It usually does not come up much in mainstream discussion, but for the most part the transportation of animals that are kept as pets sometimes come across as being restricted. Not a lot of public transportation seems keen on having a pet come along with their owners or handlers. There was a story once of a Manila resident who returned home to the province by water, only to be forced to have the Coast Guard at port adopt her dog because she could not carry it aboard her ferry ride. Pets tend to go only on private vehicles, rarely public.
But for the Metro Railway Transit (MRT), that is about to change for one of their service lines at least. GMA News has it that passengers on MRT-3 will now allow passengers to bring their pets along on board, provided of course that they follow some regulations to ensure their animals stay under control. This was announced by MRT-3 management all the way back in Monday, July 12, via social media, although this apparently only became codified in passenger regulations when a fur-mommy last week brought her pet dog onboard the train. Donna Ranario’s puppy Mai-Mai was in a pet carrier and also wore a diaper inside her comfy conveyance.
This seemingly successful if unsanctioned pet trip, led to some regulations being introduced by MRT-3 regarding other pet owners wanting to bring their fur-babies along. As with Ranario’s example, a pet must be put in a cage or a carrier according to MRT-3 operations director Michael Capati. These containers must not exceed 2×2 feet in size. This is not much of an issue with birds, but for animals like cats and dogs, they must also be wearing sanitary diapers. Pets on leashes are not allowed due to the risk of losing control and having them accidently run into the rails.
Having rules for carrying pets is only the beginning of this new provision for riding on the MRT-3. Already the news has divided passenger opinion. Some welcome the regulations as it gives pet owners more options for travel, while those opposed tend to argue that bringing pets runs the risk of inconveniencing passengers with allergies, or allowing bothersome animal smells. The latter is a prevailing opinion that insists on pets traveling only in private vehicles. But for now, MRT-3 is feeling mighty generous with fur-parents. The news even led the Light Railway Transit Authority (LRTA) towards discussing similar passenger rules.
Image: Top Gear Philippines