After a successful test run, Amtrak has made its pets pilot program permanent for select trains in the Northeast and has expanded the service.
Since the Northeast pilot program program launched in October 2015, more than 4,600 riders have paid the $25 one-way fee to take their pets with them, generating about $500,000 in revenue between the launch to March 2016, according to USA Today.
The program was championed by Republican Congressman Jeff Denham of California, who introduced a bill to Congress called the “Pets on Trains Act of 2015,” requiring Amtrak to allow passengers to bring their non-service animal pets on the train. Service animals are already allowed to travel on the train. Denham, who tried to travel by rail with his French Bulldog but was denied, had been working to get Amtrak to allow pets on the train for several years. The bill was signed into law last year.
The pet riding policy is now permanent on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional line (which stops at New York Penn Station, Newark Penn Station, Newark Liberty International Airport, Metropark, Trenton and 30th Street Philadelphia) and Downeaster line (which stops at Brunswick, Portland and Boston – North Station).
The company also added this service for trips up to 7 hours in length for most long-distance trains and has started allowing pets on weekend Acela Express trains.
“We’ve been very pleased to see (the program) has been very well-received by our passengers,” Craig Schulz, an Amtrak spokesman, told New Jersey 101.5.
“It is something that we have heard from our passengers they’ve wanted, and we’re very happy to make this service available.”
Your dog or cat must be in a carrier that can fit under your seat on the train. The total weight of your pet and its carrier cannot exceed 20 pounds and reservations are required. The fee is $25 each way. You can read regulations regarding pets, and find which trains allow pets, on the Amtrak website.