One bus company in rural Wales has introduced a charge for canine passengers. According to a report in the Daily Mail, Mid Wales Travel brought in a £1 fare for dogs - which apparently angered locals who couldn't see why dogs should pay twice as much as the local children's fare.
So should dogs have to pay?
The bus company told the newspaper it had received one complaint, but defended the move by saying that the dogs were filling up the buses, and it wasn't fair that they should ride for free.
Yes, they must pay!It's certainly not the only bus company to charge. Stagecoach charges for dogs on some of its services, Nottingham City Transport also charges for dogs to travel on buses (and bans them from sitting on the seat). Yorkshire County Council is another that charges for dogs, First bus in Cornwall charges 50p a day, and Scottish Citylink has a £1 fare for pets.
If dogs take up space on a bus it cannot be used for anyone else, and they ought to pay. There's no point arguing that they shouldn't pay if they don't occupy a seat, because there are plenty of humans forced to stand at busy times and they don't get any money off their fare.
No, paying is foolish!However, there are plenty of other areas where dogs aren't charged for travel. London Transport, for example, will let dogs travel for free as long as they are under control and stay off the seats. It says: "You can travel with any other dog or domestic animal, unless there is a good reason for us to refuse it (such as if the animal seems dangerous or is likely to upset other customers)."
If you're going to charge a dog for taking up space, maybe there should be an additional charge for those with suitcases or lots of shopping - or a pram surcharge. Why should dogs be singled out for charges?
At least they are allowed onHowever, dog owners can console themselves with the fact that at least most bus services will allow their animal on the bus. That's not the case for other animals: according to The Sun, in August last year, a man was banned from taking his pet sheep on a train and a bus in West London and was forced to make the six mile walk home on foot.
Cornish buses, meanwhile specify that if you have an animal in a cage it's up to the driver whether or not to take you on board - presumably you'd have more luck with a hamster than anything more circus-related.
But what do you think? Are these charges fair? Let us know in the comments.