Pets / Service Animals

Riding With a Service Animal

Service animals provide important assistance to individuals with disabilities. Your service animal and/or service animal-in-training is welcome on board Rio Metro buses and trains at no additional charge.

What is a Service Animal?

  • Service animals can be guide dogs for the blind or visually impaired, signal dogs for the hearing impaired, or other types of animals that can be individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
  • Emotional support, therapy, comfort, and companion animals are welcome aboard trains and buses if enclosed in an animal carrier that can be held on your lap or stored under a seat. Large animals (unless it’s a service animal) that does not meet this criteria are not permitted.
  • A service animal must always be under the control of the owner or handler.
  • Service animals require no special tag, identification, certification, papers, harness, vest, cape, or pass.
  • Misrepresenting an animal as a service animal is a violation of NMSA 28-11-1 et. seq. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Learn more on the Electronic Federal Code of Regulations (e-CFR) Title 49 Part §37.3. Page.

Service Dog

Work & Tasks the Service Animals Can Perform

Examples include:

  • Alerting individuals who are hard of hearing or deaf to intruders or sounds
  • Alerting individuals with seizure disorders to an oncoming seizure, or responding to a seizure
  • Fetching dropped items
  • Guiding individuals with visual impairments
  • Pulling a wheelchair

Please be aware that a rail or bus operator or other Rio Metro representatives may ask if the animal is a service animal and what task the animal has been trained to perform.

What is Not a Service Animal?

  • Pets are not service animals

Control of Your Service Animal

You must keep your service animal under control at all times. The animal should always be on a leash, harness or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of his/her disability to use a harness, leash or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control.

Train conductors or bus operators may require you to remove your service animal en route or from the station premises if:

  1. The animal is out of control and you do not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog causes a significant disturbance by barking repeatedly and uncontrollably or is not housebroken)
  2. The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others

Additional Guidelines

  • If you are asked to remove your service animal, but you would like to remain on the premises and / or continue travel without the animal, you must make arrangements for another person or local animal control to accept custody of your animal
  • The service animal must remain on floor
  • A service animal must sit under the passenger's seat or at his or her feet. Service animals are not allowed to sit in the aisle or on seats

Note: These service animal guidelines apply on Rio Metro services and at Rio Metro facilities. Different rules may apply in other public places.