Following a successful pilot test, Amtrak is extending and expanding its pets program, which allows travelers to take their small pets aboard with them on many eastern corridor trains.
Amtrak will also add the pets program—for trips of up to 7 hours in length—to most long distance trains beginning on Tuesday, February 16, 2016. A weekend-only pilot program on the Acela Express, which offers service between Boston and Washington, DC, starts on Saturday, February 20.
In a statement, Amtrak says that more than 2,700 pets have traveled with their humans along the Northeast Corridor since the program's launch in October 2015. Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC were the top departure cities.
"We are excited to bring this service to more of our passengers throughout the country who want to travel with these cherished family members," said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. "We listened to our passengers and delivered on this program, which will also help increase ridership and revenue."
"Expanding the Pets on Trains nationwide is a win for Amtrak and for millions of American pet owners who can now depend on their rail service for their travel needs," Rep. Jeff Denham of California said in a written statement. "I look forward to seeing the program's success across the country."
The program does come with some limitations. Both the pet and its carrier must be a combined weight of 20 pounds or less, and advance reservations are required for these furry passengers. The service also costs $25 each way. Service animals are exempt from this policy and can ride with their owners free of charge.