Manchester’s Metrolink have always prohibited dogs from travel ever since its launch back in 1992, with the company stating on its website that only service animals trained to assist people with disabilities are permitted.
Well, it seems that things may be looking up for the region’s dog owners as Metrolink will be running a trial next month to allow the four-legged blighters to travel on trams for the first time ever.
Large pets are banned from trams, while small pets are only allowed if enclosed in a ‘properly ventilated carrying case’ that can be held on a passengers lap or stored safely under a seat. But now, a new pilot scheme will begin in August in which all dogs will finally be permitted to join their owners on the services, Andy Burnham has confirmed.
A spokesperson for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) said earlier this year that they are working closely with the mayor to introduce the scheme at some point. And now Burnham has confirmed the trial will be taking place next month. He was asked on Twitter by Labour councillor Fianna Hornby: “Any news on when dogs (and bikes) will be allowed on the Metrolink as part of the trial?”
He replied by saying ‘dogs on trams trial starts next month’, before clarifying that it will begin in “early August”.
Allowing dogs on the tram was one of Burnham’s key manifesto pledges in his bid to take up the position of Manchester metro mayor.
Danny Vaughan, TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, said in April: “A pilot scheme allowing non-assistance dogs on Metrolink was a manifesto commitment made by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, and we are currently working with the mayor’s office to explore the possibility of running a pilot scheme on the tram network later this year.
“The details of the pilot, such as when it will take place and for how long, have yet to be confirmed, but further information will be released when these details have been finalised.”
However, when Metrolink ran a similar trial to allow dogs on trams back in 2015, it was unsuccessful.
As part of the trial, TfGM carried out a number of customer surveys and a public consultation to gain a perspective on Metrolink users’ thoughts on the issue.
From this, it was concluded that non-assistance dogs would not be allowed to travel on the Metrolink, with TfGM citing ‘key risks’ that raised concern over the safety of passengers and welfare of dogs.
More details on which lines, when and where the dog trial will be taking place have not been announced – so watch this space for more information.