Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TTC Strollers: A Menace to Your Commute or a Symptom of a Social Issue?

Reduce Stroller Access On The TTC buses, part of Toronto's public transit service? I don't think so!

A woman proposed this recently, annoyed with the inconvenience strollers pose when they crowd buses. It's a hot news item in the city right now and Twitter and comment sections of news articles are lit up with passionate discourse. These are the main arguments for limiting strollers:

The congestion is the parents' fault. Parents should wait for a bus with one or no strollers on it because with all of those people it's hard to get by.
Yes. it's parents' fault that TTC buses are not designed properly to accommodate mobility devices and service is inadequate, thus causing crowding.

Strollers are too big these days. Why can't parents use those cute strollers. Parents can fold them up and carry the child.
Oh, you mean the ones that support a child with a piece of fabric? What if the parent has things to carry? What if the parent has a physical disability that makes this difficult, dangerous or impossible? What if the parent has more than one child? How do you maneuver those adorable strollers up hills and on rugged terrain?

Parents should just wait for a less crowded bus, one with no or only one other stroller, or pay a fee.
Great idea! I'm sure parents don't have to get anywhere for a specific time. It's only fair that they pay a little extra for accessibility. If they can afford those SUV strollers, they can afford an extra fare, no problem. It's not like parents encounter any other accessibility issues on the TTC. 

I guess my opinion is clear: reducing TTC access to stroller users or anyone with a mobility device or other disability is discrimination and socially irresponsible. The blame for the issue of congestion should be directed to the TTC, not to innocent TTC users who are just trying to get where they need to go like everyone else.


  1. Great post, Ashley.

    I read somewhere that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is aiming to make the province more accessible by 2025. It is frustrating that the buses, subways and streetcars were not originally designed to accommodate those who need a mobility device to get around, but hopefully that will change.

    I also think, on a larger scale, the TTC is still not 100 per cent accessible to individuals with vision loss, or those who are hard of hearing/deaf. While there have been some improvements (the new subways, for example, announce each stop clearly, and the LED screen displays the name of each stop and indicates which side passengers should exit), there is still a long way to go.

  2. Snackshots - Thank you! I'm so sorry I forgot to reply. I was so moved by your thoughtful comment.

    I read about that Act, too, and I can't help but be skeptical that any changes would have happened without it. I am also frustrated that this accessibility wasn't present to begin with. Even with new TTC accessibility, there is still "a long way to go" and I can't help but think that people with disabilities and experts on disability design weren't properly consulted about these changes, nor has the TTC trained its workers on how to implement it. Speaks volumes, I think.

  3. Great comments! Situations like this are what make baby-wearing so effective. I don't use a stroller-I use a ring sling and it works great! Of course, as you pointed out, that does not work for ppl with certain disabilities.