Amtrak Beats MUNI

I am well aware that San Francisco is a “transit first” City. I’m lectured all the time that I should drive less and use MUNI (our local mass transit agency) more. The fact that I have 4 kids to get from event to event on the weekend brings a bit of sympathy from the ban cars advocates – it’s actually pretty hard to get kids to different soccer games, hockey games, baseball games and lacrosse games on the same day when you rely on a bus (plus who really wants a bag of smelly hockey gear on your bus?). But why do you drive to work they then bark at me? I try and explain that my eight-minute drive translates into a one-hour bus trip (too bad they all say, read a book) which doesn’t even operate in time for me to get to Pet Camp at 5 am. But what wins the battle is that I, like most of the counselors at Pet Camp, bring a dog to work with me every day and MUNI will only let one dog (in a muzzle and after paying the same fare as its human) on a bus or train at a time. So if a bus or train shows up and a dog is already on it I would need to wait until the next one or the one after that until there’s one without a dog already on it. With MUNI’s on-time track record I could be standing there for hours! In other words, bringing pets on trains or buses can be really difficult!

Well, MUNI watch out because while San Francisco always likes to be out in front and claims to have more dogs than kids, Amtrak may have you beat on the pet friendly front! Under the “Pets On Trains Act” working its way through the House of Representatives (with bi-partisan support!) rather than banning pets, or saying only one pet per bus or train, Amtrak would be required to set up a “pet car” on each train that has more than one car. Sure this might not help those pet parents waiting and waiting and waiting for the 1 California – but it would certainly help those of us using the MUNI light rail system. I can hear the announcement at the Embarcadero station now, “Outbound is a 2 car L train with a pet car.”

Come on San Francisco, make San Francisco a transit first City for both pets and people or Pet Camp will have to consider getting some massively huge white bus to run around the City picking up the Counselors and their dogs to bring them to work. No wait, Google is already doing that and it’s not going too well for them.

Thank for reading!