Are Halifax ferries going to the dogs? Metro Transit to consider allowing pooches on board

Ruth Davenport, Metro Halifax
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HALIFAX - Metro Transit staffers are sniffing around the possibility of allowing dogs on the harbour ferries.

The Metro Transit ferry.

The suggestion was one of several that emerged from the recent “Downtown…I’m In!” public event, during which Halifax residents offered ideas for making the urban core more liveable.

“I understand the impetus behind why somebody would want to do that… the question is, can we do it,” said Metro Transit director  - and dog owner  - Eddie Robar.

Service dogs are currently allowed on HRM buses and ferries, as is any dog or animal that’s contained in a crate.

Robar said transit staff is investigating ways to mitigate logistical concerns around larger leashed animals – such as allergies, space and behaviour – in an effort to bring more people from Dartmouth to the downtown core.

“There’s good walking paths and a great boardwalk and things like that on the other side of the harbour,” he said. “Obviously people would want to interact with that and take their pets and animals with them as well.”

Robar said the review, expected later this year, will examine transit practices in Canada and around the globe.

“People do it around the world, and the question is how do they do it,” he said. “There’s great opportunity with it, that’s for sure.”

The list of suggestions that emerged from the public sessions will be presented, along with a response from staff, to the municipal Community Planning and Economic Development  (CPED) committee on Thursday.

The ideas address everything from better street lighting to improved bike infrastructure to oversized game boards in public spaces.

Some of the suggestions are already being addressed or will be addressed this year, according to the staff report, while others – such as dog-friendly ferries – will need further study.

The complete “Downtown…I’m in!” report can be found on the HRM website. 

Organizations: Economic Development

Geographic location: Dartmouth, Canada

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  • Rebecca
    May 13, 2014 - 08:48

    As always, Halifax is WAY behind the times. In Toronto, you're allowed to bring pets on the public transit during non-peak times. I was dog-sitting last week and realized I couldn't go anywhere with the animal beyond our neighbourhood because I had no vehicle. However, I was forced to take the bus with the guy who kept trying to hold my hand and the other guy who kept trying to tickle the back of my neck from the seat behind me. Not to mention the guy who kept asking me where I was going--even when I asked him to leave me alone. But yeah, dogs on buses would be terrible.