The Illinois Department of Transportation recently announced they are teaming up with Amtrak in a pilot program to do a six month trial allowing passengers to bring their pets aboard. While travelers already “carry on” dogs to flights, until now, Amtrak had not allowed the same accommodations for pets, unless they were service dogs.
The test rides began May 5 and run from Chicago and Quincy on the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg trains. Amtrak president and CEO Joe Boardman said recently that Amtrak is keen on allowing pets on their trains, and credits the plans’ collaborators. The Illinois Department of Transportation has worked with U.S. Representative Jeff Denham of California and his team, who have since introduced a federal bill requiring Amtrak to allow pets. They are hoping to come up with a proposal that addresses the needs and concerns of all of passengers. They will review the plan later this year to assess its strengths and weaknesses, and whether the surcharge of $25 is reasonable.
Dogs or cats up to 20 pounds each will be accepted in carriers such as those used in airplane cabins, and placed at the feet and under the seat of each pet owner. Owners must provide proof of vaccinations and reservations are required.