Baby steps: MTA takes ‘fresh look’ at allowing unfolded strollers on buses in NYC

bus stroller
Upper East Sider Danielle Avissar with her son Benji, 1, wait at an uptown bus stop on York Avenue.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

The MTA will take a “fresh look” at allowing parents to bring unfolded strollers on buses after moms called on officials to relax the policy.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials will come back with more information by next month’s transit committee meetings in March, according to Craig Cipriano, interim president of New York City Transit, the MTA subsidiary in charge of buses and subways.

“We hear what our customers are saying,” Cipriano told reporters Thursday. “We’re going to take a fresh look at this and we’ll have more to say by the next committee cycle.”

Several moms called in or testified in person at this week’s monthly MTA board and committee meetings demanding transit bosses get rid of a policy forcing them to fold up their strollers to board buses, which they said can be a challenge and even dangerous while managing their young ones.

“For those who have infants and newborns who are not even able to stand — much less sit — unassisted, it’s essentially impossible to fold while holding a child at the same time,” said Laura Roth, a public speaker who tuned to give her comment in via Zoom while holding her toddler.

“I think it’s up to allow the parent to decide what is safest,” she added.

Public speaker Laura Roth told MTA officials during the Feb. 24 board meeting it’s “essentially impossible” to fold a stroller while holding a child at the same time.Screenshot

New Yorkers shared their struggles of transporting their kids around the Big Apple in transit, often relying on the buses because most subway stations don’t have elevators.

Mothers shared their fears earlier this week of having to hold their babies in their laps, which could become dangerous if a bus crashes and sends passengers flying.

In other cities like ChicagoWashington, D.C., and Dallas local transit agencies allow open strollers on buses as long as there’s enough room for other passengers and depending on the cart’s size.

MTA Chairperson and CEO Janno Lieber said that the agency’s newer buses rolling out across the system this year have more flexible flip-up seating in the front.

“So that gives an opportunity to rethink the issue and how do you position and secure an open stroller that’s not folded,” said Lieber.

MTA showed off the flip-up seats in July 2021.Marc A. Hermann / MTA

“Historically the issue was if strollers remained open, was it safe to have the aisle crowded, was there space for that kid and that stroller to be accommodated without creating both safety and circulation issues,” the transit big noted.

The MTA aims to deploy 800 of the new buses by the end of the year and every new bus after that will also have the flip-seat setup, said Cipriano.

That’s still only about 13% of the agency’s huge 5,927-strong fleet of buses