Travelling with your pet can be a fun and enriching experience. The internet is replete with stories of pets who have become seasoned travellers and roamed around the world with their humans.
In India, the practice of taking pets along while travelling is still rare, due to inadequate facilities.
While airlines do make provisions for pets in the cargo hold, that is not a very safe option and is prohibitively expensive.
The Indian Railways allow passengers to travel with their dogs, but they need to book seats in the AC First Class or First Class compartments and reserve a two berth or a four berth compartment exclusively for their use and pay the required charges, depending on the train.
If the passenger isn’t travelling by AC First Class or First Class, the pet needs to travel in the Luggage Van/Brake Van.
A pet away from its owner gets really anxious—especially if the surroundings are loud and full of strangers. Most importantly, while travelling, pets are often kept in cages, much to their distress.
Fortunately, for those who want to travel with their pets, the Karnataka State Transport Corporation has come up with the ideal scheme. NewsMinute has reported that according to KSRTC’s new luggage policy, pet owners can take their pets along while travelling. This service will be applicable from February 1.
KSRTC has directed its crew to consider a pet as a passenger. While the charge for a pet dog is equivalent to the fare of one adult passenger, the fare for cats, rabbits, pups, birds etc., shall be equivalent to the fare charged for a child.
However, if passengers refuse to pay the full fare amount, they will not be allowed to get their pets on board.
The Bengaluru-headquartered KSRTC has 8000 buses, plying to different parts of Karnataka and neighbouring states. The Times of India reported that the transport behemoth acted on some complaints by passengers, who claimed that KSRTC crew were refusing bus-entry to pets. According to a KSRTC official, the objective of the exercise is to make services and staff pet-friendly.
Terms and Conditions:-
Naturally, you cannot just put a leash on your dog, and board a bus. You need to follow certain regulations, to ensure a smooth journey for you and your fellow passengers.
Review the fare, on the KSRTC website’s ‘luggage rates’ section here.
Under the luggage section, check for the ‘Pet Animals’ category.
For dogs, the fare is equal to the price of an adult passenger’s ticket.
For smaller animals, i.e. puppies, cats, birds or rabbits, the fare will be equal to the price of a child’s ticket.
Pets cannot be considered ‘free allowance.’
Free luggage is the amount of permitted luggage weight a passenger can carry, without paying extra cash.
If you are travelling on a KSRTC bus with your pet, there are a few precautions that you must keep in mind.
Make sure your pet is on a leash, or inside a pet carrier. There isn’t anything more annoying than a pet whose owner is unable to control it.
Stop by the vet before you and your pet travel, to make sure your pet is up to date, with all vaccinations. Also, collect a copy of your pet’s health records, in case you need to consult a vet on the road. Also, stock up on prescription medication.
Create a tag, with your name and phone number and make your pet wear it. In case your pet decides to wander off, someone can use the information on the tag to contact you.
Create a small pet first aid kit, and include non-stick pet bandages, antibiotic washes, wipes and ointments, a medicine dropper and a digital thermometer.
Don’t feed your pet a couple of hours before you are due to travel.
Most importantly, pets may be prone to motion sickness. For a dog, the signs are excess drooling, yawning, dry heaves, defecating, whining, vomiting, and restlessness. Small puppies are more prone to motion sickness because their inner ears aren’t developed. For cats, motion sickness is usually a result of the anxiety and stress associated with travel. Make your cat comfortable, by making it used to being in a cat-carrier, and furnishing it with bedding and soft toys.
Before taking a long trip with your pet, it is advisable to acclimatise it with a few short car-trips. Praise good behaviour with treats, and it will condition your best friend to be a calm and consummate traveller, and fully prepared to board the next KSRTC bus.
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An essential point to note-the policies followed by KSRTC may not be implemented by the BMTC or any other local transport affiliated to the KSRTC.
It is indeed a great initiative by the KSRTC to allow pets on board with their owners, and not make them travel in the luggage car or the cargo hold. Hopefully, other state transport corporations will take a leaf out of the KSRTC book, so all you pet-loving travellers can explore more of our country!