Riddle me this: for whom would you be more inclined to give up a seat on the bus? A stroller-less mom trying to juggle two children or a senior citizen?
A police incident out of Halifax describes how officers were called to settle a fight between six mothers and a bus driver who refused to drive after the moms wouldn’t collapse their strollers. They chose instead to stand with the strollers folding up the seats at the front of the bus reserved for seniors.
The moms ranged in age from 17 to 25 and had a total of four babies and several toddlers. 24-year-old Mandy Fitzgerald told the Halifax Chronicle-Herald newspaper the bus driver didn’t take kindly to the moms’ me-first attitude, telling the women, “You can’t do what you want on my bus, this is my office.”
And get this… Four police cruisers AND transit officials surrounded the bus and created a big traffic mess for more than an hour while they dealt with the “standoff”.
As The Vancouver Sun reports, this isn’t the first time moms with strollers have gotten into trouble. Last January a couple was told they couldn’t get on a downtown bus when they refused to fold up their twin stroller. There was a 2009 ban on non-foldable strollers on Ottawa buses that sparked a protest by stroller moms (they won) and most recently there’s been talk of banning strollers altogether on buses and trains in Boston.
A quick search on the internet shows plenty of anger surrounding the strollers on buses debate. There’s even a Facebook page called I hate strollers on buses. Some of the comments:
I’m female and I can’t stand it – it shows you have no respect for the people around you. When my friends had kids, they bought Ergobaby packs for when on buses or crowded places. One of my coworkers had to take the bus a few nights ago and there were SIX people with strollers on the bus. It’s ridiculous. At the VERY least get one you can fold up and hold your child while on the bus so you don’t block the whole aisle.
My #1 pet peeve! I managed to get around with 2 young children, and an umbrella stroller which I folded up, thus causing inconvenience to NO ONE!
I also hate it. what i really hate is when you are sitting up front and a stroller comes on, you are expected to move and let one person and a stroller take up 3-4 seats. I am a paying customer too. Anyone with a stroller should be made to pay extra.
Shelley Fralic of The Vancouver Sun argues that seniors should trump strollers every time:
Should buses accommodate those oversized strollers? Yes, but only when there is room, and only when it doesn’t mean that seniors or anyone else with physical needs have to give up their seats. Logic and courtesy should be the order of the day.
Seniors should trump moms and strollers. Period.
Discriminatory? Hardly. Just good manners. That Halifax bus driver should be given an Employee of the Month award.
I’m sorry but I disagree. I have respect for my elders and I have the common courtesy to offer an elder my seat if I feel the situation requires it. But a mom with a toddler and a baby vs a senior with arthritic knees? I dunno. I think that’s up to the mom with the toddler and the baby. If she doesn’t feel like unloading her kids and folding up her stroller and she was there first, I don’t think society should deem that inappropriate behavior.
No one should be “required” to fold up a stroller on the bus. Having a child (or two or three) is a mobility challenge, just like being in a wheelchair or having bad knees. That said, you shouldn’t be a giant pain in the ass with your stroller either. What do you think? Should parents be required to fold up their strollers on buses?