A group of parents called on the MTA to change its policy requiring strollers to be folded on buses.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says baby carriages must be collapsed on board New York City buses for safety reasons and to save space for other passengers.
But several moms told the agency leaders Tuesday that it’s a challenge to close the carts during boarding, all while making sure their young ones are safe on board.
“It’s a total nightmare, but more importantly, it feels very unsafe for me,” Elisabeth Koechlin told the MTA board’s New York City Transit Committee on Feb. 22. “Truly, being a mom in NYC is hard enough as it is and for us moms that rely on public transportation, currently it is really a struggle.”
“Babies wiggle — mine is both heavy and strong — and I constantly fear he could slip out of my hands while the bus is moving,” said Koechlin.
One Upper East Sider said MTA bus drivers on two occasions told her she had to stow away her stroller — or else!
“There were a bunch of groceries bottles, everything, in the bottom [of the stroller] and I said, ‘How am I supposed to do this?’ And he goes, ‘I am not moving this bus until you take your baby out of your stroller,’” said Danielle Avissar.
“This is insane, I’ll just have people walk around me,” Avissar recalled telling the transit operator.
The uptown resident had previously been riding a bus during a near-collision last summer when the driver slammed on the brakes because a car driver cut him off, which sent straphangers flying.
“Everybody in the back that was near a poll, every single person either cracked a lip or a nose,” Avissar said. “You just think about how zero control you have, and I’m really curious if they did a simulation of this with a baby, what would happen.”
“It’s just against all human logic,” she said of the MTA’s policy.
In 2017, a Brooklyn dad launched an online petition that has since gathered almost 55,000 supporters calling on MTA to relax its stroller rules.
An MTA spokesperson told amNewYork that the agency has in the past deemed open strollers too much of a risk, but will take a “fresh look” in response to the Tuesday requests.
“Past hazard assessments have identified safety concerns when strollers are not folded and stowed away,” said Kayla Shults. “In response to this request we are taking a fresh look at the issue by reviewing past assessments and current incident statistics.”
Other cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas allow unfolded strollers on buses as long as there’s enough room for other passengers and depending on the cart’s size.
One advocate for better accessibility for parents said the Big Apple should follow suit, saying she doesn’t take her youngest of three children who is 2-years-old on the buses yet because it’s too much of a hassle.
“I can’t ensure that I have my three children stand by the road safely while I fold up a stroller, and then get them on the bus, and get them to sit somewhere safely in a moving vehicle,” said Christine Serdjenian Yearwood, the founder and CEO of the organization UP-STAND.
“If you live in a transit desert and that’s your only mode, or if your subway doesn’t have an elevator it’s not really an option with a stroller either,” she added.