The rules about taking your dog on public transport

Carlton Boyce / 09 June 2016

Are you allowed to take your dog on the bus? Do you have to pay for a ticket for your four-legged friend?



Dogs quickly become a member of the family, with many owners taking their pets with them when they go out for the day or on holiday. 

Taking your dog in your car is fairly straightforward as you’re in control, but things can get a bit more confusing when part or all of your journey is taking place on public transport.

Here’s our guide to travelling with your dog, but we’d love to hear your tips in the comments section below!

Read our tips for dealing with a car-sick pet.

Taking your dog on a train

National Rail advises that you can take up to two dogs per passenger on a train without charge, but they must be kept on a lead or in a carrier and must not take up a passenger seat. If they do, then you’ll have to buy them a ticket!

Your dog(s) won’t be allowed in the restaurant carriage unless they are a guide or assistance dog, and if you’re planning on using a sleeper carriage for an overnight trip then you should book a place for them at least 48 hours in advance.

Obviously, if your dog causes a nuisance or an inconvenience to other passengers you will be asked to remove him, potentially leaving you stranded hundreds of miles from home.

Take public transport regularly? Read our guide to staying safe.

Taking your dog on a bus

The situation with buses is a little less clear-cut than it is with trains, and you’ll need to check with the individual bus operator to see what their rules are around taking your dog with you.

However, in general you should be fine as long as your dog is on a lead or in a carrier and doesn’t take up a passenger seat, although you may be asked to pay a nominal fee for taking him/her on a bus with you.

Guide and assistance dogs will be allowed to travel with you free-of-charge, although you may be advised as to the best place to sit.

Read our tips for travelling with your dogs in your car.

Taking your dog on the Tube

Transport for London (TfL) allows dogs to travel on the Tube, but you must carry it on the escalator to prevent damage to its paws. Guide and assistance dogs are exempt from this requirement as long as they have been issued with a pass that demonstrates they have been trained to use them.

If you can’t carry your dog then you can search online for Tube stations that have stairs instead by opening the ‘Access options’ section of the search dialogue and ticking the ‘Use stairs, not escalators’ box.

Incidentally, TfL also regulates black cabs, all of whom must take your guide or assistance dog free of charge. Pet dogs are carried at the individual driver’s discretion.

Tips for staying safe when using taxis.

Taking your dog on a ferry

Ferry crossing can also be a bit of a minefield for the dog owner who wants to take their pet with them. Aside from the pet passport scheme requirements that you’ll need to abide by if you’re taking them abroad, you’ll normally be allowed to take your dog on-board, although there will normally be a charge.

You should seek the advice of the appropriate ferry operator before travelling.

For further advice and information on travelling with your dog I can recommend the website Pets Allowed, which advises pet owners on where and how they can take their pets with them.

For more tips and useful information, browse our pet articles.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.