Pet dogs to be allowed on Manchester Metrolink trams for the first time in three-month pilot scheme

The trial period begins on 1 August and transport bosses and politicians want to hear people’s views on the trams allowing any canines on board.

Pet dogs are to be allowed on Manchester’s trams in a three-month pilot scheme that has been unveiled by regional transport bosses.

From 1 August any canine will be allowed to ride on the Metrolink, in a change from the previous policy which only allowed some assistance dogs accompanying people with disabilities on board.

There will, however, be strict rules that dog owners and their four-legged friends will have to follow.

Transport bosses and politicians also want to hear from people whether or not they think the change should be made permanent once the three-month trial has elapsed.

What has been said about allowing dogs on trams?

Under the pilot scheme, which is a manifesto promise by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, all non-assistance dogs can travel on the network for free for three months starting on 1 August.

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However, dog owners using the tram will need to follow new rules on safety, cleanliness and the consideration of others.

The rules are:

· Metrolink will allow a maximum of two well-behaved dogs per passenger without charge, but you will be liable for their behaviour.

· Dogs must always be kept on a short lead and under control at all times. They will need to be able to listen to your commands and travel without bothering other passengers.

· Your dog is your responsibility. If your dog is involved in an incident concerning another passenger or member of the public, you will be liable.

· Please keep your dog away from assistance dogs and the disabled boarding points

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· Make sure you and your dog board and alight the tram together – be wary of trapping the lead in the door.

· If your dog makes a mess on the tram, stop or anywhere on the network, you will need to clean it up and inform a member of staff where possible.

· Dogs are not allowed on seats while travelling on the tram.

· Do not let your dog sit under the seats as there are heaters and other systems which could harm them.

· Be considerate of others on the Metrolink network who may be frightened of dogs, or who may be allergic to dog hair.

· Be aware of your dog’s needs. Bring water and treats for your dog if you need to, but also make sure you have poo bags and wipes so that you can clean up after any mess your dog makes, on or off the tram.

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The pilot scheme is being delivered by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) in partnership with operator Keolis Amey Metrolink (KAM).

Will people get to have a say on this?

The authorities have asked for any Metrolink passengers - whether they have a dog or not - to give their views and feedback through the trial period.

A survey allowing all tram users to have their say will be made available on the TfGM website when the scheme launches. In the meantime, more information is available online here. TfGM said its contact centre was also open to take questions about the scheme on 0161 244 1000.

Transport bosses said the opinions received would have a role to play in deciding whether dogs should be allowed on the trams permanently.

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When it was announced that the pilot scheme was being considered, ManchesterWorld asked some city residents what they thought and received a largely-positive response.

What have the authorities said about the pilot scheme?

Mr Burnham said: “We want the Bee Network to work for everybody and for public transport to be as accessible as possible.

“Running a pilot scheme allowing non-assistance dogs on Metrolink was one of the pledges I made when I was re-elected as mayor, and I want to thank TfGM and KAM for working together to make this a reality.

“I would now urge everyone who uses Metrolink during this period, including dog owners and those without dogs, to take part in the survey to provide us with the valuable insight we need to inform whether or not we make this permanent.”

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Danny Vaughan, TfGM’s head of Metrolink, said: “A scheme allowing non-assistance dogs on Metrolink was a manifesto commitment made by the mayor and over the past few months, we have worked with KAM to make this happen.

“While passengers with dogs will be very welcome on Metrolink, please respect other passengers and our staff by keeping your dog under control.”