What Animals are Allowed on TriMet? What Counts as a Service Animal?

Mar 13, 2019

He Came He Saw He Rode. Should He Have?

It’s not often our transit system makes the news across the world. And as far as we’re aware, this is the first time a llama has caused our newsworthiness. The irony of it being a “No Drama” llama is not lost on us.

A quick recap: the other week a photo of an unusually shaggy MAX rider spread through social media. Turns out it was Caesar the “No Drama Llama” on his way to the Oregon Convention Center. The image was seen by hundreds of thousands of people across the nation, and some of you had some pretty good quips about it. We had some fun with it, too.


We saw a lot of confusion about what animals are allowed on our system and what constitutes a service animal. Here’s a quick overview of what we allow on board.


Pets are allowed on board so long as they...

  • are kept in a closed carrier*

Service animals are allowed on board so long as they...

  • are on a leash or are in a closed carrier
  • remain under control and behave appropriately
  • remain at your feet or on your lap (they cannot sit on a seat)
  • are housebroken
  • are not aggressive towards other people or animals

What counts as a service animal? Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s an animal that has been individually trained to work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. This work could be guiding somebody with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to sounds, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items. These aren’t the only valid tasks, but they’re the most common ones.

An animal which only provides emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship does not meet this definition. They would still be allowed on board, but they would need to be in a closed carrier like any other pet.

Here are more details.

* Riders with a sharp memory will remember we have one exception to the rules above. Every spring, we allow dogs to ride on MAX to and from Oregon Humane Society’s Doggie Dash on Waterfront Park.

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