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Amtrak launches program to allow pets on board

On Monday Amtrak announced it was launching a pilot program that would allow travelers to bring their pets with them. Up until now, a pet owner needing to travel with their furry family members had little in the way of choice. Both Amtrak and Greyhound have refused to allow any animals except service dogs, but last year the Pets on Trains Act was introduced in the House of Representatives. It has surprisingly strong bipartisan support and hopefully will pass this year. In the meantime Amtrak has partnered with the Illinois Department of Transportation to test out having animals on board. While pet owners who love to travel may cheer at the news, there are some restrictions to be aware of.

Soon you may be able to travel with your pets on Amtrak
Photo by John Moore

According to the Huffington Post, for now only Amtrak customers in Illinois can take advantage of the program, which costs $25 per pet. Like airplanes, pets must be in carriers and placed under the seat, and they must not weigh over 20lbs. This makes sense, after all the train only has so much space! For those who have allergies, fears or just don’t like animals, designated pet-free cars will be made available. The initial program will last only 6 months but presumably if it goes well it will be expanded to cover the entire train system.

How do you feel about this program? Will you take advantage of it if it becomes available in your area? Why or why not?

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