Woman urges TTC to limit, charge for child strollers
Chris Kitching, cp24.com
Published Tuesday, January 22, 2013 6:52AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 22, 2013 6:12PM EST
TTC employees have been asked to review how the agency accommodates child strollers after a passenger complained that the buggies are taking up too much space on crowded public transit vehicles during peak hours.
Transit officials promised to look into the issue after the passenger, Elsa La Rosa, made the complaint at Monday’s TTC board meeting.
During the meeting at city hall, La Rosa asked the TTC to limit the number of strollers it allows on buses during peak hours, prompting the board to ask staff to review the policy on strollers.
“When you see six baby strollers on a bus, the drivers are put in a very bad position," La Rosa said during the meeting. "No. 1, they can’t pick up any other passengers at a bus stop. No. 2, if one of the baby strollers wants to get off, everybody has to get off the bus and then get back on the bus again. It’s like something out of a comedy act.”
La Rosa also urged commissioners to impose a $2 charge for strollers, but TTC CEO Andy Byford says the transit agency has no plans to create an extra fare for prams.
“I think that would be wrong. Parents with toddlers rely on the TTC, often they don’t have cars,” Byford told CP24 on Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s at all acceptable to charge for strollers, so there’s no way we’re going to do that.”
In terms of placing restrictions on strollers, Byford said he would prefer not to do that, and he asked people to take a “common sense” approach to the issue.
“We will have a look to see if we need to vary our procedures, but I’d rather that it be self-policing, that people just act with courtesy and reasonableness to each other,” Byford said. “I don’t really want to go down the road of a specific limit because at the end of the day if the bus isn’t that full we can get plenty of strollers on. But if it really is absolutely full then we may not be able to get an additional one on.”
TTC chair Karen Stintz said she is opposed to restrictions and fees for strollers, and assured riders that the TTC will not do anything that would make travel more difficult for parents.
Byford encouraged passengers to do what they can do accommodate people with strollers or large objects to ensure they can board the bus, but he warned there may be situations where there is simply not enough room.
“If we can all work together, let’s try to get everyone onto the buses," he said. "They are pretty busy at times and pretty full.”
If a bus is overcrowded and cannot accommodate a stroller, the bus driver may ask the parent to wait for the next bus because strollers or large items on packed buses can pose safety hazards, including blocked aisles or exits, Byford said.
“If a bus is very, very full on occasions, very rare occasions, we may have to ask someone to either collapse a stroller or maybe wait for the next bus,” Byford said. “We don’t want to do that, but let’s all work together to keep the TTC moving and keep it comfortable and ambient for everyone.”
In those situations, transit operators are asked to exercise “sensible discretion,” Byford said.
The TTC is bringing in articulated buses, and Byford is hoping they will ease the overcrowding issue.
With files from CP24 reporter Rena Heer
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