Saturday, October 31, 2009


Pitbull boards TriMet bus.
Pitbull boards TriMet bus.
The 52 TriMet bus headed through Aloha Friday morning during a seemingly normal dark October day along Farmington Road.

But, a different type of rider jumped on board at SW 160th.

Furry. With four legs. And a tail wagging.

“You open the door, it’s really simple. People get on, people get off—and a dog can do it too,” says TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch (prounced coincidentally, Fetch).

She says the canine boarded without a transfer or paying any fare at all.

This is not the first time this has happened for the Portland area transit agency. A coyote tried to ride for free on a light rail train in 2002. An airport worker snapped photographic evidence of the freeloading four-legged fare jumper curled up on the seat at the PDX MAX stop.

“A coyote on the MAX train,” explains Fetsch, “it’s warm inside, they see an open door—they think it’s a nice place to go.”

Signs along the Farmington Road do have a silhouette image of a deer. Fetsch explains this does not indicate that deer ride for free. Instead, she says, it indicates an outdated way the agency used to designate areas of the city—using symbols like a snowflake, a beaver, a deer and a raindrop.

Fetsch says that no matter how well an animal might carry themselves in public, that it’s TriMet regulations that state any pet must be in a carrier.

“No dogs on the bus, even if they have the correct fare,” she said.

The dog in question did get to go anywhere. A nearby human walking their own dog was frightened by the pit bull mix being overly friendly and called 9-1-1.

The bus waited for a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy to arrive and take custody of the dog who was without collar, leash or microship. The deputy describes the dog as “loveable and friendly."

The mystery fare-jumping dog is currently staying at the Washington County Animal Services shelter until an owner can be found. Their director tells KOIN Local 6 that apparently Washington County pets are on board with mass transit. She says it was just last week that a different dog was found riding the MAX train in Beaverton.

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