Fri, Apr 12, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Dog owner sets up pet-friendly taxi association

By Chen Wei-tzu and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The inability to get transportation for his dogs after a stroll has prompted a pet owner to embark on a project aimed at coordinating a “pet-friendly” taxi service throughout the country.

According to the Pet Walker Association chief operating officer, who wishes to only be identified by his English name, Louis, it is impossible for owners of large dogs to use public transportation.

He said the idea was prompted by an incident in which he took his two dogs, a Schnauzer and a golden retriever, for a stroll in New Taipei City (新北市) from Guandu (關渡) to Tamsui (淡水).

When they got caught in a sudden downpour, he went to the side of the road to hail a cab.

However, he tried for more than 20 minutes, but no taxi driver was willing to give him and his two dogs a ride, Louis said.

“The incident prompted me to set up a ‘pet-friendly’ taxi service,” he said on Monday.

Louis said he initially planned to organize his own fleet of cabs to service pet owners.

However, after considering all the costs, he said he decided the best way was to organize “pet-friendly” taxis from among the cabs presently in operation.

Louis said he compiled listings of cab drivers who were willing to offer their services to pet owners in various cities and municipalities, and provided them with stickers to identify them as offering such a service.

A cab driver named Lin said many taxis have problems with pets in the car because some dogs drool.

He said that some pets have a strong odor and that some cats and dogs would leave clumps of hair in the vehicle.

All these things deter passengers from taking the cab, he said.

Aware of these problems, Louis said that when he goes to cab companies to promote the service, he emphasizes the need for drivers to have cleaning materials and deodorant in the car.

When drivers mention the problems, Louis said that he would ask them: “Isn’t cleaning up after drunken passengers who throw up in your car more troublesome than giving rides to pets?”

Many drivers would agree, he said.

“To make our society more friendly to pet owners, the owners themselves must first begin with self-regulation,” Louis said.

His association and volunteers last week drafted guidelines that aim to remind pet owners that when calling a taxi company to make a pick-up, it is best for owners to, on their own initiative, inform the cab driver of the pet’s breed and agree on ways to transport it.

“Check first to verify if the pet can sit on the seats and if the pet needs to wear a muzzle to ensure safety,” he added.

As for the taxi fare, he said it should be negotiated first and see if added cleaning charges will be charged.

“From the association’s point of view, we hope there won’t be additional charges. But the actual fare should be agreed upon between the pet owner and the cab driver,” said Louis, adding that his organization serves only as an information platform.

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