No pets allowed on S'pore public transport except guide dogs: Iswaran

A question was raised in Parliament whether there can be a pilot study on allowing pets onto public transport.

Ruth Chai | July 04, 2023, 11:23 AM

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In response to Nominated Member of Parliament Tan Yia Swam's question on Jul. 3 on whether the Ministry of Transport will consider having a pilot study on allowing pets onto public transport, Transport Minister S Iswaran said pets will not be allowed on board public transport apart from trained guide dogs.

Tan suggested implementing "appropriate safeguards" and taking into account public safety.

Such measures include having pets in the last carriage of the MRT train and selected buses, and to have them on a leash or in carrier bags.

However, Iswaran said there are safety, hygiene, allergy and noise concerns from allowing pets onto public transport, which cannot be fully mitigated even if pets are on leash or in carrier bags.

In addition, setting aside train carriages and buses for pets will also reduce public transport capacity and inconvenience commuters who have concerns about travelling with animals, Iswaran replied.

Trained guide dogs allowed

However, Iswaran added that trained guide dogs are allowed on public transport to assist those who are visually impaired to travel independently.

According to the Rapid Transit Systems Act (RSTA), guide dogs are allowed on public buses and the MRT, as long as they remain by their owner's side at all times.

Guide dogs are also permitted to reside in HDB flats by HDB and the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS).

In the same vein, visually impaired individuals are permitted by the National Environmental Agency (NEA) to be accompanied by their guide dogs into any food establishment, as long as the dog is kept under proper control, held by a leash and are not being fed.

This extends to halal-certified food places as well.

The Office of the Mufti Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) has spoken up and assured Muslims that they do not need to cleanse themselves using the sertu method should they come into contact with guide dogs or walk past a guide dog.

MUIS has encouraged Muslims to be understanding towards guide dog owners in an advisory.

Top photo via Guide Dogs Singapore/Facebook