Are Dogs Allowed on Subways?

Posted by Billy Francis

Subways, undergrounds, railways, and metros transport millions of people across the United States every day. Many of these mass transit systems welcome four-legged travelers to ride with their human companions. However, rules vary from city to city, so be sure to check out this roundup of the largest and most popular networks in the U.S. before you buy a ticket.

Even if your pooch is allowed to ride on mass transit, it doesn’t mean he should dive right into a rush-hour commute. Start by getting your dog used to his carrier at home, and be sure to reward him when he spends time inside without causing a fuss. Then, begin your public transport adventure with shorter journeys during non-peak hours to get him used to his new surroundings. If your dog doesn’t like loud noises and is easily spooked, a pet-friendly rideshare might be a safer way to get around a city.

The New York City Subway

New York, NY
“Livin’ my bag life.” Photo by @korrathemini

The New York City Subway is almost as recognizable as the city’s famous landmarks. Transporting passengers since 1904, this historic rapid transit system carries people and pups to five different boroughs and is the busiest network of its type in the Western Hemisphere. Four-legged passengers are welcome to join their owners on subway as long as they can be carried in a manner that does not annoy other passengers. Dogs ride for free and can also join their owners on NYC buses.

Fido’s favorite NYC attraction, Central Park, is easily accessible from A,B,C,D, N, R, Q, and W trains. He can also ride to Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, the most famous stop in the system and the connecting point for many lines. Spend the night within walking distance of the station at the Fifty Hotel & Suites by Affinia, which offers four-legged guests a VIP Paws Program.

San Francisco Municipal Railway

San Francisco, CA
The best seat in the house. Photo by @alimossisboss

Canine tourists can get around The Golden City on the San Francisco Municipal Railway, also known as the Muni. This network includes buses, light rail Metro trains, streetcars, and the famous cable cars that trundle across the city. Leashed dogs are free to ride on Muni vehicles during off-peak hours (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again after 7 p.m.) on their owners’ laps or in a closed container under the seat. Only one pet per Muni vehicle is allowed to ride. Dog owners must pay the same price for pups traveling on board.

Ride the Muni to The Baker Beach Parking Lot SW stop and walk to Baker Beach for epic views of The Golden Gate Bridge. Afterwards, you’ll be happy to take a break at the Laurel Inn. This popular pet-friendly hotel is within walking distance of Alta Plaza Off Leash Dog Park.

The Boston “T”

Boston, MA
"Is it nearly T time?” Photo by @orlydoglife

Boston’s subway system is known by locals as the “T.” Operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the system has 147 stops around town to make exploring New England’s largest city as easy as Boston Cream Pie. “T” operators don’t have to accept dogs on board, but may allow leashed pooches to ride if they are well-behaved and don’t take up a seat. Smaller animals should be kept in carriers. Dogs ride for free. Boston buses also welcome pups on board at the driver’s discretion without charge.

Ride the “T” to the Harvard Avenue station and walk to Charles River Canoe & Kayak, where you can enjoy a different mode of transport with your pooch. Make a reservation for two at the nearby Studio Allston Hotel. This boutique property is at the center of a creative community and is a great place to set up shop and work remotely with your canine colleague.

Seattle Monorail

Seattle, WA
"This definitely beats walking!" Photo by @crazydoodlesiblings

Enjoy a ride with your pup by your side on the Seattle Center Monorail. This elevated train welcomes dogs and their owners to ride together, as long as Fido is wearing a leash. Dogs can also ride on any bus in Seattle at the discretion of the operator, as long as they stay off the seats and wear a leash. Small lap dogs ride for free, while larger Labs pay a reduced fare.

Stroll from the monorail station to Olympic Sculpture Park. This free, public art museum welcomes leashed dogs to explore a paved trail that winds between a variety of interesting sculptures. The Edgewater, a Noble House Hotel, is also within walking distance of the monorail. Visiting canines receive beds and bowls at check-in.

Washington D.C. Metro

Washington, DC
“Best ride ever!” Photo by @bambi_monster

The Washington D.C. Metro serves the nation’s capital as well as several jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority permits pets to be transported on Metrorail and Metrobuses around Washington D.C. in a carrier. Dogs ride for free.

Washington D.C. Metro Center is the city’s main station and is located near The White House and a variety of other notable city attractions, like the National Mall, which welcomes dogs on leashes. After a day of discovery, spend the night in a water view room at Mandarin Oriental Washington DC. Four-legged guests receive pet beds, bowls, and treats.

Chicago ‘L’

Chicago, IL
Elevate Fido's commute. Photo by

The Chicago ‘L’ is the second busiest public rapid transit system in the U.S. The Chicago Transit Authority welcomes small pets inside a travel carrier on city buses and elevated trains. Dogs ride for free.

Ride the “L” Red Line to Chicago Station and join the crowds alighting at the busiest station in the city. Head to Lake Shore Park and walk along the southwestern shoreline of Lake Michigan, or get on the water with Illinois’ top dog-friendly attraction, Seadog Cruises Chicago by Hornblower. Then, rest up with your Retriever at Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection, where beds, bowls, and treats are provided.

San Diego MTS

San Diego, CA
Just "pawsing" for a break. Photo by

San Diego has had a public transit system in one form or another since the 1880s. The Metropolitan Transit System transports people from downtown to the city’s many beaches and beyond. Small dogs are welcome on buses and trolleys inside carriers on their owner’s lap, and they ride for free.

12th & Imperial Transit Center near Fido’s favorite MLB stadium, Petco Park, is the city’s busiest MTS station and the only stop that services all three lines. If you want to catch a ball game with your best friend, The Barkyard at Petco Park features five semi-private, dog-friendly viewing areas and is open for select games. Hit a home run with a night at Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. This super pet-friendly hotel offers treats, beds, bowls, and complimentary food, plus there’s a pet relief area on the 9th floor.

Atlanta MARTA

Atlanta, GA
Next stop, fun! Photo by @marta_explorers

From Five Points to Lindbergh Center, just under half a million people travel on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) every day. Canine passengers can travel on MARTA trains, streetcars, and buses, as long as they are carried inside a secure carrier with a latch or lock. Dogs ride for free.

Disembark the MARTA with your mutt at Five Points, ATL’s busiest station, and explore the bustling urban oasis downtown. Snap a selection of memorable pics at Centennial Olympic Park before retiring to your room at Aloft Atlanta Downtown, where four-legged guests receive treats and bowls at check-in.

Have you taken your dog on a subway ride? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by iStock/Cebas.