Objections Raised To Pets On The Bus - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Objections Raised To Pets On The Bus

Published July 8, 2016

Photo by
Simon Steel

Sufferers of asthma and allergies have voiced objections to the possibility of allowing pets on city buses.

“Naturally, we’re working for our members, and a great many of them who’ve written and called are very much against this and are very afraid,” Hólmfríður Ólafsdóttir, the vice chair of the Asthma and Allergies Society of Iceland told Vísir. “It’s a bit like Russian roulette.”

As reported, the capital area bus system is now seriously considering allowing dogs and other pets onto city buses, and the formal initiative for the idea is at least a year in the making.

“We really want to take a good look at allowing pets on the bus, either on a leash or in a cage, and set up an experimental project for it,” Sverrir Óskarsson, Kópavogur’s representative on the board of Strætó, told Vísir. “We’re encouraging people to take up a car-free lifestyle and use mass transportation, but then we naturally have to allow some to travel with their pets on a visit to others, or to see the vet. We can’t talk about a car-free lifestyle and then say no one can get on the bus but humans.”

Sverrir told reporters that they fully intend to take everyone’s point of view into consideration, and hopes to be able to experiment with the idea this autumn.

As reported last year, the push for letting dogs on the bus has grassroots origins that began with a petition.

“It is a given right that people take their pets on the bus,” the petition reads in part. “It would be possible to create new regulations for new arrangements, and it would be possible to use regulations found across Europe on this subject, where for example it is required to keep your pet on a leash. In some places, a special fare is charged, and bus drivers can reserve the right to refuse to let a pet on the bus if the occasion warrants it.”

Andri Kárason told Vísir the petition idea came to him because he cannot take his dog on the bus.

“As the situation is today, you cannot take animals onto the bus, into a coffeehouse, shops, and other places,” he said. “I think we should relax these rules a little, and I think it’s a great idea to start with letting [pets] onto buses.”

Former member of parliament Ólína Þorvarðardóttir agreed, telling reporters she believes dog owners are persecuted.

“Dog owners are like second-class citizens,” she said. “They sometimes experience harassment in public spaces,” without elaborating on any particular examples.

In addition, one Icelander has proposed classes for dogs and owners alike on how to ride the bus with a pet properly.

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