But King County Metro was the sore spot of my car-free life. Agency rules required me to fold Orion’s stroller. Holding all of the stroller’s contents and Orion, I then had to find a seat before the bus lurched forward. The challenge didn’t end once on board. I had to squish into a seat with all of our stuff and attempt to keep Orion from grabbing the stroller’s dirty wheels for the duration of the ride. Once we arrived at our stop, I had to reverse the whole ordeal.
As someone who would rather strap on an almost-30-pound, squirmy toddler or walk miles in bad weather than bring a stroller (plus two children) on the bus, I can relate. And don’t get me started on transfers.
Regardless of the reasons for Metro’s policy, which are not entirely clear (and, as far as I can tell, not explicity stated on the agency’s website or any of its printed materials), there isn’t much doubt that it makes busing extremely inconvenient and stressful (if not downright impossible) for parents, many of whom do not have other transportation options. And the thing is, (as Nelson discusses in her post) there are alternatives.
ANTIOCH, CA, March 31, 2006 – The Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority (Tri Delta Transit) recently became the first transit agency in America to create a designated stroller area on buses. In March, 2006, Tri Delta Transit took the precedent-setting, proactive step of removing one set of seats on each of its 40-foot fixed route buses, designating the remaining space for passengers with strollers. To date, 90% of Tri Delta Transit’s available fleet has been retrofitted with the new stroller area and the remaining 10% should be completed by mid-April, 2006.
You can read the rest of the press release (which includes the details of the policy) here.
Call me cynical, but I don’t see Metro’s stroller policy changing anytime soon. (The way things are looking, I’ll be happy if the routes I ride regularly are still around in a year.) It would be nice, however, if the current policy was at least clearly posted and consistently enforced.
And would it be too much to ask for a moment to find a seat (or at least a pole to grab) before the bus takes off?