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30 CHAPTER FIVE STROLLERS LITERATURE REVIEW ON STROLLERS AND STROLLER will be included in a category within the Co-operative Seat- ACCOMMODATION POLICIES ing area. The blue decals will extend strips outward for the length The problem of accommodating strollers has grown as of the Co-operative Seating area depicting other types the size of strollers has increased. No longer just small of people requiring special seating. On the actual seats umbrella strollers, which can be folded and hung over the themselves, a graphic depiction of a person standing next arm, strollers are now multipurpose, with removable baby to a seat will be woven in the material to indicate the action that is expected from anyone sitting in those seats. carriers and attached pouches for diapers, bottles, and As with "handicap parking" wheelchair symbols, these other accessories. graphics are likely to encourage people to keep moving back so as to avoid sitting in what would be perceived as Magazine articles and blogs report conflicts between par- a "reserved" seat (Schepers 2009). ents with strollers and other passengers. For example, this 2008 posting on a blog dedicated to "The T" light rail system Chapter nine contains more information on the agency's in Boston describes the conflict: experience and policies. I wavered between who I found more annoying: the woman who brought a ginormous stroller on public In another mishap in New York City in 1995, a stroller transportation or the passengers who steadfastly refused was caught in the doors of a train. To remedy the problem, to let her in thus creating a dangerous bottleneck newer cars and some older retrofitted cars have door sen- (Ginormous Strollers on T Buses 2008). sors or closed-circuit monitors to alert the driver and prevent such accidents (Alvarez 1995). One example of the struggle over this issue is an incident in October 2008 that created outrage in Ottawa, Ontario, The decision about whether to allow boarding of a stroller Canada, when a bus driver refused to allow a young woman and whether it must be folded is most often left to the discre- onto the bus with a stroller and then drove off with her two- tion of the driver. For example, the stroller policy at Sioux year-old child on board (Drudi 2008). Following the incident, Area Metro in South Dakota states, if "due to the size of the OC Transpo's staff proposed a series of recommendations stroller and/or if the stroller is blocking or narrowing the that would provide clear rules about the transportation of aisle, the driver may deny the passenger a ride" (Sioux Area strollers on the OC Transpo buses. One of the most contro- Metro 2008). versial rules was prohibiting open strollers, except in empty spaces designated for wheelchairs. If there were no empty Victoria Regional Transit System in Victoria, British spaces, the stroller would have to be folded. Upon cries that Columbia, has set clear priorities for the accessible seating this rule discriminated against parents and would be a hard- area as follows: ship in winter weather, the OC Transpo transit committee agreed to continue to allow open strollers in the aisles, unless 1. Customers who use wheelchairs, scooters, or other the driver found that the open strollers interfered with the mobility aids safe movement of passengers (Cockburn 2009). OC Transpo adopted a new Co-operative Seating Area. Royal blue decals 2. Elderly customers and customers with disability or displaying new, modern graphics depicting people eligible mobility issues to use Co-operative Seating are placed on the windows in this area. Although wheelchairs are given priority in the 3. Customers with strollers United States, Canadian providers may offer priority to per- sons using wheelchairs and other mobility devices; people 4. Luggage (in the case of double deckers). with children that may or may not be in strollers; pregnant women; seniors; people with injuries; and people with invis- However, it is still up to the driver to resolve cases of a ible disabilities. For this particular agency, people who are conflict. The policy directs the driver to inform the customer eligible for priority seating (such as those with disabilities) of the priorities, and if a customer refuses to respect these
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31 priorities the driver is to "use discretion as to whether a tran- Some operators, such as County Connection and AC sit supervisor should be contacted to assist in resolving the Transit in California and Sioux Area Metro in South issue" (Victoria Regional Transit Commission 2010).Other Dakota, will allow the driver to lower the lift or ramp to agencies have adopted policies that relieve the driver of mak- board unfolded strollers upon request by the adult passen- ing decisions about strollers. Two examples are Valley Tran- ger. However, Tri Delta Transit in California has gone one sit in Appleton, Wisconsin, and Link Transit in Washington step further by removing one set of seats on its 40-ft fixed State, both of which require that the child be removed from route buses to create a designated stroller area. "We cur- the stroller and the stroller be folded before boarding the bus rently accommodate these passengers by deploying the lift (Valley Transit 2009). In the province of Ontario, Brantford to assist them in boarding the bus," said Tri Delta Transit Transit changed its requirement that strollers be folded and Chief Executive Officer Jeanne Krieg. "However, we rec- now allows open strollers. However, the policy states, "Over- ognized the difficulty they encounter when required to fold size strollers will not be allowed on the buses. An oversize their strollers, and felt there was more we could do to make stroller is anything larger than a single stroller and includes their experience easier and more enjoyable" (APTA Pas- jogging strollers" (Brantford Transit 2010). senger Transport Archive 2006). Tri Delta buses can also accommodate two additional strollers if the wheelchair Some stroller manufacturers extol the virtues of their sin- area is not occupied. gle-seat stroller's ability, at 20 in. wide, to fit easily through doors. This is an important factor on buses, where the aisles A 2008 article in the New York Magazine evaluated nine are typically 20 to 23 in. wide. Compounding the problem strollers priced between $150 and $1,000, complete with of strollers on buses is the sale of double-seat strollers for a "street test" of each (see Figures 19 and 20). Comments parents with a baby and a toddler and even triple-seat stroll- on their ease ranged from complimentary ("Buses and sub- ers that have accompanied the rise of multiple births. For ways a snap; stroller is light enough for hip sling. Great for example, a side-by-side stroller can weigh almost 21 lb and walk-up apartments, public transportation") to scathing have dimensions 39 in. high by 30 in. wide by 31.5 in. deep. ("On bus ride, hit a passenger in the head with seat and had A tandem stroller can weigh more than 55 lb with dimen- to ask another rider to fish MetroCard out of pocket. On sub- sions 52 in. high, 40.25 in. wide, and 25.5 in. deep. Because way, actually accepted an assist from a pregnant woman," of the difficulty of maneuvering large strollers and several and for another stroller, "Ran over several feet on subway children, parents have often fought bus operator require- and bus and found climbing stairs unassisted was next to ments that the strollers be folded before boarding. impossible") (Penn 2008). FIGURE 19 Two double strollers: One child positioned above another (left ) and a wide stroller for two (right ) on a CTA bus in Chicago [courtesy : (left ) J. Goldman, Nelson\Nygaard Associates; (right ) CTA].
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32 FIGURE 20 Boarding a bus with different types of strollers in Austin, Texas. Two women remove children and fold strollers at a bus stop as they prepare to board a bus. The woman on the left boards with a collapsed umbrella stroller. The woman on the right boards with a larger folded stroller (courtesy : Capital Metro). In a 2003 TRB report Use of Rear-Facing Position for included in that definition not only people with disabilities Common Wheelchairs on Transit Buses, the authors found but also older people and those with heavy shopping, bulky that "Across Europe, the use of urban buses by persons with luggage, and buggies. Petterssen concluded that "Local bus strollers is greater than the use by persons in wheelchairs" transport was a lifeline for many parents with young children (Rutenberg and Hemily 2003). Research by Geraldine Pet- and accessible buses made it easier to use, reducing isolation terssen in a 2009 article published by the Association for and increasing social inclusion" (Petterssen 2009). However, European Transport notes that "Between 35% and 40% of her research found that some of the buses are so well used by the European Union's population has reduced mobility" and buggies that additional parents with strollers cannot board.