The following tips are meant to help ensure that the first ride is the start of a confidence-building experience for your service animal.
Abiding by SEPTA policies and ensuring that your service animal does not interfere with other riders are important to make sure that these opportunities continue to be available.
- Allow plenty of time before each ride to allow your service animal to empty its bowels and bladder in an appropriate area and carry with you appropriate supplies to clean up after them, such as plastic bags to dispose of feces, paper towels to mop up with, and plastic bags to contain the waste if outside trash cans are not readily available.
- If feasible, withholding food and water for at least an hour before a train, bus, or subway ride is a good means of preventing accidents, as long as you carry water and a collapsible bowl with you so that your animal can remain adequately hydrated during the day.
- Bring a personal bag to store supplies and personal items.
- It is quite possible that younger service animals might have a need to urinate and/or defecate soon after exiting the vehicle or rail car. It is important to do your best to keep them occupied until you are able to reach an appropriate location for your pet to void.
- At times during peak hours, you might experience heavy traffic where the station platform may be crowded with travelers. It is important to be in control of your service animal by keeping them on a short leash, not only while waiting for a SEPTA vehicle, but during, and when exiting a SEPTA vehicle.
- While waiting for the train, position yourself at the opposite end of the platform from where the trains arrive, this allows your service animal to watch the train as it arrives and acclimate themselves to the noise.
- Wait to board until all the other passengers have exited or boarded the train unless directed otherwise.
- If you are part of a large group, divide the group in half and board into two train cars to minimize confusion.
- At some regional rail stations, the first step up onto the train may require an owner to assist the service animal boarding as it can be quite steep.
- This may be true when deboarding a SEPTA vehicle. It is advisable to hold onto the handrail at the car door to keep your service animal safe.
- Remember that all service animals must sit at your feet, and keep all body parts (paws, tails, noses, etc.) behind the line which marks the aisle.
- Do not allow your service animal to creep forward or back under the seats or allow them to disrupt passengers in the seats in front of or behind you.
- Your service animal might experience some level of anxiety if this is their first time. It might be beneficial to provide some reassurance by bringing their favorite toy and/or snacks for the ride.
- Please keep in mind that not everyone might be fond of animals, be mindful and keep your pet on a short leash to avoid any disruptions of the other passengers on the vehicle.