Is Australia barking mad to restrict dogs from riding on public transport?

A University of Sydney study of Sydney dog owners has found that an overwhelming 95% of people are in favour of dogs riding on public transport, with more than half indicating they would do more activities with their hound if they were allowed.


Dog owner survey
The findings of the 2016 survey of more than 1250 Sydney dog owners, published this week in an international transport research journal, found a high level of dog-related car trips (up to 2.4 million each week) in a city where dog ownership is among the highest in the world.
With almost 39 percent of Sydney households owning a dog, University of Sydney researchers Dr Jennifer Kent and Professor Corinne Mulley wanted to find out how people get around with dogs in a city that restricts them from riding on public transport.


Walking your dog – by car
The survey examined the popular activities that owners do with their dog, and how often these trips – such as a walk; visiting the park or other recreational areas; going to dog training, cafés, bars or the shops; and visiting family, friends or the vet – relied on a car:

  • On average, people walk their dog twice or more a week and in one quarter of cases they began the outing by car.
  • More than three quarters of dog owners who go to a recreational area twice or more a week, 45% of these people went by car.
  • Of the two thirds of people who go to the dog park three times a week, more than half went by car.
  • Two thirds of people visiting family or friends once a week, 88% did so by car.
  • On average, people visit the vet more than three times a year and 86% of these trips are made by car. (Almost 14% of people said that a lack of transport had prevented them from taking their dog to the vet.)


Public transport policy?
When a public transport policy for dogs was posed:

Find your art on Redbubble
  • 95% of Sydney dog owners were in favour.
  • Over 55% indicated that they would attend other activities with their dog more often
  • 20% said they would consider getting by without a car.

Fewer cars on the roads has to be a plus for Sydney. Getting people moving with dogs are more socially connected with their communities is a huge plus.


Is Australia barking mad to restrict dogs from riding on public transport?


Pets on public transport worldwide
The University of Sydney research also investigated the policies of pets on public transport in 30 cities across Europe and the USA. It found all European cities allowed dogs on public transport, while several cities in the US, North America and Australia did not.

Policies varied with areas of vehicle, times of travel and size of dog. Dog fares were charged in most cities. Zurich even offers an annual travel card for dogs.


Activities undertaken by dog owners and the number of dog-related car trips each week

n=1257 % of respondents who do the activity Dog-related trips per week (average) Dog- related trips per week (total) % car based Dog-related trips by car per week
Walk 97% 2.4 2308 26% 609
Dog park 67% 3.0 2530 51% 1300
Other recreational area 78% 2.4 2308 45% 1046
Dog training 19% 1.5 347 95% 329
Café, bar, shops 53% 1.4 945 51% 481
Visiting friends/family 67% 1 846 88% 744
Other activities 28% 1 351 92% 323
Aggregate 9635 4832


Is Australia barking mad to restrict dogs from riding on public transport?


More reading
Travelling with animals and pets on public transport in NSW.
Pets and transport articles 


Please share with your friends

Thanks for reading Pet Problems Solved. Tell us about your pet experiences...