Environment Canterbury Regional Council’s Transport, Urban Development and Air Quality Committee has supported a notice of motion to include a policy on ‘Pets on buses’ in its draft Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP).
The Plan is a legislative document that sets out the Council’s objectives and policies for delivering public transport in Canterbury.
In a statement, the Council said staff will develop community and stakeholder engagement to inform an updated ‘Pets on buses’ policy, which will be added to the draft RPTP (2024-2034). The draft RPTP will be revised by staff in the coming months with input from reference groups and key stakeholders and will be shared with the community for their feedback in the second half of next year.
“This is an exciting step forward for our four-legged friends,” said Councillor, Joe Davies, who brought the motion to the Committee.
“I think it’s really important that we look at allowing pets, and specifically dogs, on our buses. This is something the community should have the right to have a say on.”
Currently, only service or disability assist dogs (or those in training to be), are allowed on buses in Canterbury.
“We know that there is some demand in the community to allow dogs on buses, however we need to first gauge how the wider community feels about this before making any changes, which we will do next year to inform the draft Regional Public Transport Plan and any subsequent decisions,” Councillor Davies said.
The Council said it will also consult with local bus operators and drivers, and consider passenger comfort, safety and any potential capacity issues.
“We know that there are several regions across the country that have changed their rules to allow pets on buses, including Auckland. We plan to leverage from these regions’ experiences to inform our policy development and community engagement process,” said Cr Davies.
“I think animal sizes and numbers, cages, muzzles and microchips are all things that need to be thoroughly considered when looking at this.
“I’m looking forward to hearing what the public has to say,” he said.