Amtrak is in the midst of an overhaul and dog owners may be benefiting from these changes.
Recently, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee by a vocal vote.
The bill has a number of policy revisions for Amtrak, including changes in fundraising sources, the use of profits to improve certain lines, increase in business analysis, modifying how it handles food and beverage cart losses and requiring a report on boarding procedures in 10 of the most popular stations, according to The Huffington Post. It would also require the railroad service to introduce a national pilot program to allow dogs and cats to ride with owners on certain cars.
Here are the details of the program from the actual bill:
In the case of a passenger train that is comprised of more than 1 car, designate, where feasible, at least 1 car in which a ticketed passenger may transport a domesticated cat or dog in the same manner as carry-on baggage if the cat or dog is contained in a pet kennel.
The pet kennel is stowed in accordance with Amtrak size requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage.
The passenger pays a fee described in paragraph allow a ticketed passenger to transport a domesticated cat or dog on a train in the same manner as cargo if—the cat or dog is contained in a pet kennel.
The pet kennel is stowed in accordance with Amtrak requirements for cargo stowage.
The cargo area is temperature controlled in a manner protective of cat and dog safety and health
The passenger pays a fee collect fees for each cat or dog transported by a ticketed passenger in an amount that, in the aggregate and at a minimum, covers the full costs of the pilot program.
After the program launches, Amtrak has a year submit its finding about the pilot program.
Congress will have two years to get through both the House and Senate and signed by the president.
While this program would be on a national level, Amtrak does currently have two lines in Illinois testing out a pet-friendly policy, but these are set to end this April. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told The Huffington Post that there have been 145 pets that have accompanied owners on the trains and there have been no complaints. The cost to travel was $25 per pet, per leg.
Image via Flickr/TheGiantVermin