Tuesday, 4 March 2008

State Transit say 'SORRY' (really?)

Fact or Fiction? Today the NSW State Transit, after finally admitting in Daily Telegraph that Barking Mad knew the law better than their bus drivers AND transit officers did; finally confirmed our legal right to travel on PUBLIC (note public) transport with our pets (providing we are responsible, of course) offered an apology to all Barking Mad members who have suffered abuse, inconvenience and public humiliation during the last year while Barking Mad has educated our members and encouraged State Politicians to proclaim a right that exists, but has been hidden. We regret that our elected officials have neglected to admit the current law and that it took a violent arrest on the 21st of February and inconvenience of many travellers for them to state the fact. (And Barking Mad thanks all our early members who have trusted us to point out their legal rights - yes, we have been justified.)

State Transit have offered free transport for all regular travellers with pets, with a special 'honorary' pass given to senior citizens from now until the end of 2009.

In regards to the arrest of me, the proprietor of Barking Mad, after being allowed onto the L20 bus on Victoria Road towards the city only to be subsequently harassed by transit officers for travelling with my cute, quiet, public-loving, pooch sitting inconspicuously under my seat, then violently arrested by the infamous Burwood police, State Transit have agreed to hire Barking Mad (a qualified workplace training organisation) to educate their drivers on the State Transit laws as well as the Disability Discrimination Act and 'assistance dogs'.

Fact or Fiction? Fiction. Although State Transit have admitted we were in the right, members are still being harassed even after the generous publicity in the Daily Telegraph and the public admission from the NSW Transport Minster, John Watkins. I am sorry it has come to this. We have known our rights for over a year and all our correspondence to the politicians has not helped. A female in a skirt, heals and a singlet (with dog, big handbag and legal briefcase) needed to get rolled off the bus and on to Victoria road to have her feet kicked out so she landed on the pavement to get handcuffed - separated from her dog, to have our civil right to travel on public transport acknowledged. It's really sad isn't it? What happened to man's best friend?