CTA to parents: break down those strollers when bus is crowded
BY TINA SFONDELES Transportation Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org October 11, 2012 4:36PM
The CTA is asking parents to make sure to break down strollers on crowded buses.
Updated: November 13, 2012 6:27AM
Attention, moms and dads on the CTA: Put the stroller away, pick up your kid and make way for others when riding crowded buses.
That’s the message the CTA will soon be telling parents via pamphlets and signs and through its drivers.
Officials said Thursday that the CTA will soon begin a re-education program for its bus drivers, who must enforce the policy. Drivers will soon be handing out fliers to stroller-loving parents as a reminder to fold them up during rush hours, if the bus is crowded or if disabled or senior riders are aboard.
While it’s already the transit agency’s policy to encourage parents to be “considerate” — meaning keep those strollers clear of the aisles and doors, CTA President Forrest Claypool says he hears more and more complaints about the problem from drivers and riders as strollers get bigger and bigger.
“I’m very happy to be making a concerted effort to educate our operators to tell riders, politely but firmly, what the policy is,” Claypool said at Thursday’s board meeting. “You should see that very, very soon.”
He added: “Obviously if it’s the middle of the day and there’s a handful of people, then we’re not going to ask them to break it down. But we are beginning this program to try to re-program or reinforce our operators to attack this issue.”
Claypool revealed the plan in response to public comments made at the board’s meeting by Verrone Perry, a rider of the No. 34 South Michigan bus.
“The baby strollers need to stop,” Perry said. “While they’re clearing the aisle with the baby stroller, there are people standing up, two to four people standing, that have worked hard all day and that want to sit down.
“The drivers need to say something. Buses should not move until the baby strollers are taken down and the baby is taken out,” she said.
But riders with children complain that it’s not always that easy.
Alexzandra Higgins, an Irving Park mom who writes a blog called the Mommy Dialogues, said she tries to avoid the bus during rush hour.
“But if I know I have to, I either bring a smaller stroller or put my son in a carrier, just because I’ve had some bad experiences,” said Higgins, who said buses have even passed her on the street because they don’t want to wait for her to break down her stroller.
But Higgins, 27, says avoiding an overcrowded bus can be tricky.
“I never get onto a bus that’s packed, because there’s no way to do it, but sometimes you’re on a bus and it suddenly becomes overcrowded,” Higgins said. “You can do your best to get out of the way, but you know, a baby’s just another person too. You’re not going to kick someone else off the bus. Why would you kick off a child?”
And using a baby carrier has its own risk, as people often don’t see that she is wearing one and bump into her.
“I’m a big fan of the carrier, but it’s not always the most practical choice because I’ve been elbowed before with a kid wrapped around me,” she said.