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Traveling by Baltimore public transit with a small dog

The Maryland Transit Administration (or “MTA Maryland”) operates local bus, commuter bus, subway, light rail and commuter rail systems in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. A customer service representative told me that on all forms of transportation, small dogs in carriers are allowed on board, for no additional fee.

I am updating this post as of today’s date, 5/16/16, since there’s too much more info to give you than a parenthetical can hold. The MTA’s website now includes parts of its pet policy. On the commuter buses, “Only small pets, confined in closed containers, are permitted on MTA Commuter Bus coaches. The container must be carried by the owner and not placed on a seat or in the aisle.” They are also explicitly allowed on MARC trains: “Only small pets, confined in closed carriers, are permitted on MARC trains.” That leaves the other pieces of the MTA puzzle uncovered, and a reader asked me to confirm that small pets in carriers are allowed on regular buses.

I called the MTA again today, and the customer service rep confirmed that small pets fully contained in carriers are still allowed on board all forms of MTA transit, including regular buses and the metro subway. The carrier must fit in your lap, and must not take up a seat.

As you know from earlier posts, pet dogs are not allowed on Amtrak [please note that since I first wrote this post, the door has creaked open a bit on traveling via Amtrak with a pet] or the major intercity buses, and I’m always looking for alternative ways to travel with a small dog. I briefly thought that MTA Maryland might provide the missing link between WMATA (Washington D.C.’s transit system) and SEPTA (Philadelphia’s transit system), allowing you to take your small dog from Washington D.C. to New York City by four transit systems (WMATA, MTA Maryland, SEPTA, and NJ Transit). However, the farthest east that MTA Maryland’s MARC trains go is Perryville, MD, some 35 miles short of Newark, DE, the last stop on the relevant SEPTA train. There has been talk of extending the MARC train system to connect with SEPTA, so the scheme may work someday.

For other posts about traveling with dogs on public transit, take a look at Dog Jaunt’s handy guide!


  • Hi, Vicky — I just called the MTA again, and they said yes, any small pet as long as she’s fully contained in a carrier that rests on your lap (not taking up a seat).

  • Amy

    Question since I haven’t seen any recent up to date blogs. Are you able to take small dogs in a carrier on the MTA regular bus in Baltimore,MD? Thanks, Just checking before I take that chance

  • Hi, Amy — I just called Baltimore’s MTA, and the customer service rep confirmed that small pets in carriers can travel on regular buses (as well as the commuter buses, which their website does mention). Thanks for the kick in the pants — I’ll update the post with the new info!

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