Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to prohibit New Jersey Transit from denying individuals who require a guide or service dog access to any of its modes of transportation was signed into law on Thursday. NJ Transit previously had a policy that excluded guide dogs on sedans, including its Access Link fleet, which serves the disabled population. NJ Transit later changed its policy, and this law codifies those changes.
“Guide and service dogs are invaluable to residents with disabilities,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “They should never be mistaken as pets. Guide and service animals are trained to protect and inform their owners. The new law helps to ensure that residents who need these animals will not be discouraged from taking them wherever they need to go.”
The new law (A-3003) allows any person with a disability who uses a guide or service dog, or any guide or service dog trainer with a guide or service dog to ride on any bus, train or other form of transportation operated by NJ Transit with the dog, provided the dog is appropriately controlled.
“This law will make very clear that any individual who relies on a guide or service dog will be able to access public transportation without worry of being turned away or denied service,” said Downey (D-Monmouth), “Any step we can take toward creating a more accessible society for everyone with disabilities is worth taking.”
The bill was advanced by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee on June 6. The full Assembly passed the bill on June 27, 78-0.