsuit resulting from that policy change. God knows, the dog-haters said they'd happen, and that there'd be all kinds of horrible attacks, and we'd all rue the day, and guess what? Hugely successful policy. The attacks didn't happen. You know why? Dogs LIKE people. I know, it's crazy, but they just do. Go figger.

 

Now, as to what it would cost--well, what WOULD it cost? You write a little software for a special dog fare (no more than what you pay for an adult human, maybe a bit less), and for people to get a receipt printed out to prove they paid for their dogs. Tweaking the machines would be easy--geez, the MTA does that every time they raise the fare.

 

Promoting it would be a cinch--this is a dog-crazy town, and the news broadcasts and papers would be all over it. Doesn't cost much to print up some notices and billboards for the trains and stations.

 

There are 250,000 LICENSED dogs in New York City. There'd be more if the Board of Health didn't do such a crappy job with applications (takes forever). Probably more like a million dogs in the city and bordering areas. Not all those dogs are going to ride--but if just a significant fraction of them did, the revenues could be huge.

 

Aside from the revenues (which would outstrip the costs by a huge margin), there would also be great PR for the MTA, at a time when people are just peeved as all hell at them for the budget crisis. People love dogs in this country, and are rapt with attention at any story dealing with them. You want proof? Take a look at the cover of The New Yorker this week.

 

C'mon, you can do better than this. Give me something REAL. B)

Edited by lyonscj

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Let me ask a specific question--does anybody here know whether the MTA could, if it so desired, unilaterally decree that leashed dogs are allowed on the trains? Is it their call?

 

I would assume that charging an extra fare for leashed dogs would involve at least some government oversight, but I really don't know. I don't know how it came to be that the Metro North allows dogs without a container. The fact that they do, along with the fact that dogs are currently allowed on the subway if they're in a container of some kind, pretty clearly demonstrates that such a policy change wouldn't violate the health code.

 

I realize nobody here may know the answer either, but I thought it was worth asking.

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Currently only helper dogs are allowed in the Subway. IMHO it's fine like that.

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FYI, dogs of any kind are currently allowed on trains if they're in a 'container'--no further specification--

 

Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subdivision, no person may bring any animal on or into any conveyance or facility unless enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers.

 

http://www.mta.info/nyct/rules/rules.htm

 

Gee, it's nice to know it's against the rules to annoy other passengers. I'll be sure to bring that up the next time I'm annoyed on a train. :)

 

It may not be fine with you, but would you stop riding if you saw the occasional leashed dog onboard? Nobody asked me if people could bring full-sized bicycles onto the trains during rush hour. I don't like it, but I can live with it. I get that there are other needs besides my own. And you need to get that subway riders with dogs pay taxes and fares, just like everybody else. If you can bring (for example) large bulky shopping bags on a crowded car during rush hour, why is that less annoying than my handsome friendly Shepherd Mix on an offpeak train? Many people would be delighted to see him--he's got no end of admirers in the neighborhood, and he's made a fair few conquests on the Metro North as well.

 

This would benefit a huge number of people (and animals), and could help ease the budget crisis, which would mean a lot fewer people being annoyed (and worse than annoyed) by cuts in service, maintenance, etc.

 

You think it would be a problem, but in practice, it never is. Not in Boston, Seattle, Melbourne, Toronto, Paris, London, Berlin, Milan........

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As a person who has trained and raised many dogs, i can say that this would be a bad idea for nyc aside from LIRR and MNRR. The tramway allows leashed pets.

 

Dogs may seem harmless to some folks, but they are very sensitive & complex creatures. Last thing you want is your beloved "rover" to go deaf from one errant brake pad making that wonderfully shrill noise or something else happening, even if no lawsuit applies. Maybe some time in the future, but not now.

 

- A

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Dogs are indeed sensitive and complex--and we're not? Why allow small children on the subway, if it's such a hostile environment? They are surely more delicate than your average urban mutt.

 

I find it curious that you think they risk deafness by going on the subway, when in fact guide and assistance dogs, not to mention bomb-sniffing dogs, not to mention dogs in bags and crates (which are not soundproofed in either direction), venture into the bowels of the subway every single day. I've NEVER heard of a dog suffering injury or illness as a result. It probably happens, but not reason to think it's any more likely than a human suffering injury or illness. Perfect safety does not exist, for anyone.

 

What dogs are, above all else, is adaptable. That's how they were able to follow us to every corner of the world, helping us settle places like the Arctic circle, that would have otherwise been impossible for us to live in. If they can make it all the way to the North Pole, I don't think the #1 Train is out of their range.

 

"Maybe sometime in the future"--yeah--like NOW. They are allowed on subways all over the world--they're allowed on the Boston 'T'. The MTA can use the cash that a 'MuttroCard' program could generate. And how many dogs have to put up with substandard veterinary care--or none--because their owners can't afford a car, or cabfare, on top of the doctor bills?

 

If a dog isn't well-suited to subway travel, he'll let his owner know it, and he won't be on the subway. People who care enough to go to the trouble of bringing their pets on the trains (and paying for them) will be sensitive to the needs of their companions.

 

Dogs are allowed on the Roosevelt Island Tramway? I had no idea--why would arguments against dogs on trains apply any less to that conveyance? Seems to me that would be a MORE risky place to bring a dog. But people living on the island do need to be able to get their pets to and from the mainland. Query--what happens when the Tramway is shut down for repairs? Then the subway is their only option.

 

The LIRR only allows small dogs in containers at the present time--only the Metro North allows larger dogs on leashes.

 

Why don't you read through my blog article and make a more careful critique? I'm sure there must be genuine drawbacks to my idea (which is hardly an original idea), but I've yet to read any here.

 

http://washingtontykes.blogspot.com/2008/11/muttrocard-idea-whose-time-has-come.html

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AWWang, I do agree dogs could enhance security on the trains to some extent, but it's asking a bit much for them to both detect danger and to convey it to their owners without both having undergone some training. You never know, but it's not something I'd put forward as an argument. I think there are more than enough arguments for leashed dogs on the trains already. What's been lacking is the will to change a policy that should never have existed in the first place--I think the idea of a 'MuttroCard' could help provide that. But nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

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What I'd like to hear is FACTS. Whether they support my idea or not. This is really a political issue, more than anything else. As I say in my article, lawmakers don't really believe this would cause serious problems--they just worry it would lose them votes. It might gain them votes too, of course. But until such time as it becomes a heavily debated public issue, why rock the boat?

 

Well, because the MTA needs every revenue stream it can find right now, or we're all screwed. That's why. :)

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Have you copyrighetd MuttroCard yet?

 

Also, you should be multi-quoting, not posting twice or more in a row. Click this button at the bottom of each post you're responding to before submitting them.

 

multiquote_off.gif

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I see your opinion, but I fail to see how allowing dogs would really benefit the system. That will raise a whole new issue- what about cats? Should someone pay for a toy dog in a purse as well as a huge Rottweiler on a leash?

What dog owner will really wish to pay for their dog?

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Yeah, I know. Even with a billion bucks budget gap. The (MTA) still, still, still is buying new technology trains... Why not just fix the old ones... :), LOLz, B)!

 

Because sometimes it makes more sense financially to just buy something new over repairing something.

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Dogs take up space for people on an already overcrowded system, and seeing the way some pet lovers treat their animals, talking to them as children, it won't belong before people are fighting for seats for their pets as well at the expense of their fellow passengers. Dogs can also bite, but more importantly go to the bathroom, and if a train gets delayed, well now you have a dog "going" on someone's leg if it's crowded or at the very least, leaving a filthy stink that some poor cleaner is going to have to take care of at the end of the line (and they say they want fewer cleaners in the system, btw). And small dogs are a risk to get stepped on by other passengers which also creates an issue, particularly if it causes passengers to fight. As a dog is physically incapable of swiping it's own Metrocard, you now create delays at the turnstile where a dog has to have its fare paid by the owner, and if you're thinking of some kind of RFID mechanism where the dog could walk through a doggy gate well then a) it's not on the leash walking through the gate and :) the gate would take up space used for human entry/exit.

 

Additionally there is added exposure to lawsuits if a dog gets caught in closing subway doors, goes onto the track and is electrocuted, or goes onto the track and is hit by a train...and this will also cause system delays. You may think this can be covered by requiring the dogs to be on a leash, but remember you are dealing with the public and the public is stupid - they will let go of the leash momentarily to get their iPod, or they will place the leash around something "secure" only to find out it's not that secure.

 

So the answer from me, is a resounding NO

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I see your opinion, but I fail to see how allowing dogs would really benefit the system.

 

Then you don't see my opinion, but that's okay.

 

That will raise a whole new issue- what about cats?

 

Already allowed--in containers. It's a rare cat that can be walked on a leash, and since even the largest cat can easily fit in a highly portable bag or crate, it's not an issue with most cat owners. I mean, you understand it's an entirely different species, right? :)

 

Should someone pay for a toy dog in a purse as well as a huge Rottweiler on a leash?

 

The rules regarding animals in containers should remain the same. This would be a new policy, relating to dogs on a leash.

 

What dog owner will really wish to pay for their dog?

 

Seattle dog owners do it every day. I'd do it--all the NYC dog owners I've talked to about it would do it. You don't seem to understand--we DO pay--through the nose--for taxis. If I want to take Max to Van Cortlandt Park for a long walk in the woods, that's a 40 dollar round trip. If he had to go downtown to the Animal Medical Center to see a specialist, that's another 35-40 bucks, on top of the (huge) vet bill. And even though he behaves perfectly in a car, it can be hard to find a cab that will take a dog--with yellow cabs it's almost impossible. Livery cabs are easier.

 

There is a huge multi-billion dollar industry set up in this country just to cater to people with dogs. Believe me, we shell out for our pooches. I don't consider Max a possession. He's as important to me as any human person. He's opened up my life in a variety of ways, as did my previous dog Peggy, who introduced me to my significant other. I only have a short time to spend with him, because of the shorter lifespan--I bitterly resent having to choose between his company and being able to travel around my city. I'd consider it a privilege to be able to ride the subways with him, and show him places he's never seen--something he'd appreciate, because he's a curious intelligent social animal, who loves new experiences. And many people would find their lives enriched by meeting him.

 

Cats are different--they either want to stay at home, or to prowl around on their own. You don't bring a cat on a train unless you have to--for your average dog, it's an adventure. Dogs are the Starfleet Animals. They want to seek out new lifeforms and new civilizations, and boldly go where no dog has gone before. B)

 

I feel passionately about the subject, obviously. I look at what people in Europe have, and feel envious--they allow dogs in restaurants and markets and some of the most luxurious hotels. And on trains and buses--and the result is that people are encouraged to get dogs who are friendly and social, so that they don't miss out on all that.

 

It wouldn't just benefit the subway system--it would benefit the city as a whole. But the tangible immediate benefit would be a steady new revenue stream for a system that badly needs it. Why not take some of the money that's going to cab companies now and transfer it to the coffers of the MTA?

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Nice picture (my hero), but you still haven't come up with a single persuasive argument for not allowing leashed dogs on trains, Julio. Picard didn't like having children on the Enterprise, but he learned how to deal with it, and eventually even came to enjoy it. You'd get used to dogs on the trains. And it sure beats having a lot fewer trains to catch. Make it so. :P

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My facepalm image has nothing to do with the dog issue but rather with AWWang's lack of reading comprehension in regards to things making sense financially. EX: If it cost an item $200 brand new and $190 to repair it, it would make more sense financially to buy it new and have it last longer than a repair. So in that case, it could make more sense financially to buy new trains rather than repairing them if the cost of buying it new makes more sense financially than repairing it. Replacing all stations and tunnels as said by AWWang makes no sense financially over repairing them. Thus by his comment it is safe to assume that he lacks any reading comprehension skills since he failed to get the point of things making more financial sense to buy new over repairing.

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