Going out with your pet can be exceedingly inconvenient. While cats and small dogs can be taken on most mass transit systems by putting them in a pet container, owners of large dogs are still at a loss. If an owner of a big dog wants to take their pet out on the town, the only choice they basically have is to drive their own car. The Pet-Friendly Movement Association has come up with the concept of pet-friendly taxis for owners of larger dogs. Besides giving taxi drivers pet-friendly stickers to put on their taxis, the organization is also making a comprehensive list of drivers to give pet owners so they can take their pets out with comfort and ease. Several drivers have already expressed a willingness to be part of the new program.
In talking about how the idea originated, Tsai Chih-chiang, president of the organization, says that one time when he took his dogs, Dudu (schnauzer) and Feifei (golden retriever), out for a stroll from Guandu to Danshui, it starting pouring down rain and he had no other option but to hail a cab. He had no idea, however, that after 20 minutes of waiting not a single taxi would stop to pick him up, which gave him the determination to start a pet-friendly taxi program.
Tsai says that since the need was there he had initially planned on forming his own taxi company, but after considering the costs of operating such an enterprise he changed his mind and decided to recruit pet-friendly taxi drivers instead, creating a list of drivers willing to take people with pets — a veritable form of social welfare, he says.
There are a myriad of problems with pets riding in taxis, says one taxi driver, including the dogs slobbering, the overbearing odor of dogs and cats and shedding hair and fur, all of which could put the next passenger off. Tsai says that she understands why taxi drivers refuse to take pets, so when he gives speeches to taxi companies he makes a point of telling them they should carry cleaning and deodorant supplies. Many taxi drivers usually agree with him when he asks, “Which is worse? Driving with a pet in the car or a drunk person who vomits in your taxi?”
Regarding how the fare is calculated, passengers should talk it over with the taxi driver before taking the taxi to see if they need to pay an extra cleaning fee. From the association’s standpoint, Tsai says that they obviously hope taxis will not charge more for carrying pets. He says, however, that it is ultimately up to the driver and passenger to work out how the cab fare is calculated, and that the association is merely a platform providing the public with information.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)