Few parents or caregivers who have ever manoeuvred a child in a stroller while on the bus, streetcar or subway would say they enjoyed the adventure. In my experience it does a number on your back, your nerves and your mood. And that’s before the added fun of humping groceries at the same time or dealing with a meltdown.
Trust me, if there was a car or a chauffeur handy, most of us would gladly skip the whole rigamarole.
But now, the very existence of strollers appears to be up for debate in my city, Toronto. After a Monday night meeting in which a woman complained about the hassle of strollers on the public transit system and suggested limiting their numbers or charging for them, Toronto Transit Commission chair Karen Stintz said she’d ask staff to look at the issue and report back on solutions.
While TTC brass has already been dismissive of the woman’s proposals, don’t expect this debate to go away quietly. Some are suggesting other ways to curtail the impact of strollers, which include having parents and caregivers fold them up and hoist children in their arms, which sounds like a great reason to never leave the house.
Defenders of strollers were quick to jump in through social media and point out that public transportation is intended for all – and we should have a little empathy for parents and kids.
In a response to a mention on CBC, Greg Burrell@ivanvector wrote: “We should be celebrating parents who choose public transit, not penalizing them. Penalize parents who buy SUVs.”
One writer pointed out that a device for carrying a child should probably outrank giant backpacks as a forgivable inconvenience. “I’d also like to see a #TTC awareness campaign directed at those who feel their small bags are entitled to a full, separate seat,” 97A@midtowntrolley wrote.
And Jason Carlin@the2scoops suggested a good one: “The only result of this #TTC study on strollers that I’d accept is ‘increase bus frequency on stroller heavy routes’. Which won’t happen.”
In the meantime, may I propose fewer glares and even a helping hand for the next stroller custodian you encounter on the bus? They’re actually not trying to ruin your blissful ride.