At the Station

ADA where are you?

I have traveled using planes, trains, coaches, and boats with my service dog. There is almost NO space available near or at the station/airport/dock/etc. for her to take care of business (pee and pooh). Some airports are beginning to add "pet relief rooms" in their terminals. I find few people who work in the terminals know where they are located. Even outside airports there are few places to go without leaving the drop-off, pick-up areas outside the terminal. Train stations are just as bad. I've even had to leave the station and go out to a parking area to find grass or ground while the train waited. Ferries, boats and other water transport are even worse. Service personnel in the station/airport/etc. on mass transportation are not trained adequately or at all to assist or have any idea of what to do. More training is needed at the station/airports/etc. getting on/off and into the ports of call safely. Jetways are often cluttered with waiting or discarded wheelchairs and the walkways are uneven. The metal "bridges" between the plane and jetway are slippery and my dog hates them. They need a rubber coating or wide strips to give stability not only for the dog but passengers. The lifts on trains are great for wheelchairs with rubber wheels but not for pedestrians with a service dog. They are slippery when dry and worse when wet. Because we are usually loaded last the station personnel are rushing to get us on-board using the lift. It is very stressful and they do little to cue us about what to do. My sight is extremely limited as well as my hearing. I always notify the ticketing agent of my limitations but the word further down the line of communication always seems to lapse somewhere. Station personnel need some required sensitivity training besides just learning to operate assistive equipment to make the transition safer and less stressful. The dog and its handler should not be treated as pieces of luggage to get aboard as fast as possible. Because we are last on-board the train is usually underway before we find our seats making it difficult to settle myself and the dog and dealing with carry-on bags. The latter may or may not be handled for us by a conductor on-board.

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Idea No. 217