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36 Drivers are not consistent with regard to enforcement of the policies. Most of the conflicts that arise among passengers are the result of inconsistent enforcement by drivers. Policies are vague and rely on the operator's discretion in individual circumstances. Two medium-sized agencies indicated that "high num- bers of strollers on some routes creates delay" and "strollers are a significant source of frustration for both drivers and passengers." FIGURE 25 Where are strollers required to be placed All agencies, regardless of whether they had a stroller (n = 19)? policy in place, were asked whether restrictions regarding strollers were considered but not implemented (Table 21). None of the agencies charges a fee for strollers, requires stroller inspection or approval, or issues a stroller permit. TABLE 21 RESTRICTIONS ON STROLLERS CONSIDERED BUT NOT Driver Assistance IMPLEMENTED Yes 18% (7) Only one of the agencies indicated that drivers are requested No 82% (33) not to provide assistance. Sixteen of the 31 agencies (52%) n = 40. with a stroller policy in place indicated that their policy does not provide direction regarding driver assistance. One respondent indicated that "most drivers are eager to help, but Three of the agencies said that conflicts with wheel- that they are not required to do so." One agency stated that chairs were a major concern in considering restrictions on "no assistance is required for strollers"; another agency said large strollers. In all three cases, the agencies give prior- drivers are "only required to assist with wheelchair stroll- ity to wheelchairs but allow riders to park strollers in the ers." Twelve of 31 agencies (39%) said that drivers may pro- areas reserved for wheelchairs when space is available. One vide assistance if requested. As shown in Figure 26, where agency said staff had extensive discussions about alterna- drivers offer assistance, that assistance generally includes tives, ranging from strict enforcement of the existing policy extending a ramp or lift or providing help to the passenger to removal of seats for strollers and storage of large objects. boarding or alighting with the stroller. Ultimately, the agency plans to require perimeter seating (all seats facing the aisle) when placing its next bus order. ONE AGENCY'S EXPERIENCE: TRI DELTA TRANSIT, ANTIOCH, CALIFORNIA--CREATING SPACE ON BUSES FOR STROLLERS Tri Delta Transit's removal of a two-passenger seat to accom- modate strollers on its fixed route buses is a story of detective work to solve a high and growing number of late trips on specific routes and complaints about rude drivers. Tri Delta is officially Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, which describes the area in the California county where it is located. FIGURE 26 Strollers: Which of the following types of assistance may drivers provide (buses) (n =12)? The investigation began with operator reports indicating "many lift deployments" unsupported by the number of paid Stroller Policy Effectiveness disabled fares. In addition, the late trips did not match what the staff knew about the time required to board a mobil- Most agencies responded that their stroller polices are "effec- ity device. As the chief executive officer (CEO) said in an tive." Several agencies reported having few problems, and April 13, 2010, e-mail, "Basically: it just didn't seem right some agencies said they have few strollers. Agencies that (sorry--gut instinct isn't very scientific...)." Staff started indicated challenges with strollers or their stroller policy spending more time on the offending routes to watch what noted the following are primary problems: was happening and noticed a very high number of strollers. The CEO noted,

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37 The issue wasn't getting the strollers on and off the bus-- it was our rule that the strollers must be folded and placed room for standing when the bus is crowded and no strollers out of the aisle. Some of the folding sessions took several are on board. minutes, especially if there were multiple children and/ or lots of packages. Being a former driver of a double stroller I could completely relate to the issues with being forced to unload and fold (J. Krieg, Tri Delta Transit, personal communication, Apr. 13, 2010). Operators were getting into arguments with passengers who did not want to take their children out of the stroller to fold it, and mothers with strollers were complaining about rude drivers. There were also language barriers between the drivers and some Hispanic parents. In addition, other passengers who witnessed the stroller-related events com- plained, as did passengers whose buses were late. A committee of operators, safety/training, maintenance, planning, and marketing employees met and recommended that strollers could remain unfolded in the wheelchair area as long as there were no wheelchairs on board. If a wheelchair passenger boarded, the stroller had to move. Overall, the CEO reports that this recommendation worked very well. However, a few incidents of disagreements between people in wheelchairs and parents with strollers still did occur. FIGURE 28 Stroller seating area window stickers (courtesy : In 2005, Tri Delta staff decided to remove one two- Tri Delta Transit). passenger seat from a fixed route bus and label the area for strollers. After a four-month demonstration period, in March 2006 one seat was unbolted from all 40-ft fixed Passenger comments at community meetings have been route buses used on Tri Delta Transit's 14 local routes very positive. Based on feedback, a special stop request button (Figure 27). A static cling transparent sticker is affixed has been added in the stroller area. When the stop request but- to the window marking the area for strollers (Figure 28). ton in this area is activated, the operator can position the bus to No seat removal was necessary for the commuter coaches safely deploy the mobility lift for the stroller at the next stop. In and paratransit vehicles. Although initially there was con- recognition of this community success story, one of the juris- cern from the committee about decreased seating capacity dictions in the service area has honored Tri Delta Transit with during crush-load periods, passengers actually have more a Transportation Equity and Access to Healthcare award. FIGURE 27 Stroller seating area on Tri Delta Transit bus (courtesy : Tri Delta Transit).