SocietyJune 12, 2019

Everything you need to know about taking your pet on the train


In what is being touted as “paw-some” news by AT, domestic pets will be allowed on trains in Auckland from Sunday 16 June. Here are all your burning questions answered. 

First of all, what the hell is a so-called domestic pet?

Domestic pets are defined as “tame animals that live inside the customer’s home” by AT. Remember how Karl Pilkington had a neighbour with a horse in their house? Or how the Champagne Lady had a pet seagull named Big Boy? Exciting times, challenging times.

You know how Andrew from MAFSNZ had a pet pig, would that be allowed on a train?

“Andrew would be allowed to take his pet pig on the train,” says AT, “as long as he had a suitable carrier for the pig.”

Your new carriage-mate

What time can me and my piggy posse hit the town then?

At the moment pets are only welcomed on weekdays during off peak hours (9.00am until 3:00pm and 6:30pm until end of service. That’s right, end of service means your pet could literally catch a midnight train going aaaaanyyywheeerrre. As for weekends and public holidays, it’s open season, baby.

I’m teaching my cat to walk on a leash, can she sashay through the carriage or no?

Unfortunately according to AT, your pets must be kept caged and under control at stations, getting on or off the train, and while on board the train. The pet must also be completely enclosed in a pet carrier that is small enough to be stored securely under the seat or held on the passenger’s lap. No Countdown canvas bags, sorry.

An informative guide to be sure

Should Aucklanders be preparing to encounter “snakes on a train”?

“No” says AT. “Snakes aren’t allowed in New Zealand so we won’t come across that particular occurrence. Lizards? Maybe!” Ah yes, the leggy snake.

What about a fish tank? Do I need to cover it with some sort of sack?

“If the fish tank can fit on your lap or underneath the seat without spilling any water, that would be fine,” says AT. “Piranhas and sharks are not allowed though.” Jury is out on where the Kelly Tarlton’s shark bus stands on all of this.

Does my rabbit need a… HOP card? Ha ha ha

Your rabbit does not need a HOP card, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them a tiny one and perhaps a tiny wallet and perhaps a tiny pair of jeans. All pets will travel free of charge.

I predict rabbits will start wearing clothes on the train

What about my friend’s Will-Smith-in-Hitch-inducing pet allergies?

AT trains are at least 72 metres long, with the six-car trains stretching to 144 metres, so there is plenty of room to get away from a Pet Carrier of Doom. “If a customer with allergies had any concerns, they can speak to the onboard train manager for assistance,” AT advises. No word on whether or not the train manager will in fact be a cat in a tiny high vis vest.

What about the pee and also: the poo?

As a responsible pet owner, the pee and poo is on your hands. “While no doubt this could occur, we would imagine most of this will be contained in the carriers,” says AT. “Passengers must ensure this is cleaned up before they exit the train, so we are suggesting they bring something with them, just like they would if they were taking their pet for a walk.”

It’s only a matter of time until a Denver does something guilty

What if I want to take my cat on the bus?

Settle down there mate. According to the AT website, the only pets allowed on buses are disability assist dogs and disability assist dogs in training. The only exception to this rule is on Waiheke Island buses, where dogs are allowed on board. No lovely sips o’ wine at the vineyards for your moggy.

So you’re telling me I can take my cat on the ferry?

Yes, dogs and small animals in cages can be carried on most ferry services, but there may be a small charge for the luxury. AT advises checking with your ferry operator before you rock up with a clowder of caged cats. Yeah, I said it. Clowder.

What if I want to take my cat on the Beercycle?

The Beercycle is unfortunately outside of AT jurisdiction, but kinda vibes like they would be up for it. 

Keep going!