Traveling by Minneapolis-St. Paul public transit with a small dog
Metro Transit operates buses in and around the Twin Cities, and it also runs the Hiawatha Line light rail connector from downtown Minneapolis to Bloomington and the Mall of America (by way of the airport). It will soon add commuter rail to its offerings, since the Northstar Commuter Rail Line will soon begin running trains from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis.
Metro Transit’s pet policy, according to the customer service representative I spoke to, is that small dogs in carriers are allowed on board, as long as the dog is completely contained in the carrier. [2/24/12 The Metro site now has a written pet policy: “Pets are welcome on buses and trains as long as they are kept in animal carriers. Service animals are exempt.”]
Other regional public transit providers
Here are the leading public transit providers in the areas surrounding the Twin Cities. Let me know if I’ve missed any! As always, if I don’t give you a link, then I learned about a provider’s pet policy in a phone conversation.
Anoka County Traveler (ACT) “operates three fixed routes throughout portions of Anoka, Blaine, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, and Fridley.” As on Metro Transit, small dogs in carriers are allowed on board, as long as the dog is completely contained in the carrier.
BlueXpress operates a commuter bus line from Scott County to downtown Minneapolis. On all Scott County Transit vehicles, “No animals are allowed, except service dogs.”
Laker Lines is the city of Prior Lake’s express bus service to downtown Minneapolis. The city also operates the seasonal Local Laker Link (LLL) Circulator and Shuttle, in and around Prior Lake. None of the Laker Lines operations allows pets on board.
Maple Grove Transit “offers public bus service in the form of commuter express service to and from Minneapolis and local dial-a-ride service within Maple Grove.” Small dogs in carriers are allowed on board if the carrier is small enough to sit on your lap or go under your feet. The carrier cannot occupy the seat next to you or sit in the aisle, and your dog needs to be quiet during the journey.
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) “is the public transportation agency for Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount, Prior Lake, and Savage.” It will begin operating a bus rapid transit line “along the Cedar Avenue and I-35W corridors” in Fall 2009. Small dogs in carriers are allowed on board.
Northstar Commuter Coach “stops at park-and-ride lots in Elk River and Coon Rapids (Riverdale Shopping Development) and travels to and from the 5th Street Transit Station in downtown Minneapolis during peak hours.” Small dogs in carriers are allowed on board.
Plymouth Metrolink operates buses in the city of Plymouth, MN and express buses to and from downtown Minneapolis. Small dogs in carriers are allowed on board.
Ramsey Star Express “stops at the Ramsey Municipal Parking Facility and travels to and from the 5th Street Transit Station in downtown Minneapolis during peak hours.” Small dogs in carriers are allowed on board.
Shakopee Transit operates buses in and around Shakopee, MN and, with Scott County Transit, operates the BlueXpress commuter bus line. On all Scott County Transit vehicles, “No animals are allowed, except service dogs.”
SouthWest Transit operates buses serving “Downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, and Southdale, as well as service between Chanhassen, Chaska, and Eden Prairie.” Only service dogs are allowed on board.
For other posts about traveling with dogs on public transit, take a look at Dog Jaunt’s handy guide!