Sunday, May 1, 2011

MBTA Stroller Madness

I have been sitting here for 10 minutes trying to figure out how to begin this post...I am fired up, and it will be long...here goes nothing...

I have lived in Boston for 15 years. Until last years move to the semi-burbs I took public transportation pretty much everywhere. For a few years I took the green line during rush hour, packed in like sardines. Then the #9 bus from Southie into Copley, and then the #7 from Southie into downtown all during rush hour times. I was a young professional, and I wasn't thinking twice about moms and kids on the T really.

I have helped mother's get their strollers on the bus, and moved so they could better fit it out of the way in the handicapped seating. Maybe once or twice was I actually annoyed with a stroller on the T or bus, but only because it was in the way of the walk way and the mother wasn't apologetic at all. If they were audibly sorry they were blocking the way I didn't pay too much attention, and shimmied past them.

But, I was, and will always be, one of those people that will immediately give up my seat if I see a mom, elderly or handicapped person. Even if I was in the window seat and the jerk next to me pretended to ignore the person in need of a seat, I would get up. I feel that the people behind all of this are not this type of rider.

When I had M, she didn't stop me from going out and about on the T or bus, even in the frigid winter months when she was born. Most of the time (because she was so little and it was so cold out) I would strap her to me via Moby Wrap or Ergo under my winter coat. It was easier for me this way, as well as for everyone around me.

When the weather got warmer, I learned the hard way about traveling on the bus with a giant UppaBaby Vista stroller. That sucker does not fit down the aisles - not even close. The first time I tried, I was getting on at South Station with a ton of other people, and I was horribly embarrassed as I was trying to jam this stroller down the aisle, knowing it wouldn't work, but I had nowhere to go. Someone thankfully ended up helping take the infant carseat off, and fold the massive contraption so that I could get out of the aisle, but the stroller was still in everyone's way. Every time after that I would make sure I was traveling at a less busy time of day, and that I could get a seat in the front sideways seats of the bus, and if I was especially lucky to have an empty bus, I could fold up the seat and put the stroller where the wheelchairs are supposed to go.
A nanny standing in the doorway of a T train -
with an UppaBaby Vista stroller and rumble seat

Luckily a few months later we moved to the burbs, and now I drive everywhere. If I was to take the bus/train again with her I would use an umbrella stroller. But I have one child and I have the luxury of having the option to drive.

Today an article in the Boston Herald was brought to my attention about a potential change in "pram policy" on the MBTA train and bus. As of right now there is no policy in place, but they are suggesting making it policy to have mother's fold their strollers if they want to ride the train or the bus. The MBTA even goes as far as saying that "the number one complaint I've had...is strollers." Not running off schedule? Not waits in tunnels? Not people taking up two seats? Not giant backpacks swinging around that could kill a small person?

Let me first say that I understand where this is coming from. Some strollers are huge...double strollers are ginormous. The MBTA trains and buses are antiquated at best. The aisles are small, there is no storage space for any sort of bag, besides your lap, let alone a giant stroller. If you get on the bus or T with a stroller and it is rush hour, and you can't get a seat or area of the bus/T that has room for the stroller, you will be in the way of a bunch of angry commuters. But some parents are forced to be in this situation. What if you don't have a car or can't afford a car? What if you have to take the train/bus? What if you have two babies? What if you have to drop your kids off a daycare in the city before work? Have you tried parking in Boston?? I could go on...

The MBTA is now suggesting that parents remove their children from the stroller, remove their bags from the storage space under the stroller, fold the stroller, carry the bags, carry the stroller and of course, carry your baby or hold your child's hand. Apparently they think all mothers are Superman (why wouldn't we just fly places then?). The thought of having to do all of this will make me never ride on the MBTA with a child, unless they are old enough to walk on their own. This makes me sad for all parents who rely on the MBTA as a means of transportation daily.

Like I said, I understand the other side of this, but I don't see how it justifies a precedence being put into place. If you can fold your stroller easily, then you should fold it up, or get it out of the way. If you can't, apologize to others and let them deal with it.

Before anything is set in place, they would like to launch a pilot program that would require anyone with a stroller to fold it before entering the bus. They then go on to say that this would "require passengers to stow their carriages"...where I ask you?? Have you seen the size of them folded? Isn't this becoming a safety issue now? These giant metal contraptions will just be flailing around the bus/T bumping into people!

I would love for you all to read the article by clicking here and to weigh in in the comment section with your opinion on all this. Would love to hear from both sides!

43 comments:

  1. If you make taking the T impossible (or nearly so) with young children and their care takers you are therefore teaching those kids that public transportation isn't for everyone. That's a bad lesson and bad for our future community and bad for the MBTA.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this! I can't believe they're actually considering this!

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  3. This is already the policy in NYC transit.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah but nobody does it and its not enforced

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  4. Taking a double on the T is crazy.. thankfully I too live in the burbs now and drive, but I'd have my 3 year old walk and carry my 1 year old in the LilleBaby if we lived back in the city.

    The few times we did take the T with our stroller (when my son was just born) I was so angry to learn there are no elevators at Government Center! I wonder if that has changed?

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  5. I like the suggestion of designating certain cars as stroller friendly - that way you always have choice (whether you have a stroller or hate the strollers).

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  10. This is old, I realize, but I'm venting. I used the T when my kids were small. I also had a cheap umbrella stroller that folded-- really-- to a size close to that of an umbrella. I still ride the T 20 years later, and am so damn sick of being pinned in the corner by hummer-size contraptions and rude mothers. It's just so unnecessary. Get a little stroller, fold it up and maybe hold the kid on your lap.

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    Replies
    1. Yea ok whos gon hold my baby while I fold the stroller what should I do with my bag and his baby bag foh

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    2. Yea ok whos gon hold my baby while I fold the stroller what should I do with my bag and his baby bag foh

      Delete
  11. Mega-strollers with all their attendant trappings wedged into crowded buses and trolleys during rush hour make for a thoughtless, rude and potentially dangerous disservice to other MBTA patrons, especially seniors and folks with disabilities...

    Common sense should dictate a policy on mega-strollers with the MBTA, so that these contrivances don't disrupt the flow of patrons entering and exiting T buses and trolleys. New York City has the right idea; of course, don't ask the MBTA to use common sense, or to exercise convenience and comfort for the vast majority of patrons....

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  12. i would like to comment on this i live in amherst ma and i have a infant who is 3months old and i am phyicaly disabled with a very bad back problem and i can not fold my stroller on the bus now upuntill this year i never had a problem with the free buses and now they put this same polocy into effect and i even got told by one driver that she could refuse me trasportation if i did not fold up my stroller as i said i do tell the driver that i am disabled but i dont know what to do if you could please give me some advice that would be great

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  13. I'm about to go to Boston and hoping to take my twin babies downtown for one day. Just one day. And twins = mom can't carry them nor fold the stroller. After reading some of these comments, I feel I would be very unwelcome in Boston.

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