‘Dogs are better behaved than some humans!’: Manchester reacts to Metrolink trialling dogs on trams

Should dogs be allowed on the tram? It’s a debate as old as time – or at least as old as the Metrolink, which has been around since 1992. Dogs have never been allowed on Greater Manchester’s yellow carriages, but a trial allowing furry friends to ride the Metrolink with their owners is likely coming later this year, Transport for Greater Manchester confirmed yesterday.

Dogs are already allowed on trains and buses in the region, but currently only assistance dogs are permitted on trams.

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And both dog lovers and haters in the region have reacted to the announcement with excitement and dread in equal measures.

Some residents see it as an essential step in the growth of Manchester’s public transportation. “If you want to create a liveable city where people’s first mode of transport is public, this needs to happen,” said Alex Hancock.

“Go to any European capital and dogs have always been allowed!”

Residents have been campaigning to allow dogs on the Metrolink for years

Other dog owners said the change in rules, if permanent, would encourage them to make more sustainable transport choices. Sharon Hough said the ban was “one of the main reasons” she has a car, and called it “ridiculous”.

Some tram users were excited by the news but concerned for people who don’t feel comfortable around dogs. Debra Ingram said she agreed with letting “responsible” dog owners take their dogs on the trams.

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“I think it’s a great idea but not on all parts of the tram,” she said. “Maybe certain carriages can be categorized as ‘dog friendly’ so other passengers with any pet allergies or fear of dogs don’t need to sit near one. It works in other cities so I don’t see why it shouldn’t work here!”

Other users said they’d be happier to share the carriages with dogs than with humans – April Marchington said: “Let’s all be completely honest here, dogs have better manners, they are more respectful, don’t give random people grieve because they have had a bad day or been on a bender.

Dogs are allowed on trams and undergrounds in other major cities

“They also have a positive impact on people’s wellbeing, make people smile and feel happy when they greet them. I would much rather a tram full of dogs than full of some humans, that’s for sure!”

However, anyone who has used a tram during rush hours knows how crowded the carriages can get even without dogs – some residents said the system was already too crowded, and that dog owners are already served by bus routes.

Joe Winskill said: “In my opinion, I think it shouldn’t be lifted as buses already run along the same areas that trams do and light rail already gets crowded as it is, so it would burden people to have dogs on an already crowded system.”

And people who are scared of dogs had some anxiety about the upcoming pilot. Louise Bugeja, said she is afraid of dogs but also worried about dog owners not taking that seriously.

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Piloting dogs on trams was a manifesto promise from Major Andy Burnham

“Some dog owners have no respect and laugh at people like me who are scared of dogs.

“When dogs see other dogs near them they start barking which scares me. Plus, the smell of a wet dog is awful!”

Dogs can be unpredictable, especially when in need of a toilet, and several users shared worries about pooches relieving themselves while onboard.

“Pity the poor people who are terrified of dogs,” Jo Opsimath commented. “I am sure some people will allow their dogs on the seats. Hope the dogs do not relieve themselves in the tram.”

And it isn’t just those who don’t like dogs who have concerns. Dog-owner Lindsay Gibbons said:

“As a dog owner not sure where I stand on this one, maybe dogs only off peak? I think it’s seeing all the irresponsible owners out there and that some people are terrified of, or are allergic, to dogs.”

TfGM have not yet confirmed details of the pilot, but it is expected to take place later this year. It follows a manifesto pledge from Mayor Andy Burnham to trial dogs being permitted on the Metrolink.

Should dogs be allowed on the Metrolink? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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