Leader warns allowing dogs on ‘packed’ trams is ‘cruel’
ALLOWING dogs on ‘jam-packed’ trams in Greater Manchester would be ‘cruel’ and ‘dangerous’, council chief Sir Richard Leese has said.
The debate on letting pooches on Metrolink services is raging once again.
A petition was recently launched calling for a change in the bylaw which bans dogs from accompanying owners on trams.
It has already been signed by more than 3,500 people.
The issue was discussed at a Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) committee, where town hall boss Sir Richard said he and his colleagues were not opposed to the principle of the idea, but were concerned about the reality ot it.
“I used the Metrolink this morning,” he said.
“To have taken a dog on that tram would have been an act of cruelty – it was absolutely jampacked with people. It would have been dangerous and it is not something any sane person would allow.”
Dogs have been banned from the network since 1992, when trams were introduced in the city.
The bylaw was reviewed in both 2013 and in 2015, but continues to be enforced.
No animals are allowed on trams, other than assistance dogs or pets being taken to the PDSA charity base in Old Trafford.
Animal lovers continue to fight for the change, highlighting that people can take pets on buses and trains in Greater Manchester.
Manchester’s Lib Dem opposition leader John Leech repeated that argument at the TfGM meeting.
Coun Tracey Rawlins, who has an assistance dog, said there have been times she hasn’t been able to take the animal on a tram.
“I accept we need to do something about congestion but I would not encourage anybody to take dog on trams at the moment at peak times unless they have really, really had to,” she said.
“At the moment, the system is not fit to have dogs travelling all the time.”
Coun Leech said leaders ‘ought to be looking at extending capacity [on the network] rather than restricting access to people who go around the city with dogs on leads’.
But Sir Richard said that once the Metrolink line to Trafford Park opens, the network will be running at capacity.
“There is no room to run additional tram services there,” he added.
“We are ordering additional trams so we can run more double trams.
“I can tell you that as soon as those extra trams are in place, they will be just as full as the existing trams, because people cannot use the service at the moment because of that lack of capacity.
“Simply increasing capacity is not an option.”
●●Sir Richard Leese (inset) has spoken of his concerns about allowing dogs to travel on Metrolink