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33 In addition, conflicts between buggies and wheelchairs arose do not currently consider this to be an issue." This agency, for the area designated for these vehicles. As solutions, she however, is more of an exception than the rule: a clear major- cites signage that more clearly denotes what is expected from ity of agencies (27 of 42, or 64%) regarded strollers as being riders, such as, "Please give up this space for a wheelchair somewhat or very much an issue (Figure 21). Where pro- user," and provision of additional space. Petterssen quotes vided, comments to this question addressed standard agency from the Good Practice Guide published by Bus Users UK policies, effectiveness metrics, or accommodations for stroll- as a trend worth emulating: ers on a transit vehicle. The tendency by some operators to move away from maximum seating capacity and provide circulating space in the forward part of a bus is welcome, and proper luggage and buggy space, together with obvious and adequate handholds, further assist comfortable movement inside the bus. Beyond these studies in the European Union, this litera- ture search focused on individual transit operations in Scan- dinavia to illustrate the variety of approaches for handling strollers. In Scandinavian countries, prams and pushchairs FIGURE 21 Indicate whether bringing strollers on your vehicles (i.e., baby buggies and strollers) are directed by policy to is considered an issue/concern/challenge for your agency. the bus luggage area, which has room for two prams or two wheelchairs. If the bus does not have such an area or Indeed, the highest-frequency concern among agencies if it is full, the parent and child must wait for the next bus. that consider strollers either a very important or somewhat Most transit operators require that the pram or stroller be important concern (answered by 25 of 26 agencies, or 93%) braked, but in Trondheim, Norway, the child's vehicle can be was blocking of aisles/egress (Figure 22). As with wheel- attached to the "mounting strap" (e.g., wheelchair tie-down) chairs and other mobility aids, general vehicle capacity and if it does not have brakes (Team Trafikk 2010). Many Scan- crowding of passengers were also issues, though not to the dinavian city bus systems do not allow prams and strollers same extent (56% and 67%, respectively). One of the few that are used to carry goods or luggage instead of children, agencies that added a comment to this question noted that although Stockholm, Sweden, specifically allows prams for problems particularly arise with "passengers boarding with transporting luggage (Stockholm Public Transport 2010). So stroller[s] that don't fold." too does Aarhus, Denmark; however, in Aarhus, prams with children are free but prams used to carry luggage require a separate ticket (Midttrafik 2010). In Helsinki, Finland, buses and trams are equipped with a special pram button by the door, which when pushed makes the doors stay open longer (Helsinki Region Transport 2010). Oslo, Norway, has removed poles by the middle door on its subway system to provide more room, particularly for entry by "twin car- riages" (Ruter 2010). SURVEY RESULTS Challenges and Concerns Strollers are a more contentious issue than wheelchairs and FIGURE 22 If you indicated that strollers are a very important other large mobility aids. Whereas policies addressing the or somewhat important concern, why is it a concern for your former items are primarily governed by federal regulation agency? (the ADA in the United States) or some provincial laws in Canada, stroller policies have developed in an ad hoc man- A comment from a medium-sized agency highlights a ner and face increased scrutiny. A few agencies did not problem that is not addressed elsewhere: that of language consider strollers to be an operations concern: one agency barriers. The agency indicated that a major concern regard- that marked "not an issue" clarified its response, stating that ing strollers is "communicating with Spanish-speaking "many of our customers use strollers and we are comfortable moms about correct procedures," but this could be relevant with the approach we take with respect to strollers, so [we] for populations speaking other languages, as well.
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34 Overview of Agency Policies TABLE 18 DOES THE POLICY REQUIRE THAT STROLLERS BE Of the 40 agencies responding on this topic, 31 (78%) have FOLDABLE/COLLAPSIBLE? a stroller policy in place. The other nine agencies (22%) Yes 63% (19) have no formal policy regarding strollers, although several No 37% (11) of them indicated that their agency considered implement- n = 30. ing a stroller policy but did not carry it forward owing to monitoring and enforcement concerns or agency boards not supporting staff recommendations. For example, three agen- The policies vary with regard to level of comprehensive- cies proposed policies that only folding/collapsible strollers ness and enforcement. A couple of agencies indicated the could be brought on board vehicles but did not implement requirements are not published but are understood by agency the policies based on the potential inconvenience to passen- staff. For example, Greater Glens Falls Transit notes that "for gers (who might need to purchase new strollers for transit practical purposes many strollers need to be folded in order rides) or difficulty of ensuring that drivers would enforce to keep the aisle clear." the policy. TriMet's policy is not explicit, but suggests that stroll- Although large strollers seem to be a new phenomenon ers "be collapsed if possible, so that aisles and doors are not for many transit agencies, several of the agencies surveyed blocked." Tri Delta Transit, an agency that offers a stroller have had stroller policies in place since the 1970s and 1980s. area on vehicles, noted that strollers do not need to be folded Many of the largest agencies were unaware of when their unless the stroller area is full and the wheelchair securement stroller policy was implemented, suggesting that it they had area is also full. Brandon Transit does not explicitly require been in effect for a long time (among the agencies surveyed, strollers to be folded but commented that "from time to time, the oldest known stroller policy dates from 1976). strollers may need to be folded, depending on the capacity of the bus." The primary comment from transit agencies regard- Smaller agencies, many of which are newer than the large ing their basis for requiring folding or collapsible strollers is agencies, have stroller policies that were primarily developed to keep the aisles clear, and according to one agency, stroll- in the 2000s. Many agencies are reviewing their stroller poli- ers "must not present a hazard to other passengers." cies, and some agencies, such as OC Transpo, updated their stroller policy as recently as 2010. As shown in Table 19, 23 of 31 agencies (74%) require that the baby/child be removed from the stroller on buses Stroller Size Limits and Design Requirements (four of the agencies that do not require foldable/collapsible strollers nevertheless require strollers to be empty on buses). Most of the policies do not limit the size of strollers, and One transit system manager highlighted the importance of even those that do have only rough size guidelines, with no requiring children to be removed from the stroller on the bus agency providing specific measurements/dimensions. Of the by recounting an incident when a child in a stroller hit a bus 31 agencies with policies in place, four (13%) limit the size of windshield during an accident. strollers (Table 17). New York MTA's policy states that small folded strollers are permitted, although no specific dimen- TABLE 19 sions are provided. BC Transit's policy limits the size based DOES THE AGENCY REQUIRE THAT THE BABY/CHILD BE on whether the stroller can be brought inside the vehicle: REMOVED FROM THE STROLLER ON THE VEHICLE? it must fit through the entrance, must fit in the securement Yes 74% (23) position, and must not block the aisle. No 26% (8) n = 31. TABLE 17 THE POLICY LIMITS THE SIZE OF STROLLERS Yes 13% (4) Of the 23 agencies that require a child to be removed from a stroller on a bus, seven (23%) indicated that a child must No 87% (27) be seated in the parent's lap. The other 16 agencies either n = 31. allow the child in a parent's lap or on a seat, or do not specify where the child must be seated. Several agency representa- A majority of the agencies surveyed require that strollers tives were asked about safety issues in the development of be foldable or collapsible (Table 18). Nineteen of 30 agen- their stroller policies, but few had any data about specific cies (63%) said that on board their buses, the child must be incidents to provide the basis for agency's requirements removed and strollers must be folded. about where children could be seated. Although requiring
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35 a child to be removed from the stroller may be the predomi- nant policy, several agencies said enforcement of this policy is a challenge. One representative of a medium-sized agency noted that rules requiring children to be removed from the stroller are listed in the information guide, on the website, and are posted on the buses, but drivers rarely enforce the rule, and "parents removing the child from the stroller is the exception rather than the norm." Seven agencies do not require children to be removed from the stroller on a bus. Of these, only two agencies require that children be belted in the stroller and wheels be locked on the stroller. Of the 12 agencies that operate both rail and bus service, only five indicated that they have the same policies on buses and rail cars. Six agencies that require strollers to be folded/ collapsed on buses do not have the same requirements on their rail vehicles. For example, TriMet in Portland requires collaps- ible strollers to be folded on buses, but children may remain in strollers on rail cars. Likewise, MARTA, WMATA, NJ Tran- FIGURE 24 Two unfolded strollers on a CTA (Chicago) rail car sit, Capital Metro, and New York City MTA require strollers fill the center aisle (courtesy : CTA). to be folded on buses, but do not have the same requirement on their rail vehicles (see Figures 23 and 24). Space Allocation and Limits on the Number of Strollers Although no agency has an official policy that limits the number of strollers allowed on a vehicle at one time, five agencies with stroller policies offered the caveat that stroll- ers could be limited depending on the passenger load on a vehicle. No agency limits the hours that strollers may be brought aboard vehicles. Only two of the 31 agencies have stated limits on the number of strollers allowed on a vehicle when wheelchairs are secured in the vehicle. As a matter of practicality, how- ever, a few agencies acknowledge that they informally limit strollers when wheelchairs are in spaces that could other- wise be used by strollers. Four of the agencies without limits on strollers when wheelchairs are aboard ask that strollers be placed in the wheelchair area on the vehicle. Agencies were asked whether their policies require or request strollers to be placed in a specific location on the vehicle. Twenty of 31 agencies (65%) indicated strollers must be kept in a specific location (Table 20). Figure 25 shows that the largest group of agencies requires strollers to be kept in the wheelchair area or out of aisles and doorways. TABLE 20 MUST STROLLERS BE KEPT IN A SPECIFIC LOCATION? Yes 65% (20) FIGURE 23 Small umbrella stroller on a New York City No 35% (11) MTA subway train (courtesy : J. Goldman, Nelson\Nygaard n = 31. Associates).