Leader warns al­low­ing dogs on ‘packed’ trams is ‘cruel’

Rochdale Observer - - TIME-TRIP - News­desk@men-news.co.uk @MENnews­desk

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

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