A pampered dog is internet-famous after her owner was forced to fork out for a ‘dog ticket’ on the bus.
Heidi Lewis initially thought the driver was joking when she took the number 27 in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, last Thursday and was made to pay 90p for her tiny French Bulldog Chanel.
However the six-month-old puppy was determined to get her money’s worth and hopped up onto her own seat next to Heidi.
A hilarious photo of Chanel relaxing on the seat next to a picture of the dog’s ticket with the comment ‘you paid for a ticket so you get a seat, babes’ quickly went viral, with more than 40,000 shares and likes.
Heidi, a 26-year-old mum-of-three, says this is the first time she’s ever been asked to pay for a ticket for Chanel – and questions why dogs are charged when babies go free.
Heidi from Twyncarmel, Merthyr Tydfil, said: ‘When the driver said I needed to pay for a ticket, I just laughed and I thought he was joking. I carried on walking.
‘He turned round and said ‘no I’m serious’. I replied ‘okay then, show me the ticket’ because I didn’t believe him.
‘I just started laughing then thought, ‘well if she’s paid she might as well take a seat’.
‘I was quite shocked really because I was thinking ‘why should a dog be charged if they don’t normally have a seat?’ Babies don’t have to pay.’
Support worker Heidi had been doing the school run last Thursday when she was told she’d have to pay for Chanel.
Bought as a birthday gift in September, the dog had reportedly never been charged before but made the most of it and even refused to budge when it was their stop.
Heidi said: ‘I’d done the school run with my kids. It’s £1 for my child – it’s only 10p cheaper for a dog.
‘Chanel hates sitting on the floor, she stands up on the bus normally when I take her on.
‘I’ve taken her on the bus before and they never told me about getting a dog ticket, but this time they said I had to, so I was just shocked.
‘The driver didn’t say anything and we were the last ones to get off the bus.
‘When I was getting off she wasn’t having it and wanted to stay put, so I had to pick her up to get her off. She’s been pampered too much.
‘He’d seen that I was taking my time and laughed when he saw me picking her up.
‘She loved the trip, she enjoyed looking out of the window.
‘Normally she’ll only sit when she doesn’t want to walk, but this time she enjoyed her own seat at the back.’
When Heidi told friends and family about the incident, she says they admitted they had never paid for their pets either.
Heidi said: ‘Some people have said they’d never realised you’re supposed to pay for a dog.
‘All my family have all got dogs and when they take their dogs on the bus they don’t have to pay. I’ve only ever seen people just walk on the bus with them.’
On social media, commuters and dog owners were split over whether dogs should be allowed a seat or if they should even be charged for a ticket.
Since Heidi’s post was shared, there’s been mixed opinions on the matter,
One person said they’d never been charged for a dog before, while a bus driver said: ‘I never charge for dogs – they’re more well behaved than the humans.’
One woman wrote: ‘She deserves a seat. She’s a paid traveller like everyone else.’
Someone else said that she’s always had to pay to take her dog on the bus, explaining: ‘You’ve always had to pay for a dog on a bus in my city and I believe it is at the driver’s discretion as to whether they are allowed on.’
On Stagecoach’s website, their conditions of carriage state: ‘One accompanied, well-behaved dog or other small animal which will not be a danger or a nuisance for other customers or our staff is allowed to travel with you on our buses at the discretion of the driver who may reasonably decide where on the bus the animal is best carried.
‘A fare may be charged for dogs and details are contained in the Guide to Tickets of the local Stagecoach operating company available on our website.’
A spokesperson for Stagecoach in South Wales said: ‘A dog charge has been in place for many years and contributes to the cost of cleaning the interiors of our buses.
‘There has been no change to our policy. There is no charge for guide dogs.’