Proponents of dogs on buses not giving up

800-person petition not enough to sway Victoria Regional Transit Commission to allow dogs on buses.

The Raging Grannies were unsuccessful in their attempt to get dogs on buses in Victoria, but they are not giving up.

James Bay resident Fran Thoburn and Daphne Taylor collected over 800 signatures on a petition to allow dogs on public transit, which they presented to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission.

The VRTC voted it down as a result of complaints received from bus drivers and people with allergies.

“Even though we thought the petition we received originally was certainly heartfelt, sincere and certainly had merit to look into, we just felt the responsible thing at the end of the day was to maintain the current policy,” said Susan Brice, VRTC chair. “The biggest [reasons] were health-related issues in terms of people with allergies, as well as a strong position from our drivers . . . because it would put them in a situation where they had to make determinations about dogs coming on or not.”

Of over 4,000 public responses, 50.7 per cent said no, 37.8 per cent said yes and 11.3 per cent said dogs should sometimes be allowed on buses.

Taylor said she is disappointed that the policy did not get approved, but she knew it would likely take more convincing.

“I wasn’t thinking that it probably would [go through] right away.”

Thoburn said she does not think all the options have been evaluated.

“I don’t think the [transit] commission people truly considered a way of finding a happy medium,” she said.

The next step will be writing to each of the members of the VRTC, and continuing the dialogue, said Thoburn.

Despite the outcome not going in their favour, Taylor said they will not back down.

“It’s the beginning of people’s awareness,” she said. “[It] Just takes one person starting something [that] seems rather small.”