Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Case for Strollers on Transit

It's that time again: Listicles. This week's topic was suggested by Amanda, of Lilahbility.
I'm a very practical gal. You can tell by my shoes: from May through September you'll find me in nothing but Birkenstocks. The rest of the year it's gumboots or runners. Sometimes flat boots. So I tend to gravitate toward things that are practical first, attractive second. Form follows function, right?

So this Listicle topic baffled me a bit. Trying to think of things I have that aren't practical didn't get me very far. Guess I could just criticize things I don't have that are impractical--there's definitely a lot of baby stuff out there that is so ridiculous. Then I looked to a dictionary definition for inspiration. Nope.

Then on Friday I head a guy who was apparently put out by having to move out of the way for a stroller to exit the bus when he was getting on. He told the woman with the toddler in the little folding stroller, "Teach the kid to walk!". I glared at him, but he didn't notice. Anger at women daring to take up space on the bus with their kid's stroller is so commonplace & so frustrating. I was sorely tempted to give this guy a piece of my mind, but instead, I'll blog about it.

Ten reasons not taking a stroller on transit is really impractical:

  1. The bus rarely takes you to the door of your destination, you'll need to walk a few blocks. Doing that with a toddler is slooooow going.
  2. Toddlers often won't walk more than a few blocks. Or they'll do fun things like run into traffic.
  3. Shopping by transit, which is something that many of us do (shocking, I know), means lugging heavy bags which doesn't leave a hand free to cross streets holding your toddler.
  4. Toddlers sometimes fall asleep when you're out. Ever tried carrying that dead weight more than ten metres?
  5. Toddlers generally require a bag of paraphernalia to go with them: diapers, toys, extra clothes, food, water, potty seat, etc. Carrying that plus whatever you need on your outing is silly when a stroller basket will accommodate it without giving you back muscle spasms.
  6. Carrying your child plus all the stuff you need to take along is heavy, sweaty work.  In the summer? Not realistic.
  7. Toddlers are wiggly & don't like to sit still on bus seats. Being belted into a stroller is much safer for them when (not if) the bus has to slam on the brakes.
  8. When travelling with more than one child under age four or five, strapping them into a stroller is pretty much the only way to keep them safe & yourself sane.
  9. Getting on & off a bus with a little person who has short little legs & only maybe a year's experience doing things like walking can be difficult. 
  10. I'm all for babywearing & I normally do this a lot on transit, because it is easier in some ways, but it's just not possible when very pregnant.
Do you or have you taken transit with a toddler? Did you ever get people criticizing you for having a toddler in a stroller on the bus?

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  1. All the time. Whether I have a single a double, a double and four kids. People on transit suck bottom line, don't even get me started on being preggers on our transit system...

    1. Yeah, I really feel for the childcare providers on transit. It's hard hauling one kid around, let alone three...

  2. The discussion goes around and around. Our buses are NOT stroller friendly and sadly neither are most people.

    1. I don't find it hard to manoeuvre a stroller on the bus & they're generally smaller than the wheelchairs that the front part is set up for, so I think it's not so much a design issue. When the bus is busy--which is totally unpredictable or unavoidable on certain routes--people just don't move out of the way the way they will for wheelchairs.

  3. GAH!!!! Some people are such jerks!

    I love your take on this topic and your list is awesome!!!

  4. As a passenger on a bus, I don't mind strollers on two conditions:
    1. They aren't humongous like why would you try and bring a gigantic stroller onto the bus when you know that the aisles on the bus are already very narrow??
    2. Parents of said stroller knows where to go/park their strollers in the right area. Many a time on transit in Toronto one stroller will be on one side of the bus and another on the other side leaving no room to cross in between the two and so we get delayed because the bus driver will NOT move the bus till all the strollers are on one side of the bus.

    Note: buses are slightly different in Toronto than in Vancouver.

    On another note for parents who bring strollers onto buses, when would you consider a child to be TOO old for a stroller on the bus? Just out of curiousity since I have definitely seen kids that in my opinion don't belong in a stroller on the bus.

    1. The stroller that inspired this Listicle was a small folding one. She'd parked it in the correct spot & had told the driver in advance where she was getting off the bus. HE didn't tell the incoming passengers to wait--that was part of the problem. But the woman--pretty sure she was a nanny--didn't do anything wrong at all.

      As for age, I think it depends on the kid & what you're doing on your trip. If we're going somewhere for a kid activity, no shopping involved & little walking, I probably won't put my three-year-old in a stroller. Also, if there are other kids, I think that makes a difference. Sprout will probably ride the 'skateboard' of our stroller on the bus when his little sister's in the seat for a couple more years at least, which would put him at five.

      But honestly, I wouldn't put an age limit on it. I think we should do as much as we can to make transit more accessible for families. One, because it's more affordable than driving & two because it's a lot more environmentally sound.

  5. I can't relate to that, but Dino is four and we still bring our stroller along on walks and day never know when he is going to fall asleep or not want to walk . I am NOT carrying him around, LOL

    Great list, like how you used it for your blog

    1. Not a transit user, I take it? :) Thanks for dropping by!

  6. I always just tried to time my bus trips to not be at rush hour. I found that a little planning and sometimes a taking a little inconvenience on my part really saved a lot of my sanity.

    1. I don't usually travel at rush hour either, but it seems that the bus company here reduces service enough in non-peak hours that the buses get packed on weekends & midday & evenings. Last time we took the bus with a stroller, it was a Sunday at around 2pm & then 7pm. Both ways the bus was jammed with people. It's just hard to know when it's going to be busy & when it isn't.

  7. I was cracking up at "toddlers generally require a bag of paraphernalia to go with them.." So cute! Great list, and shame on that rude.

    Happy Listicles Monday!

  8. Angry people seem to think I'm a thoughtless woman randomly bringing a stroller onto the bus, taking up more than my fair share of bus. But what I am is the caretaker of a person, albeit a rather small one, who requires a stroller to get around. We rarely take up more than 2 seats worth of space. So more than I resent that people glare at me for hauling a stroller, I resent that they don't consider my kid a person.

    1. YES, well said! I feel the same way. If I use our small folding stroller it takes up as much space as my three-year-old does on a seat of his own. (Which he needs, as I have no lap left at 35 weeks!)


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