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Dog on a Train? Call 911!

By Amy Fernandez

No matter what’s crashing down or blowing up here in NYC, dogs always own the headlines. That was apparent last Tuesday night when MTA tweeted a resounding and regrettable remark instructing subway riders to notify police if they spot a dog onboard a train that’s not confined to a carrier.

Anyway, here’s the backstory. MTA has no bragging rights to timely service or comfort, but NYC subways have one thing going that few public transport systems can rival. No matter when or where you get on the train, entertainment is guaranteed.   Planned or unplanned, it comes in many forms but no concert violinist or break dancer ever rivals the commuter delight of a dog on the train. And now that we’ve also got free wi-fi, nothing that happens on the train stays on the train.

Officially, MTA policy permits dogs to travel on subways if contained in a bag. But like everything else, there’s a hierarchy of enforcement. After all, what other transit system has spawned cultural traditions like No Pants Day and Drunken Santa Day?  So yeah, dogs small and large travel in bags, out of bags, and in various stages of in and out of bags.

Actually, in all these years, this has only resulted in one criminal incident that occurred back in January. And although an unruly dog certainly contributed to the nature of the situation, two stupid people deserve most of the credit.  And that’s an excellent track record considering the millions of daily subway riders in the city. Since dogs ride for free, there are no ridership stats, but it is safe to say that dogs on trains don’t rank too high on the list of problems for MTA.

That is until yesterday when someone – who happened to be a Gothamist reporter on her way home – tweeted a v-clip of “large, fuzzy commuter on the Uptown 1”. It was on a leash minding its own business, and livening up the experience for everyone else.  That was the mundane story until MTA took charge saying, “If you do see a dog on board please alert 911 or the nearest train crew member.”

That launched a viral onslaught both from dog lovers and MTA haters.  And every MTA clarification just dug that official grave a little deeper.

The baseline twitter reaction from both camps emphasized the obvious fact that compared to some of the other stuff riders endured that day, including a track fire and a flood, an uncontained dog was the least of their problems. The ensuing Twitter storm was long, intense, and fabulous in its comic value. Although it’s doubtful that any of the real problems will improve any time soon, I’m pretty sure that the MTA will not mess with canine riders in the future.

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Posted by on Jul 25 2018. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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  • April 2019