Gas prices have now fallen below $2 per gallon in states across the country, hitting $1.95 in some cities on the West Coast. Although many people are probably taking advantage of the cheap prices at the pump by driving more, there’s another ripple effect — more people are also using public transportation, due to lower ticket prices. Bus passengers in Seattle, however, may find themselves with an unusual seatmate — a friendly black lab named Eclipse.
Seattle is a very pet-friendly city to begin with, and pets are often allowed on public transport vehicles without question. But after quite a few trips to the dog park with her owner Jeff Young, Eclipse decided one day that she didn’t want to wait for Young to finish smoking his cigarette, and would take the bus to the dog park all by herself.
Within the past few weeks, quite a few commuters on the line began noticing the two-year-old Lab riding by herself and sitting down “just like a person does” — although always in a window seat, so that she can see outside.
Local radio host Miles Montgomery noted his surprise when the dog hopped on a seat near him and another passenger nonchalantly explained “oh yeah, that’s that dog that rides the bus to the park every day, by herself.”
“She started to wag her tail when she saw her stop,” Montgomery continued. “Then she jumped down from the seat and she just ran off the bus, and she ran to the dog park.”
Although a spokesman for Seattle’s King County Metro Transit stated that drivers usually require pets to be on leashes and accompanied by their people at all times, it seems that Eclipse is the rare exception (likely due to her affability and acute navigation skills).
Her owner, who lives right next to the bus stop, seems comfortable with the situation as well. “We get separated,” Young told his local news station. “She gets on the bus without me, and I catch up with her at the dog park.”
Buses — both public transit and private rental coaches — have long been seen as some of the most affordable and eco-friendly travel options on the road. It appears now that Seattle’s bus line has put the pressure on other cities to catch up: not only is the city reducing its carbon footprint, thanks in part to lower gas prices, but it’s also reducing its carbon pawprint, too.