Posted Aug 2017
We received an inquiry from Rob Evans, who happens to manage a Facebook Group called Costa Rica by Bus.
In his group, someone inquired whether it is possible to bring service dogs into public transportation such as buses, taxis, or ferries.
While transit law does not allow pets or animals in general to ride in public transportation, the law for the protection of people with disabilities (Law 7600) allows service animals to use public transportation along with the owners. Notwithstanding the language of transit law, the law 7600 trumps the transit law.
Section 45 of Law 7600 sets forth the freedom and right of access with the following language:
“People with disabilities who use service dogs or other service animals, as well as equipment for their mobility, shall have equal and free access to public transportation as well as access to any building structure regardless of whether it is public or private, without causing any additional costs to them.”
Section 164(h) of the Regulation for Law 7600 states:
“That all public transportation shall be available to people with disabilities who may need additional assistance whether by tools and instruments as well as service animals.”
Furthermore, Section 176 defines service animal as the ones required for mobility, companionship and assistance. A problem, in my opinion, is that Costa Rica does not currently have a certification process for service animals. For people who are blind or ride a wheel chair, the situation is self-affirming and thus not required to produce further evidence about the necessity of the service animal. The issue will arise for people who need companion animals for emotional support. Without appropriate certifications, how can people demonstrate the need for the animal to a bus driver or a taxi driver.
In sum, all people with disabilities who require the assistance of a service animal are allowed in public transportation as well to all government facilities and private businesses. While people with emotional support animals could encounter some difficulties with the enforcement of this law, people with more apparent disabilities should not have any issues bringing their support animals along.
I hope this information to be helpful.