Dog Rules on Public Transit in Toronto and the GTA

Dog Rules on Public Transit in Toronto and the GTA

Before owning a dog, I used to think that only service dogs or really small dogs were allowed on public transit systems here in Toronto.

But after owning Limone for some time and doing my own research, I’ve come to learn that most public transit systems in Toronto and the GTA allow companion dogs too – with some restrictions

Depending on the region and the service, you face some combination of:

  • Boarding time restrictions (i.e. no companion dogs allowed during weekday rush hours)
  • Enclosed pet crate / carrier requirements
  • Leash requirements
  • Muzzle requirements

Today’s post will cover:

  1. Pet policies for Toronto’s various transit options (i.e. TTC, trains, water taxis, and rideshare options)
  2. Pet policies for the Greater Toronto Area’s transit systems:
    1. GO Transit
    2. Brampton Transit
    3. Burlington Transit
    4. Durham Region Transit
    5. Hamilton Transit
    6. Mississauga Transit
    7. Oakville Transit
    8. YRT / VIVA Transit


Quick Note on Service Animals on Public Transit in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area

Before we get into the details, I just wanted to clarify that the upcoming dog restrictions only apply to non-service dogs – like emotional support animals, and companion dogs. . 

All public transit operators are legally required to allow service animals to accompany a passenger at any time. Rideshare operators too – are required to allow service animals to accompany passengers too.

Pet Etiquette When Riding Public Transit in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area

Plan on riding public transit with your dog? Here are some quick tips you should know before you go:

  • Make time for potty breaks + bring plenty of extra doggie bags – spend extra time encouraging your dog to go before you board. When exploring new places, dogs may choose to hold their bladder in strange environments or sometimes go in unexpected places – including the bus/train/whatever else you’re on! Yikes! Taking a few more minutes can help reduce the likelihood of an accident on board
  • Bring extra treats – a calm dog makes commuting easier – make sure to bring extra treats, pet your dog frequently and take frequent breaks
  • Travel earlier in the day or in the evenings – traveling earlier in the morning or later in the evening will help reduce crowds and on hot days, keep you and your dog cool
  • Stick to the leg space or your lap if possible – when traveling with a pet, it’s best to keep your pet as close to you as possible to avoid infringing on other people’s space. Avoid letting your dog sit in their own seat on public transit – if your dog is large try to keep them lying down or sitting by your legs as much as possible
Toronto city skyline during a sunset - photo by
Photo by Adam Vradenburg on Unsplash

Pet Policies for Public Transit in Toronto

There are four main public transit options available to travel within, into, or out of Toronto :

  1. TTC (Subway, Bus, Streetcar)
  2. Train (UP Express, Go Train, VIA Rail)
  3. Taxi (Public and Rideshare Programs)
  4. Ferry & Water Taxi (to the Toronto Centre Islands)

Let’s take a look at what each system’s pet policies are.


Dog Rules on the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission)

TTC Logo

Are Dogs Allowed on the TTC? Can I take my dog on the streetcar in Toronto? Can I take my dog on the subway in Toronto? Can I take my dog on the bus in Toronto? 

Yes, dogs are allowed on the TTC – with some restrictions: 

  1. Dogs must be on a leash or secured in an enclosed container / pet carrier
  2. Excluding service animals, dogs are not allowed on the TTC during weekday peak hours (Monday – Friday inclusive)::
    1. 6:30 AM – 10:00 AM
    2. 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM

These restrictions apply to any mode of public transportation owned and operated by the TTC including streetcars, subways, and buses.


Dog Rules on Trains in Toronto

There are three train services that the public can ride in and out of Toronto based on how far you’re going and where you need to go: and each one has their own set of pet policies too:

  1. VIA Rail – transports you across Canada
  2. UP Express – connecting downtown Toronto to the Toronto Pearson Airport
  3. Go Train – transports you across the Greater Toronto Area (Jump to Dog Rules on Go Transit)

Are Dogs Allowed on the VIA Rail in Toronto?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the VIA Rail in Toronto.

However, only small dogs that can comfortably stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably in a maximum carrier size of: 27 cm x 40 cm x 55 cm or  10.5 in x 15.5 in x 21.5 in (height x width x length) are permitted on-board.

All larger dogs must travel in the baggage car in a suitably sized crate / cage that allows space for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. 

While the baggage cars are heated in the cooler months, there is no air conditioning available. As such, dogs are not permitted to travel in the baggage car between June 1 to September 30. 

Click here to view the latest pet policy on VIA Rail

UP Union Pearson Express Logo

Are Dogs Allowed on the UP Express?

Yes dogs are allowed on the UP Express with certain restrictions. 

Small dogs can ride at all times provided they can fit in a small carrier that can sit on your lap or under your seat.

For larger dogs, the pet policies change to:

  • Must be on a leash at all times
  • A maximum of 2 leashed dogs per person
  • Leashed dogs allowed all weekend
  • On weekdays, leashed dogs are not allowed on GO Buses or GO Trains between: 5:45 AM – 9:30 AM and 3:30PM – 6:30 PM

Click here to view the latest pet policy on UP Express


Dog Rules on Taxis in Toronto

Do Toronto Taxis Allow Dogs?  

Yes, most Toronto taxi services allow dogs but you must book a pet-friendly taxi. Unfortunately, you won’t have much luck hailing a pet-friendly taxi on the streets of Toronto. 

However, not all pet-friendly taxis are the same.

Thanks to a growing demand, there are now several taxi services that cater specifically to helping pet owners travel around Toronto with their pets:

Paws en Route – offers pet taxi services around Canada and pet air travel arrangements.  When riding in their taxis, Paws en Route ensures that every pet is properly secured in crash tested certified harnesses (learn why this matters). Dogs can travel solo too! Partners include VCA Animal Hospital, Dogtopia, Westjet, Center for Pet Safety, CNIB and more.

Taxi services can be booked online, by phone (1-866-204-7331), or via their mobile app.

YourDogButler – offers specialized dog transportation services – whatever your needs are. 

Their taxi services specialize in assisting dog owners who need to transport their pets home post surgery. Their vehicles are equipped with ramps and cushioned beds for your dogs. Vehicles also come equipped with safety harnesses and buckles too. 

Other services offered include:

  • Long distance USA/Canada border crossing by car
  • Air Travel Pet Concierge Services for pets relocating to or from Toronto
  • Voted best pet concierge service in Ontario 2021

Taxi services can be booked online or via phone 647-477-5858.

Goober Rides – offers pet-friendly taxi rides servicing Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, North York, Scarborough, Toronto, and Etobicoke. If you’re looking for great attention to detail and care – look no further than Goober Rides. With a perfect 5.0 star rating on Google Reviews, Goober Rides will help you transport your beloved animal around the GTA AND even pick up missing dog food or supplies you may need. 

Here are other taxi services in Toronto that offer pet-friendly rides – but are less pet-centric than the ones listed above.

Always make sure to call or select the ‘pet-friendly’ option when booking with the following taxi services in Toronto:

  • Beck Taxi (Beck Taxi app or call 416-751-5555)
  • Co-op Cabs (Taxi.club / Co-op Cabs / Crown Taxi / Royal Taxi App or call 416-504-2667) 

Rideshare Programs

Uber offers pet-friendly rides in Toronto. After selecting a location, you can scroll through the vehicle options to find the ‘Uber Pet’ option. Currently each pet-friendly ride is limited to one pet per ride, so owners of multiple dogs may have a much better luck obtaining taxi services from pet-catered taxi services listed above. 

Find the latest Uber pet policy here

Lyft 

As of the publish date (March 2022), there is currently no easy way to select a pet-friendly ride. Ultimately, it is up to the Lyft drivers to determine if passengers can bring dogs or other pets with them in the call.

Passengers should call their driver immediately after placing a request to ask if they can bring their pet along. 

Any accidental cancellation fees can be refunded by contact Lyft’s customer service if the driver is not comfortable with having a pet in the car. 

Find the latest Lyft pet policy here


Dog Rules on Water Taxis and Ferries in Toronto

Toronto Island Ferry Approaching the Toronto Centre Island. Toronto's CN Tower and the City Skyline is in the background

Can I take my dog on the Toronto Island Ferries?

Yes, dogs are permitted on the Toronto Islands and ferries but must be kept on leash at all times. 

Click here to find the latest pet policy for riding the Toronto Island Ferries.

Water Taxis near the Queen Quay's dock. In the background is the Toronto Island Ferry.

Are dogs allowed in the water taxi to the Toronto Islands?

Yes – in general, most water taxis in Toronto allow dogs. These certified and licensed in the Toronto harbour are confirmed to be pet friendly: 


Pet Policies for Public Transit in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area)

Dog Rules on GO Transit (GO Train and GO Bus)

Are dogs allowed on the GO Train? Are dogs allowed on GO buses?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the GO Transit – with some restrictions.

Small dogs can ride at all times provided they can fit in a small carrier that can sit on your lap or under your seat.

For larger dogs, the pet policies change to:

  • Must be on a leash at all times
  • A maximum of 2 leashed dogs per person
  • Must stay on the lower level of GO Buses and GO Trains
  • Leashed dogs allowed all weekend
  • On weekdays, leashed dogs are not allowed on GO Buses or GO Trains between: 5:45 AM – 9:30 AM and 3:30PM – 6:30 PM
  • If possible, avoid the accessibility coach which are the preferred coaches for service animals

Dog Rules on Brampton Transit

Are dogs allowed on Brampton buses? Are dogs allowed on Zum buses? 

Yes, dogs are allowed on Brampton buses – with some restrictions:

  1. Dogs must be on a leash or secured in an enclosed container / pet carrier
  2. Excluding service animals, dogs are not allowed on the Brampton buses during:
    1. Peak rush hour
    2. Emergencies
    3. Whenever the transit vehicle is heavily loaded
  3. Brampton Transit Bus Operators have the authority to refuse any animal they believe may be likely to cause harm, damage, or discomfort to any person or property

Züm, or Brampton Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit service allows dogs too. The service follows the same restrictions as the standard Brampton Transit buses. 

Click here for the latest pet policy for Brampton Transit

Dog Rules on Burlington Transit

Are dogs allowed on Burlington buses? Can they sit on a seat beside me?

Yes, but based on their pet policy, only small dogs are allowed on Burlington buses. Dogs riding on Burlington transit face the following restrictions: 

  1. Dogs must be completely secured in a pet carrier
  2. The carrier must be carried at all times by the customer/passenger
  3. Carriers must not obstruct aisles or take up a seat

Click here for the latest pet policy for Burlington Transit

Dog Rules on Durham Region Transit (DRT)

Are dogs allowed on Durham Region Transit?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the DRT (Durham Region Transit) – with additional restrictions:

  1. Dogs must be on a leash AND wearing a muzzle
  2. For smaller dogs, they can be secured in an enclosed pet transportation crate

Click here for the latest pet policy for Durham Region Transit

Dog Rules on Hamilton Street Railway (HSR)

Are dogs allowed on Hamilton Transit ? 

Based on HSR’s (Hamilton Street Railway), pet policy, only small dogs are allowed on Hamilton’s public transit system:

  1. Dogs must be in a pet carrier
  2. Dogs are not allowed during rush hours or whenever the bus is crowded

Click here for the latest pet policy for Hamilton Transit (HSR)

Dog Rules on Mississauga Transit

Are dogs allowed on MiWay?

Yes, dogs are allowed on MiWay – however dogs must be on a leash or in a pet carrier in order to ride. 

Currently, there are no time restrictions as to when dogs are allowed on Mississauga buses. 

Click here for the latest pet policy for Mississauga’s MiWay

Dog Rules on Oakville Transit

Are dogs allowed on Oakville buses?

Yes, dogs are allowed on Oakville Transit. However, dogs must be on a leash AND muzzled  or secured in a cage/pet carrier before boarding any buses in Oakville. 

Click here for the latest pet policy for Oakville Transit 

Dog Rules on YRT / VIVA / York Region Transit

Are dogs allowed on the YRT? Are dogs allowed on the VIVA?

Yes, dogs can take either the YRT or VIVA buses with you – with some restrictions.

  1. Dogs must be on a leash or secured in an enclosed container / pet carrier
  2. Excluding service animals, dogs are not allowed on YRT or VIVA buses during:
    1. Peak rush hour (Mondays to Friday between 6:30 AM – 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM)
    2. Emergencies
    3. Whenever the transit vehicle is heavily loaded
  3. York Region Transit Bus Operators and VIVA Bus Operators have the authority to refuse any animal they believe poses a threat to other passengers

Click here for the latest pet policy for the YRT/VIVA


Closing Thoughts

Overall, most public transit options in Toronto and the GTA allow companion dogs on board – just make sure you check out the restrictions before hopping on.

Happy travels!

What’s on Limone?

Depending on the situation we rotate Limone through various harnesses and collars:

Similarly, we rotate Limone’s leash based on our needs. These are the three leashes we use regularly:

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Maria is the founder of SYDE Road, a blog about adventure and often-times dog-friendly traveling. She loves researching and planning for trips and is the 'project manager' for many of the small group adventures documented on this blog. She believes that while it is always best to go into a trip with a plan, the best planned trips are always the ones that have time built-in to explore and get a bit lost. Her itineraries are detailed with safety hints and tips, but are also peppered with unique travel stories and experiences that are the result of free time, getting lost, or stepping off the main trails. She aims to inspire others and give people the confidence to travel the world and get a bit sidetracked!

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