Greater Greater Washington

Transit


Circulator starts banning unfolded strollers

If we want to prevent young families from fleeing DC once they have kids, and to avoid designing our transit around the needs of men, then following most European and Canadian cities by allowing unfolded strollers on the bus (and soon, the trolleys) seems obvious. To do otherwise is to effectively ban parents with infants and toddlers from the bus system.

The Circulator drivers have allowed unfolded strollers onto the bus since service began. Unlike Metrobuses, Circulators have large middle doors and folding-chair bays that make it possible to fit unfolded strollers on the bus.

Sometime in the past couple weeks the Circulator folks changed their minds, and told the drivers to require strollers to be folded. We learned that on Monday, in 30-degree weather, when a driver told us we would have to get off the bus unless we folded our stroller.

I called the Circulator office and an employee confirmed the change, saying "It should have been that way from the beginning," and that the reason is, inexplicably, "the safety of the child." Actually, it's clearly safer to have the child strapped into a stroller with locked wheels than it is to hold the baby in your arms while also holding the folded stroller.

By contrast, most European and Canadian cities either have dedicated stroller bays, as in the Czech Republic, or give unfolded strollers priority, after wheelchairs, in seatless, special needs bays of the bus, as in British Columbia.

In the Czech Republic, parents of children in strollers ride for free. My family was in Prague last March. The photo above shows me and my son Martin (5 months at the time) on a trolley in Prague. Our trolleys come from the Czech as well. Do they include such a bay in the rear as well? I'm not holding my breath.

What do you think of Circulator's new ban on unfolded strollers? Let them know.

Ken Archer is CTO of a software firm in Tysons Corner. He commutes to Tysons by bus from his home in Georgetown, where he lives with his wife and son. Ken completed a Masters degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America. 

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This actually started a few months ago. It was sporadically enforced at first, but seems to be pretty strict now. I simply don't understand the safety consideration, other than tripping other passengers. I think it might be some sort of liability issue. I do understand the rule when the bus is very packed, similar to the bikes on Metro rules. But in my experience on the Woodley-McPherson line I have never been on a bus that was full enough to preclude a stroller. But I have been on very packed K St Circulators with no extra room.

by Ed on Jan 13, 2010 1:57 pm • linkreport

Most people I see with strollers rarely have a child in it. Instead they use it to cart around all the junk that they feel they can't leave home without.

by Man's Needs on Jan 13, 2010 2:25 pm • linkreport

time to talk 100% low-floor trams.

by Peter Smith on Jan 13, 2010 2:30 pm • linkreport

As a frequent bus & Circulator user, I think it is much more rider-friendly to require strollers to be folded. Why do people with children always think that they should be catered to? Fold your damn giant stroller (which seem to be getting larger and larger these days) and shut up.

by 13th& Harvard on Jan 13, 2010 2:38 pm • linkreport

If we want to prevent young families from fleeing DC once they have kids,

...then DC needs schools that don't suck.

by Omari on Jan 13, 2010 2:43 pm • linkreport

Depends how busy the Circulator gets. Taking up enough room for four standees with a stroller in rush hour is annoying.

by James D on Jan 13, 2010 2:45 pm • linkreport

"In the Czech Republic, parents of children in strollers ride for free." What is your point? That just because you have a child- you suddenly don't have to pay for public transportation? I'm in favor of no one having to pay to ride the bus, but I'm not in favor of discriminatory fare pricing based on oneÂ’s familial status.

by Ross on Jan 13, 2010 2:53 pm • linkreport

Your argument depends on the assumption that Circulator buses are bigger than Metrobuses. On Metrobuses, obviously, strollers take up a significant amount of room. But not all Circulator buses are the huge, three-door ones with wheelchair bays. I've never actually been on one of the smaller ones, but I doubt there would be much room on them for an open stroller plus riders.

Now, I don't know enough about strollers to judge whether it's safer for the child to be in it or to be in his/her parent's arms. But I do know that strollers take up an awful lot of room.

On a related note, I'm really sick of people taking open strollers on escalators. That's not safe for anyone involved, especially the child. And it takes up a lot of room.

by Tim on Jan 13, 2010 2:56 pm • linkreport

Will an unfolded stroller fit on the bike racks that are attached to the front of buses?

by Ron on Jan 13, 2010 3:02 pm • linkreport

...then DC needs schools that don't suck.

Plenty of good elementary schools in DC, you just need to know where to look. High school can be problematic. Middle school is the real blocker.

by ibc on Jan 13, 2010 3:09 pm • linkreport

The question isn't whether parents should fold their strollers, it's whether parents should be permitted onto the bus with their infant/toddler at all.

Imagine you are a parent with a toddler in a stroller and a shopping bag in the stroller basket. To fold the stroller requires (a) placing the shopping bag on the sidewalk, (b) taking the toddler (who may not be able to walk yet) in one arm, (c) folding the stroller with your other free arm (an impossibility with most strollers which require two arms to fold) and then (d) picking up the stroller with your 2nd arm and your shopping bag with your teeth while (e) skipping on the bus fare because you have no way to physically pay it.

So, let's not kid ourselves. Banning unfolded strollers is banning parents with infants & toddlers from the bus.

by Ken Archer on Jan 13, 2010 3:10 pm • linkreport

strollers should NOT be given priority over people. parenthood is a choice, public transit is not.

quit complaining and carry your damn kid.

by Redline SOS on Jan 13, 2010 3:12 pm • linkreport

Not all strollers are problematic, there are the little metal frame canvas ones that don't get in the way much, then there are the rolling play-pens the size of the Queen Mary. Unless your going to start making rules about how big a stroller can be, (like carry on luggage) this doesn't seem terribly unreasonable.

by Steve S on Jan 13, 2010 3:19 pm • linkreport

Wow. I'm really shocked to see the numerous anti-parent/child posts on here. As someone who does not (and most likely will not) have children, I am much more sympathetic to parents with strollers.

I have to think that the vast majority of the time unfolded strollers can fit comfortably in Circulator buses. I would be much more annoyed if I had to wait for a parent to completely unload and successfully fold a stroller while the rest of the bus sits and waits.

One must also remember that the Circulator buses were made partly for tourists (yes, even those with kids) to help move them around tourist hot-spots. There are a few times, however, when strollers just aren't a good idea: rush hour, for example. Or really, anytime the bus is crowded. It would be much better for parents and drivers to use common sense about strollers than simply issuing a blanket ban.

by Adam L on Jan 13, 2010 3:22 pm • linkreport

I say make room for the stroller and get over your selfish ass. Geez. What a bunch of bah humbug scrooges. Doing something nice for a parent is the same thing as doing something nice for a child. I'm surprized the comments here are so child-intolerant. My god, you have to be inconvenienced for a very short time because of the presence of a child --gasp! You sound like either a bunch of grumpy old people or childless singles who've never loved an niece or nephew. Bring on the kids!

I expect the Czech Repub. is experiencing negative population growth like a bunch of other european nations, and in response find ways to make it easier to live as a parent of toddlers and infants to help encourage parenthood. In the US somthing like 1/4 of households have a member <18 years old. There can't be that many strollers on the bus. Think of it as stepping around your future prostate cancer specialist.

by Bianchi on Jan 13, 2010 3:29 pm • linkreport

When I was a toddler parents most often used "umbrella strollers" that could easily be folded with one hand, fit in small spaces, etc.. These days parents are opting for these these humvee-esque strollers to load all their crap into. If you're going to take transit you should have the common sense to use one of the sleeker old school umbrella strollers.

by Paul on Jan 13, 2010 3:31 pm • linkreport

I'm not suprised at the sentiment on here. After all, these are people who would rather build a dog park than a playground.

by Alex on Jan 13, 2010 3:34 pm • linkreport

Taking my kids downtown involves me putting Megan (the little one) in a Bjorn (front child carrier) and Brendan (the bigger one) in a compact stroller. The stroller has a bag that holds small stuff like a sippy cup or a jacket, but the stroller can't be folded with anything in that holder. So in order to fold that stroller, I have to get my 2 year old on his feet (it's ok, he can walk) and unpack everything and then carry the baby, the diaper bag, the stroller, the stuff that was in the stroller, and if the 2 year old is uncooperative, the two year old (oh, and pay the fare too). I'm in fairly good shape so this is not a huge problem, but you can see why I prefer just rolling the stroller on.

It's not a complaint, it's just the view from a parent that rides transit occasionally with two kids. It can be done but it's not trivial.

I can also see why people don't like me rolling the stroller on. Takes up room for standees. I think James D had it right. How busy is the circulator at that time? The low-floor buses and circulators seem to work better with a stroller anyway.

This change is bad, at least for me. I liked the circulator because I could get the kid on in a stroller.

And before you bitch about the giant stroller, we got the smallish one available rather than the SUV so that we could be polite to our fellow transit riders.

Perhaps you'd prefer I drive? Usually a trip downtown involves activities in several locations locations, so either Metro in and then walking or the bus to get around to the various things, or driving to a place where I know I can park and then using the bus to get around within the city. I could try to drive to all the different things?

Pretty soon kid 1 is just going to have to walk and carry his own backpack.

by Michael Perkins on Jan 13, 2010 3:34 pm • linkreport

Regarding the size of some "SUV" strollers:

Umbrella strollers are more common in suburbs where they are used in malls and on smooth sidewalks. Larger wheels are required in urban neighborhoods with bumpy sidewalks - unless you want your child to hurl their last meal which mine did once in an umbrella stroller.

Having said that, some jurisdictions permit unfolded strollers that are 2 ft x 4 ft (e.g. umbrella strollers). Why doesn't Circulator and Metrobus at least do this?

by Ken Archer on Jan 13, 2010 3:36 pm • linkreport

I'd have to agree w/ Steve, the small ones aren't a problem, however the pictured one is well on its way towards SUV/Hummer sized ones. Unfortunately, having a 'your stroller must fit w/in this footprint' won't work. I have no problem being inconvenienced for a child, however it needs to be reasonable. The battering ram Queen Mary with all wheel drive, grocery compartment, and seating for 8 that you see a lot of people carrying around are not reasonable.

by m on Jan 13, 2010 3:37 pm • linkreport

wanted to state the glaring obvious, just in case -- buses, even SUPERBUSES, are tiny and cramped compared to trams/streetcars. the aisles on buses are too narrow.

if you don't hate children and strollers, then start pushing for real transit.

by Peter Smith on Jan 13, 2010 3:41 pm • linkreport

Band them!!!

by beatbox on Jan 13, 2010 3:41 pm • linkreport

Mine's the umbrella kind. Once I'm aboard, I'm more than happy to unload everything into a seat and fold it if it's taking up too much room. It's those 15 seconds between curb and (hopefully) seat that are the big pain.

by Michael Perkins on Jan 13, 2010 3:44 pm • linkreport

I understand the point here, but how much of a problem can this possibly be? Shouldn't the policy just be "fold strollers" when the bus is full? Let the driver make the call. Most drivers are surely not anti-parent, and would do their best to accommodate a parent.

But at the same time, if the bus is packed, a parent should understand that his/her need to carry what is essentially a shopping cart on the bus is inappropriate.

A perfect example of how DC, despite being filled with smart people, is (at times) resoundingly bereft of common sense. There is simply no need for there to be any written policy about this, whatsoever. IMO.

by JTS on Jan 13, 2010 3:54 pm • linkreport

I can see both sides of the issue, and both sides need to exercise understanding, patience and reasonableness.

That said, how about those double-wide Queen Marys that insist on docking via the center door of Metrorail cars during the rush hour. :-)

by DCDave06 on Jan 13, 2010 3:54 pm • linkreport

What about the "granny cart" that I sometimes use to get groceries. It's about the size of a rolling luggage bag (the kind you'd have to check) and I've never had a problem with getting on the bus, even though it's blatantly clear that it is an inconvenience to everyone on the bus when I try to get on with it full of groceries (and to me for having to lug it around). I've switched to using a ZipCar for my grocery shopping and I just go to Costco now so I only have to shop about once a month.

I understand that parents need to use the stroller to get their kids around town, but what about those backpack looking things where the kid sits in it and either faces out or towards your chest?

Like some others have commented, my problem isn't with the people carrying babies in their stroller, it's with people that use the stroller as a personal shopping cart. If you need to do groceries, maybe leave your kid at home or use a ZipCar.

I'm still undecided about whether this rule is fair or not, but I recognize the potential for abuse if strollers had a designated area (similar to the abuse that currently occurs when obese people use those scooters and take up a handicapped spot on the bus that could have served as a seat for an elderly person).

by Teo on Jan 13, 2010 3:57 pm • linkreport

Will an unfolded stroller fit on the bike racks that are attached to the front of buses?

With the baby in it?!?

Anyway, why not limit any ban to rush hour/high usage periods. Or what JTS says. What, do you all shout at and kick the tourists that stand on the left too?

by ah on Jan 13, 2010 3:58 pm • linkreport

The reason parents with kids move out of DC has nothing to do with the accessibiliy of a bus system which currently has, what, 4 lines?

It has everything to do with the state of the DC school system.

Aside from the crumbling buildings, large number of uncertified teachers (when suburban districts have zero), gang and crime issues, etc. Putting a child in the DC public school puts that child a severe disadvantage against his or her peers in better districts when it comes to college admissions. That is a fact.

Every single high school in the country is ranked and weighted and those ranks and weights are always considered as part of the admission process for college. A 4.0 from a school in Montgomery County will always count more than a 4.0 from a DC public school or a non-magnet school in PG County.

You can complain about it. Say its not fair, or racist or whatever. But it is the way colleges do business.

This is why parents move out of the city. Fix the schools, and you might have a chance of keeping the parents and their kids in the city.

by urbaner on Jan 13, 2010 4:01 pm • linkreport

ditto JTS.

by Bianchi on Jan 13, 2010 4:08 pm • linkreport

I thought the liberals were supposed to be anti-population growth...

by MPC on Jan 13, 2010 4:14 pm • linkreport

What about the ones who appear to be pushing an eight-year-old around in a stroller? If the kid is old enough to walk, leave the stroller at home!

by Breeder on Jan 13, 2010 4:17 pm • linkreport

Urbaner,

You’re actually wrong on 2 accounts. I graduated less than a decade ago from a lowly regarded urban schools system (not DC, pretty much just as bad), but I was recruited by the best schools in the nation—as were the other top kids in my school. We all got to go to America’s best colleges and universities on full academic scholarships because our “4.0’s” were validated by our high SAT and AP scores. My friends who grew up just across the school district line had no such fortune. I wasn’t an outlier, many of the best schools in this country value regional and “setting” diversity just as much as racial diversity.

So, to summarize, you are wrong because many urban schools are bad, but many are good. Blanket statements by people like you donÂ’t serve to benefit you in anyway. How many DCPS schools have you actually set foot in? Would I be out of line to guess zero?

Second reason you’re wrong: people move out of DC because they can’t afford the extra bedroom for the new kid. They could move out of the favored quarter and maybe stay technically in “the city”, but then they’d have an even longer commute and nowhere to go grocery shopping.

by Alex on Jan 13, 2010 4:18 pm • linkreport

I thought the conservatives were supposed to be pro-gasoline consumption...

by CPM on Jan 13, 2010 4:19 pm • linkreport

@m, The picture is of a stroller designed for an infant. These are always larger than strollers for older kids since an infant can't hold her head up. The older design was a flat-bedded pram that's much bigger than the picture. Personally, we use a sling or Ergo carrier for infants and a stroller for toddlers. We've had to fold our stroller a few times to get on Metrobus, but it's very annoying & don't have that much of a smaller footprint. I can keep a locked stroller out of the way while a fold one is always rolling & tipping on people.

Generally, when we need to travel with a stroller, we drive or metro.

Ideally, I'd like bus drivers to have some leeway on this issue depending on time and bus crowding, but it is simpler to set blanket rules.

by Dan on Jan 13, 2010 4:24 pm • linkreport

Where outside Vancouver are there dedicated stroller bays on buses in Canada? I've never seen them in the Montreal area or on the systems of the Golden Horseshoe. I know the former could be chalked up to Quebec's hostility towards non-walking persons, but is this a regular thing there?

by Jason on Jan 13, 2010 4:34 pm • linkreport

Teo, a person with limited mobility is a person with limited mobility and can use the designated areas, whether or not you "approve" of why they've got limited mobility. Also, some people become obese because of other disability issues. A little sensitivity, please.

As for the main issue--I think that rush hour guidelines on the stroller/granny cart/ etc thing should be in order. And for the record, I hate those SUV stroller things almost more than anything else, and at least half the time, there's no child in it--it's full of shopping bags/coats/whatever. Not cool, and extremely selfish.

And honestly, it's not anti-child or anti-parent. It's anti-selfish a-hole. Look at New York--it's almost all umbrella strollers, and a good part of that is the fact that, with very few escalators and elevators, people have to carry the strollers up and down stairs to the subways. And yet somehow life goes on and people manage to raise children AND grocery shop without aid of a $1000 Maclaren the size of the Titanic. So, it's a convenience. You choosing your own convenience over that of others (and in this case the comfort and safety others) is pretty much the definition of "selfish a-hole".

by Bruised shins on Jan 13, 2010 4:35 pm • linkreport

Teo,

Leave the kids at home? Do you think parents with two kids at a grocery store are there because they think it's a fun afternoon out with the kids? Going to the grocery store by myself gives me more joy now than traveling to Europe did when I was childless. And happens about as often. I know you didn't mean it, but I hate when people say things like "just leave the kids at home". With who?

Also, Zipcar doesn't have car seats, making it impractical with kids.

by TimK on Jan 13, 2010 4:48 pm • linkreport

A good illustration of why mass transit isn't the answer for anyone in every situation and/or stage of their lives. There's a reason why the personal transportation option (including cars) is really more valuable in more instances (and at more times) than is mass transit.

Now ... back to the request though, in this instance it really is justifiable for the Circulator to facilitate bringing an unfolded stroller on board ... Even IF that means less total passengers can get on, or if it slightly delays the departure of the bus or whatever. The Circulator buses are supposed to be for transporting tourists from one touristy part of the city to another. And tourists include families with children ... and strollers. And since the primary object of the Circulator is supposed to be to serve our tourists and their needs, "packing in 'em in" or "speeding 'em on their way" shouldn't take priority over ensuring that all our tourists can use this transportation.

by Lance on Jan 13, 2010 4:52 pm • linkreport

My comment had more to do with the means by which those people get the scooters rather than letting them on the bus. Obviously, once you've got a scooter, it shouldn't be up the bus driver or company to decide if you're worthy of getting on the bus. In my personal experience, I've also seen less of the scooter abuse in New York where people have to walk everywhere like you said, but that's a different story...

I agree completely that this policy is anti-selfish a-hole. That's one of the reasons I stopped using the bus to haul my granny cart around. I would either be blocking the corridor with the cart if I sat on a forward facing seat or I would prevent someone from sitting next to me while at the same time taking up a reserved spot if I sat at the front of the bus. Standing with the cart would result in blocking one of the exits. It used to be that I could walk to the Giant on Columbia Pike and take the granny cart along the sidewalk, but when that got torn down, I decided paying a few extra dollars to get to the Shoppers in Potomac Yards or the Costco in Pentagon City would be better than feeling like a jerk and having to deal with the granny cart.

by Teo on Jan 13, 2010 4:52 pm • linkreport

Id much rather see parents with strollers on public transit than insisting that SUVs & minivans are some kind of absolute necessity despite the obvious fact that for millions of years parents raised families w/o them.

Yes- public transit should be parents /child friendly.

However- what i do get annoyed at are these super mom types- who seem to be just as bad as the "soccer mom" types- who rampage down sidewalks pushing everyone out of the way while talking on their cell phones and walking the dog- all the time pushing one of those maximum sized SUV baby carriages.

If they would try to be a little more civil and not be so dammmned pushy- and I have seen this- they would gain some respect.

I also do not like the kinds of parents that try to foist off the care of their children onto hapless strangers- some also do this.

But blaming every other decent parent for a few bad apples is not the answer.

And I agree- we need to make DC more friendly to families- not everyone here in DC wants to live in a singles only/ transient/ non- profit workers vegetarian group house in Adams Morgan with Che Guevara posters all over it- nor are the remainder all retired or gay or childless / barren people who hate children .

And yes- please desegregate and fix the schools in DC.
Too many of them are downright dangerous and horrible.
it will be nice when , in the future, normal middle class people can sagely send their kids to school- w/o fear of being beaten up because they are immigrants or because they are Caucasian or Asian , etc.

by w on Jan 13, 2010 4:54 pm • linkreport

The Circulator buses are supposed to be for transporting tourists from one touristy part of the city to another.

Lance, again, your facts and premises are just wrong for the topic.

by Neil Flanagan on Jan 13, 2010 5:07 pm • linkreport

@TimK

Jeez, I seemed to have upset a lot of people with my original post.

Some carriages come with a removable baby seat for the car where the kid is in that seat and you either couple it with the cart or you stick it in the car. So, even though ZipCar doesn't have a seat, you can provide one yourself. Hopefully we're not going to start asking ZipCar to provide baby seats on all their cars now too, are we?

As for leaving the kids at home, I made some assumptions with that statement. Either you work full time (in which case the kids are in day care anyway), you have a spouse that does not work full time/at all (in which case the kids are with the spouse) or you are unemployed/work from home (in which case you are at home with the kids). In the first case, you can do that shopping before you pick up the kids from the day care. In the second case, you can do the shopping while the spouse watches the kids. If you do not have a spouse and are at home all day yourself, then you obviously can't leave the kids at home by themselves. But you can use a sling or whatever that backpack looking thing is called instead of a shopping cart sized stroller for your baby and all your groceries. You could even get home delivery of your groceries from some stores, which would probably cost as much as taking the Metrorail/bus and buying a stroller.

Honestly, I have to agree with what someone said earlier. Having kids is a lifestyle choice and that is something that you need to think carefully about and make changes in your lifestyle to accomodate, instead of trying to have everyone bend over backwards to accomodate your choice. So, yes, it sucks that you don't have anyone to leave the kids with when you go grocery shopping. So go ahead and buy a baby seat so you can put your kid in the ZipCar and buy a stroller that folds and that accepts baby seats so that you can get on the bus, fold the stroller and put the kid in the baby seat on your lap for the duration of your trip.

Or buy a car and drive, but I think the baby seat/stroller option is cheaper.

by Teo on Jan 13, 2010 5:07 pm • linkreport

What irony! The prevalence (and perhaps even existence) of low-floor bus models (such as the Belgian Van Hool A300 series that Circulator uses) in Europe is due in large part the their popularity with parents. We in the USA think in ADA terms, but in European cities (particularly in Germany) low-floor technology is typically ballyhooed as a godsend for stroller-users as well as wheelchair-users.

by egk on Jan 13, 2010 5:20 pm • linkreport

Teo,

Regarding Zipcar, of course I wouldn't expect Zipcar to provide it. That's why Zipcar isn't an option. The device you mentioned are largely unworkable in practice (although I know people who do use them).

I know you don't mean to sound insensitive or callous. Actually, you sound a lot like me six and a half years ago. I'd recommend you not offer a whole lot more advice. Little tidbits such as you "can do that shopping before you pick up the kids from the day care" are no doubt well meaning but are like waving a red flag in front of a bull to a working parent.

By all means, can you send me the link to this device:

"buy a stroller that folds and that accepts baby seats so that you can get on the bus, fold the stroller and put the kid in the baby seat on your lap for the duration of your trip."

Does it really exist? Do you know anyone that has it? Have you used it?

by TimK on Jan 13, 2010 5:30 pm • linkreport

I'm a bus driver for Blacksburg Transit where we serve mostly Virginia Tech students (including myself, Go Hokies!), and our policy has always been to have strollers folded, just like the new policy the Circulator implemented. I believe we have that policy since we get crowded buses numerous times of the day (mostly during class changes, which are pretty much standardized here at VT). Also, during home football games where we provide shuttle service, having strollers unfolded really takes up space and the process of unfolding, paying the fare, etc. can really hold a bus up for about a minute.

Now I'm not trying to bash at the parents here for their extra needs (I even help them out if they appear to be struggling), but since 90% of our ridership are VT students, they mostly expect a reliable, fast way to get to class or home (since they pay about $50 per semester to use us). Some students have complained to me about the parents and their kids, but I tell them our policy of serving everyone and that we MUST make their ride an accessible one for them and everyone else.

I will admit, however, that I did let one parent with a SUV-type stroller get on without having to fold their stroller up, but this was on a route that had very little ridership where we run our 30' buses, so I didn't see that as an inconvenience to other passengers (I folded up a row of front seats that are normally folded up for wheelchair passengers).

While our policy is set in stone, I (and many of my coworkers) will help out if needed to meet their needs, but basically this goes back to what Spock said in Star Trek II: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

by BT 4 VT on Jan 13, 2010 5:34 pm • linkreport

I actually laughed out loud at the first sentence of this piece. Allowing unfolded strollers on the Circulator bus is how we will keep families from leaving DC?

Really?

That has to be one of the most narcissistic comments I've read on this blog in quite some time. It's not schools that suck in most of the city. It's not crime. It's not housing. It's not jobs.

If only the DC Council would write a law allowing unfolded strollers on the Circulator, young, self-absorbed yuppy families would come flooding into DC. If only we were as progressive and enlightened as the Czechs, all would be right with this city!

Seriously?

Please tell me this posting was really just an attempt at satire of hipster self-obsession!

by Fritz on Jan 13, 2010 5:41 pm • linkreport

TimK,

http://www.babygizmo.com/news/quinnyzapp.php

The only downsides mentioned in the review is that the sun canopy isn't the largest on the market but is adequate, that the storage area isn't big enough for a diaper bag (though it looks plenty big enough for diapers and assorted baby gear), and there's no cupholder. So you'd have to get used to not having the biggest of something, carry a bag under your own power and you and/or Junior will have to learn to go without Starbucks or a sippy cup for the duration of your journey.

Sounds pretty much like what I do on a daily basis (two bags, even, one purse big enough for a change of shoes and one gym bag. Often also a bike helmet. No stroller to manage it all).

by Bruised shins on Jan 13, 2010 5:42 pm • linkreport

@ Teo

All stores don't delivery to all areas and depending on where a person resides that may or may not be an option.

Sometimes people actually want to choose there food on their own to be sure that fruits/vegetable are not bruised/rotten etc and that box/canned foods are not pass there expiration date.

Somethings have to be picked up and signed for (some drugs)

All people dont drive; some people within the city don't have licensees at all; some can not get licensees do to other problems such as health conditions

Doing the shopping before picking up the child is bull;

1 So how do you pick up the child if you use bus this is not a solution.

2 Your job: you may work 9 to 5 and most daycares close at 6pm and if your late they charge by either every 30 seconds, 1 minute or 5minutes (my mom owns a daycare I know how they function)

by kk on Jan 13, 2010 5:44 pm • linkreport

Alex,

1. Talk to a college admissions staff member. Every college uses a statistical model of some sort to admit students, and every one of those models weights high school grades with the quality of the high school, as measured by several for-profit groups that sell this information to the colleges. Of course SAT's and other factors matter, but the strength of one's high school is something that they can control only by selecting a better school.

2. Some urban schools are indeed good, some very good. But very few are. I would suggest that, in this area, there is not a single DC public high school that can compare with any high school in Montgomery County. I'm pretty sure that Michelle Rhee, Mayor Fenty, and probably every DC public high school principal would agree with you.

3. When our economy recovers and people start buying houses again, look at how suburban houses are marketed, its often by school district. This is because realtors and developers know what families want, and good schools are number 1 on the list.

4. I have done more then set foot in public schools in probably 9 of the 10 largest cities in the US, and more importantly, have seen data on all of the major urban districts. These are not pretty sights. DC isn't alone in this, which is why every city, even those that allow strollers on busses, faces flight when parents have school-aged kids.

by urbaner on Jan 13, 2010 5:45 pm • linkreport

Also people also havent thought about sometimes you have to have the bigger strollers when you twins/triplets or children born close together.

by kk on Jan 13, 2010 5:46 pm • linkreport

kk,

I think everyone knows that twins/triplets can happen and that this will change the game. But honestly, they are such a small minority of births that it hardly even enters the argument. Personally, I have never seen a set of triplets in real life, and while I've met many, many twins, I can't remember a time it was a family with twins running me over and/or blocking the entire exit from a bus or train. The VAST majority of the time, it's a family of a singleton with the baby in their arms (or toddler jumping up and down on the seat), with the stroller packed to the gills with stuff.

Regarding children close in age? Well, choices. Right? Why does everyone else have to pay because you made a difficult-to-work decision (or more accurately, haven't put forth the effort to work the difficult-to-work decision, instead deciding to just get in everyone's way with it?).

by Bruised shins on Jan 13, 2010 5:54 pm • linkreport

Bruised shins,

I thought this was the model Teo was thinking of. Other drawbacks:

1. Not suitable for children under 6 months.
2. Don't kid yourself, kids older than 2 can barely stay in.
3. At $220 it's not affordable for everyone (although hardly on the expensive side for strollers on Capitol Hill)
4. Small wheels are a bitch to maneuver on city sidewalks
5. Only good for one child.

All in all, this is fine as a travel stroller, but the few folks I knew who tried to use it as a primary stroller soon gave it up. I'm sure there are those that do, but it's pretty unworkable.

Also, maneuvering two kids around the city is nothing at all like carrying two bags and a helmet. I'm assuming you don't have kids; the crack about the sippy cup illustrates that nicely. You guys have no idea how much crap is required to be lugged around with a small child. Diapers, change of clothes, food, drink, etc. These aren't luxury items.

Any other childless folks want to offer advice?

by TimK on Jan 13, 2010 5:56 pm • linkreport

@TimK

It's called a "travel system" and there are many models. Several of my co-workers have them and are happy with the strollers. Do a google search or use the link bruised shins provided.

@kk

Yes, there are exceptions to everything, so if you have triplets you will need a bigger stroller and you obviously can't fold that one. But are we going to ask our buses to accomodate this small percentage of the population?

And seriously, the shopping and baby debate is getting absurd. People can't drive because of medical conditions, people can't drive because they don't have a license, people can't drive because they can't afford a car. People should think about how they're going to get their food once they have a child BEFORE they have a child. If it's going to be impossible, then maybe hold off on having a child. Maybe have your neighbor watch your kid for an hour or two. Maybe find a day care that will watch the kid on Saturday or Sunday for an hour or two. Maybe move closer to a store so you can walk there with your stroller. Maybe work through lunch and leave work a half hour early once every 2 weeks to get your groceries before the day care closes. Maybe don't have kids.

People nit-pick everything to death...

by Teo on Jan 13, 2010 5:57 pm • linkreport

@ urbaner, "there is not a single DC public high school that can compare with any high school in Montgomery County." Benjamin Banneker. Comapres favorably to most MoCo HS's. In fact, what public school in MoCo can equate BB? I don't know. Do you? (not a rhetorical or sarcastic question. Honestly curious) http://www.benjaminbanneker.org/

by Bianchi on Jan 13, 2010 5:57 pm • linkreport

@ urbaner, check this: Benjamin Banneker is the "2009 America’s Best Public Schools by Region – Business Week Magazine, Banneker ranked second among the top high schools in the south based on NCLB". I think "region" includes Montgomery County, no? Tsk tsk. Looks like someone didn't do their homework!!

by Bianchi on Jan 13, 2010 6:05 pm • linkreport

TimK,

You missed the point. It's fine for babies under 6 months if you use the car seat adapter thing, which is what Teo was talking about. Take the carseat out, keep it on your lap, fold up stroller. You claimed no such thing existed, and it does. Over 6 months, they can use any old umbrella style stroller, which certainly fit children far older than 2. For more than one child? Figure it out. Go minimal with one, and if you have a second, get a bigger stroller. No use getting the stroller SUV "in case" you have another child (which maybe you should reconsider if you know that having two small children at the same time is a difficult to work situation).

Wheels? Yep, could be better. You can actually switch them out with better wheels (not the easiest thing in the world to do, but is possible) or just deal with it because it's a pretty convenient stroller that keeps you out of selfish a-hole territory.

Child-free, but former day nanny in Manhattan. Love kids, have issues with entitled parents.

by Bruised shins on Jan 13, 2010 6:10 pm • linkreport

Ahhh, Teo. Believe me, I used to be a card carrying member of SSCCATAGAPP (bonus points if anyone knows that acronym), but let me just say that having kids really changes your perspective.

I won't nitpick through your recommendations, because, well, they're largely dumb. While no doubt well meant, they betray an absolute lack of understanding about what it takes to raise children in an urban environment. My favorite is "move closer to the store so you can walk there with your stroller"!

Incidentally, I personally hate strollers and use a backpack to carry my two year old everywhere. I'm also used to carrying fifty pound packs around. If you're not, it'll exhaust you pretty soon. A dynamic load is far "heavier" than a static load. Relatively few other stay at home parents choose to do this, and I totally understand why.

by TimK on Jan 13, 2010 6:17 pm • linkreport

Alot of these problems would be void if the city in its current state was able to function for people on a whole with out having to take a bus or train to get to things

1 Not many stores throughout the city and where there are the stores all seem to be within blocks of each other.

Look at any of the older stores You might have a Giant right next to a safeway and then none for miles. Look at the locations of major stores across the anacostia in eastern NE & SE there all grouped together Naylor Rd/Alabama Ave & Minnesota Ave/Benning Road/Dix Street excluding the one which was built a few years ago.

2 Things are not spread out through all quadrants or between the anacostia or rock creek.

hell just look at the locations of DC government offices of which the public may have to go to.

Most DC office are located in a 2 square mile area from 7th & Hstreet NE to Judicary Sq.

Excluding the Reeve Center the DMV locations and a small portion of offices by the Big Chair in anacostia

Why are there few outside of the area for a city of this size there should at least be a small branch of each in the three larger quadrants.

3 Not many daycares in neighborhoods thats really not a city problem but a problem of where people can find openings and which places accept vouchers.

by kk on Jan 13, 2010 6:17 pm • linkreport

I hate strollers. I was on a bus recently in Boston with THREE giant unfolded strollers. It was terrible, although it did result in free rides as people had to board through the back.

If I cant carry my bike into a small space, why should someone with an SUV stroller be allowed to do so?

by J on Jan 13, 2010 6:18 pm • linkreport

Bruised shins,

Didn't say it didn't exist, said it was unworkable. That may be a bit too strong. It is workable, just a bad option from those I've seen try to use it.

by TimK on Jan 13, 2010 6:20 pm • linkreport

Again, who cares? You should be able to bring anything you want on the bus or metro (as long as it isn't hazmat or food youre currently eating) as long as it is safe and reasonable to do so, which is a decision that should be left to the bus driver or station manager. There is no need for a policy here. If the bus is full, the driver says 'sorry, no strollers/bikes/giant box/etc' and if not, he doesn't. I, for one, have been on a bus that allowed a passenger to bring his bike on board when the two racks were in use. The driver was older, seemed secure in his job, knew the bus was basically empty, and figured, why the hell not? And he was right. No big deal.

This debate is beyond inane. worse than the bag tax debate.

by JTS on Jan 13, 2010 6:24 pm • linkreport

Sounds good to me, JTS

by TimK on Jan 13, 2010 6:27 pm • linkreport

@TimK

Please read the posts (your own included) before posting again. You did in fact say "Does it really exist?" so don't try to back out of it since it's right here in the comments page.

Also, my post was trying to point out how ridiculous some of the "problems" posted on here are by providing ridiculous suggestions. You clearly missed the point, probably because you consider the "problems" to not be ridiculous at all.

It's sad that you've run out of arguments and have had to resort to calling me dumb. I am merely sharing my perspective on an issue just as you are and while I don't agree with you, I don't think that has anything to do with your mental ability or with mine. Regardless, this debate is getting absurd and I have no intention of following it any longer as it seems to have devolved into name-calling and a group of people that feel victimized by their own life choices flaming against a group of people that clearly do not understand why the other group considers itself a victim. No one will learn anything from this debate except maybe that you are a rude individual.

by Teo on Jan 13, 2010 6:27 pm • linkreport

Geeesh. Strollers are made to fold up so fold it up!

by PolarPat on Jan 13, 2010 6:37 pm • linkreport

Sorry, Teo, trying to type this with a kid in one arm (when I should be getting real work done). Not laying out points as well as I should have.

The "does it exist" was meant to be rhetorical. You described a system that theoretically does exist. I'm saying in practice, from what I've seen, it fails in numerous particulars.

I don't think you're dumb at all. I think a few of the points you made are, specifically things like "do grocery shopping on the way to pick kids from day care" and "move closer to grocery store". Some of the problems are extreme, but when it's your issue its not ridiculous. I see both sides of this issue, and no one should have to give up space on a bus to accommodate a giant stroller.

I too think this debate has gone on long enough, and am going to let it lie. I do want to mention that I don't feel at all victimized. It's possible you could draw that impression, but it's not at all how I feel about being a parent.

by TimK on Jan 13, 2010 6:40 pm • linkreport

Individuals in wheelchairs without Metro Access Cards ride for $.50.

How is this different?

by Squalish on Jan 13, 2010 7:19 pm • linkreport

You may carry the kids in a backpack or a frontpack, or hire a nanny and make him do it. Circulator deserves applause for this sage new policy.

by Turnip on Jan 13, 2010 7:45 pm • linkreport

I'd like to remind everyone to please be respectful toward each other, the post's author, and your neighbors in general. Feel free to disagree with the argument made in the post or disagree with other commenters, but please try to disagree in a way that also respects their point of view and respects them as fellow human beings. Thanks.

by David Alpert on Jan 13, 2010 7:50 pm • linkreport

Unfolded wheelchairs take up a lot of room. And some of those wheelchairs are really big. Those inconsiderate people ought to try walking, and if they really can't (which I get to be the judge of), they ought to at least use a smaller wheelchair.

Fat people take up room, too. They ought to walk instead of taking the bus. Maybe they'd lose some weight, and then it would be ok for them to take the bus.

(I'm being sarcastic.)

Children are people. And people need to get places, using transportation, including public transit (please note the "public" in public transit).

by Miriam on Jan 13, 2010 7:53 pm • linkreport

Miriam - no sarcasm is necessary.

We're talking about chairs, with wheels, that are used by people who lack the capability to walk around on their own.

by Squalish on Jan 13, 2010 8:17 pm • linkreport

I am truly amazed by the fact the non-parent, recent urban dwellers who probably grew up in the suburb and were transported around by their soccer-mom till they got their driving license and/or moved away for college, are now pretending to know what the proper etiquette on the bus, especially regarding matters as strollers.

I completely agree with DCDave06 the both sides need to exercise understanding. We are not the same and each of us have (or will have sooner or later) special needs: some of us is disabled, some obese, other have couple of toddler to steer around, others need cane, guide dogs, granny cart, etc. It is called PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, as it is FOR the public, which consists of different individuals. Thankfully the 'public person' has not been standardized yet.

So peace & patience please!

by urbica on Jan 13, 2010 8:31 pm • linkreport

there are moms and kids on my bus every single day. anybody who would flee the district or drive a car instead of folding a stroller sounds like they think they are pretty special. they can drive their own self for all i care. it will make more room for the moms who really need to ride.

by eli on Jan 13, 2010 8:32 pm • linkreport

City dwellers have been raising kids w/o benefit of SUV strollers for decades and riding public transportation. I was raised in an inner ring suburb with transit. My parents grew-up with streetcars. Boomer kids' traveled in snuglees much of the time. The SUVs are a step backward. There's really no defending the strollers. Quite often the kids are big enough to be walking or the space is being used for storage of stuff people could do without. They might need to sit in mom or dad's lap once in a while and keep a slower pace, but they could easily be walking, much like previous generations.

I went to grad school with a couple Wilson grads and many Montgy Co grads. All went to name brand colleges. There wasn't much difference, except the suburban kids were more full of themselves. I've employed products of Fairfax school--even more unimpressive.

by Rich on Jan 13, 2010 8:50 pm • linkreport

Europe is much friendlier then US in terms of parents using trains, buses, trolleys with their babies in strollers. Many countries like Czech Republic, Poland,... kids ride for free and parents don't have to be stressed out that they will be not allowed on the bus with a baby in the stroller, especially in a cold weather...

by jacek on Jan 13, 2010 8:55 pm • linkreport

I have to respectfully disagree with the folks complaining about having to fold up their stroller on the bus. I am the parent of 2 big boys who were late walkers. We ride the bus daily and I have never had an issue with collapsing my stroller and getting onto the bus. Usually fellow riders are kind enough to offer seats and assistance which is much appreciated but even when this does not occur I make it work. I have learned to travel lean and light. I am often carrying my work tote, 3 lunch bags (one for each of us) and supplies needed by the kids for the day. We ride some of the busiest bus lines in the metro system, primarily the S and H lines. We know crowded. I cannot fathom leaving a stroller open on the bus. It would pose a danger to my fellow riders by completely blocking the aisle and it would be really difficult to get through the aisle anyway and I have a small profile maclaren which serves well for public transit and city living.

by mommyworks on Jan 13, 2010 9:09 pm • linkreport

I have no idea what an SUV stroller is, but I know that for kids under 6 (who cannot sit up) you have to get strollers similar to the one on the photo. Again, no personal experience in these matter, only comments from peers, but the problem with the horizontal strollers, is that only a few is made capable for folding. And even if they can be folded the mother and the toddler on the 'box' would require two seats for safe transport in a tightly(!) packed bus.

Till people are refusing to give their seats to mothers with kids below the age of 6 (small kids, especially in a crowd, should be seated even if they are capable of standing/walking), how can anybody expect them to fold strollers. I have witnessed incidents like this too.

And yes, European public transit is more kid friendly. Till age of 6 usually you don't need to buy a separate ticket for the kid, but you do need for the adults. Also, horizontal strollers are treated as wheel chairs. Of course it is not an eden there either (not everybody gives their seats over to elderly people or young mothers), but people are at least willing to give a hand when mother + kid + stroller(in hand or with kid in it) is getting on and off the bus/tram/metro. That is the biggest difference.

by urbica on Jan 13, 2010 9:11 pm • linkreport

I am from England and when my children were young I always had to fold their pushchair. Nowadays, parents behave as though they have a right to take a full size pushchair/pram on to the 'buses with no consideration whatsoever for others. On one occasion it was impossible to get off the 'bus without squeezing past a push chair cutting off half the aisle and the parent concerned had a go at me for doing so.
The 'buses are nearly always full and other passengers are expected to struggle past these ego-boosting carriages and receive abuse if they object. While there may be a safety case for taking the unfolded pushchair on to and off the 'bus, it should then be folded for the benefit of other passengers.

by Hover on Jan 14, 2010 5:56 am • linkreport

What the f*ck do all the anti-stoller folks not understand about the term "public<\i> transportation"? That means it's for the public, the entire public. Not just the poor, the rich, the healthy, the left, the sane, the single. Everybody<\b>.

by Jasper on Jan 14, 2010 6:56 am • linkreport

Jasper, chill out. I have kids and have survived a-o-kay with folding up my stroller and stowing it under the seat for the past 7 years. It really isn't the travesty that the post makes it out to be. I do not feel alienated as a parent by Circulator or Metro. They are being practical and catering to the vast majority of the riders and not the few. You would be moaning and groaning if your preferred bus passed you by because 4 or 5 parents have completely gridlocked the aisle with strollers. We parents are NOT ENTITLED to our every whim. Note that under the seat the folded stroller is a much less effective projectile in and accident. Imagine if your 10 lb infant stroller and all gets hurled through the aisle in an accident. Holding them is not ideal which is why people are suggesting that infants be carried on the bus in a body carrier which is a wonderfully simple solution to this argument. Get a Bjorn, Ergo, sling etc and get over it.

by mommyworks on Jan 14, 2010 7:30 am • linkreport

After reading through 75 or so comments, Thanks to "mommyworks" for the definitive answer to all of this bovine scatology! Parents with kids need to travel light and cope with the limitations of public transportation, and definitely be cautious not to put the rest of the riders in danger by leaving strollers unfolded in the isles of the buses.

by kevinm on Jan 14, 2010 7:42 am • linkreport

This discussion has raised numerous possible approaches that are between an outright ban on unfolded strollers and unlimited allowance of strollers onto the Circulator buses (and any future low-floor buses/trolleys in DC) - ideas which most parents and non-parents could agree on.

(a) Allowing Certain Strollers: This could be done by stroller size (some jurisdictions do 2 ft x 4 ft) or by age of child, such as 12 or 24 months (as infants require larger strollers).

(b) Rush Hour Ban: Parents I know would rather avoid the bus during rush hour anyway.

(c) Aisle Ban: Many of the complaints refer to strollers in the aisles (not in the special needs bay) which is not allowed in most European and Canadian cities that permit unfolded strollers either. If the special needs or stroller bay is full, you wait for the next bus/trolley.

I'm sure there are others. If Circulator would hold a hearing or otherwise engage the community in this issue, there are several possible compromises that almost everyone would agree on.

by Ken Archer on Jan 14, 2010 7:46 am • linkreport

I'm not kidding myself. This is just not a hard issue for people travelling with small kids if you're prepared for it (obviously it can be a minor crisis when rules/enforcement change without notice). I never left a stroller unfolded on the bus and I relied exclusively on public transit throughout my child's infancy and toddlerhood -- still do. Bjorns (also European, LOL!) are the way to go. And/or get a small, light, easy-folding stroller with a shoulder strap -- we had a Combi. Don't treat it as a grocery cart. Find bags that you can carry independently and that work well with stroller and Bjorn.

The real fun with kids and public transit comes when they're potty-training!

by Cassie on Jan 14, 2010 8:21 am • linkreport

PS our Combi reclined (so was suitable for kids under 6 months). And one way to get used to carrying kids in backpacks is to start young -- you get stronger as they get heavier. That said, for public transit, the Bjorn was better since, in effect, it meant your kid was in your lap when you sat.

All this stuff gets easier once you have a system.

by Cassie on Jan 14, 2010 8:42 am • linkreport

by 13th& Harvard:

Your comment is so self-centered. Public transportation is for the public. I used to think like you until I have had many small children quickly and I need to keep them in the stroller on the bus because they are too small to be let loose on the bus. Are you saying that public transportation should only be used for a select few people?

by NJ AVE on Jan 14, 2010 9:19 am • linkreport

@Ken Archer

With all due respect, you are completely off base. This is such a non-issue that all policies regarding it should be completely revoked, with the exception of one that says anything can be allowed on board at driver discretion.

There is no reason to turn this into another example of how DC residents are hell bent on immersing themselves in the bureaucratic cocoon. Why hold a hearing, publish reports, studies, solicit feedback, etc. when common sense is so much more, well, sensible? Why spend three years developing a policy that will surely leave some people dissatisfied when you can spend no years just leaving it up to the opinion of the most experienced, front-line player out there?

I am fully aware that in the latter case, you leave out every DC resident who has an interest in slowing all things to a crawl, which is sizable. But they'll be plenty of things to complain and hold hearing about. What's that? someone is going to plant some trees in six months? Oh, the humanity!

by JTS on Jan 14, 2010 9:39 am • linkreport

@ mommiworks: Don't worry about me. I am chillin' more than I need to. Quite frankly, I don't really care how parents deal with their stroller. What bothers me is the attitude that I see in a lot of posts that people are intolerant of the behavior of others, notably people that have different needs than themselves. That is something I am very intolerant of ;-) Peace folks!

by Jasper on Jan 14, 2010 9:44 am • linkreport

I donÂ’t get all the anti kid sentiment. But I donÂ’t see why folding a stroller canÂ’t be done everyone just need to know that it is going to take more time.

I have two kids ages 15 and 13 and when they were little and it day care I used to take the home on the bus. As I remember the routine we had at bus stop.
1. Bus pulls up
2. Oldest would walk on to the bus
3. Swing the diaper bag over shoulder
4. Pick up baby out of double stroller
5. Fold the stroller (we purposely bought one that could fold with one hand)
6. Walk on to bus. Set things down
7. Come back and pay

While we are doing all this the bus is waiting along with everyone inside. So maybe it would be better for everyone if we got on faster and took a little more room. I think as a rider IÂ’d settle for that trade off.

Two more points
* It is bizarre but little kids require a lot of extra gear. (Diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, food, toys etc) What might look like extra gear really isnÂ’t and believe me one of the happiest days in a parents live is when they can walk out the door with their fully potty trained kids carrying nothing but keys. So have some patience and know their parents are not enjoying having to lug all this stuff around.

* My kids are have always been in DC public schools and they are doing fine.

by Keith on Jan 14, 2010 9:57 am • linkreport

Would that "common sense" were more common, and then regulations regarding the use of strollers would not be necessary. However, common sense is NOT all that common, and so, we must regulate behavior on the buses and trains for the good and safety of the masses.

by kevinm on Jan 14, 2010 10:04 am • linkreport

The dislike for parents starts when women are pregnant in this city. In my ninth month of pregnancy, I can honestly say that not one person has given up their seat to me on public transportation. When I've had a seat during my pregnancy, I've happily given it up to parents with kids (sometimes in strollers!) and elderly/handicap individuals. It's what well-mannered people do! Many people in DC need to get off their self-important high horse (a.k.a. over inflated egos) and be kind to those around them. If you don't like to be inconvenienced by people and nice to others, don't ride public transportation.

by Rose on Jan 14, 2010 10:31 am • linkreport

"This is such a non-issue that all policies regarding it should be completely revoked, with the exception of one that says anything can be allowed on board at driver discretion."

It would be nice to think such a "common sense" policy would work, but in reality it would fail the first time a driver prohibits someone with a huge stroller from boarding and that person decides to sue Metro for discrimination based on familial status.

Since there's no way to impartially determine after the fact whether the bus was actually too crowded, Metro would have a hard time defending itself against such charges. Having a written policy gives Metro a lot more legal cover.

In my experience, if the bus is uncrowded good bus drivers will usually look the other way when somebody brings an unfolded stroller on board, assuming the stroller is of reasonable size.

by Phil on Jan 14, 2010 10:57 am • linkreport

@Phil
With all due respect. How does regulation + bus river's looking a way is comparable to, or is legally more viable than non-regulation* + bus diver's personal request to fold strollers when situation necessitates.

* perhaps posted recommendation of actions regarding stroller and other matters

by urbica on Jan 14, 2010 11:14 am • linkreport

I still can't believe, that 90 comments later, none of the mega stroller wielding parents (this doesn't include those who have offered real world solutions to the problem like mommyworks etc) can bring themselves to consider the fact that (a) there is a difference between the double-wide Hummer strollers and the simple umbrella style and that (b) it just might be possible to use a stroller with a smaller "footprint" when out and about on public transport (gear can go in backpacks, right?) not because it's mandated but because they could spend a minute thinking about how they fit into the world and effect those around them. Others ARE still important, even after you have a child.

The reaction they're seeing on here is a reaction not only to the insanely proportioned strollers but to the general attitude that just because you've got a child in tow and because that's difficult, that it gives you not only an excuse but the right to do anything that needs to be done to get YOU where you need to go, at the expense of others.

by disblief on Jan 14, 2010 11:23 am • linkreport

I can't believe we are having this discussion about hummer strollers taking up way too much space. What's next? Telling overweight people they are taking up way too much space and they should slim down at the consideration for others on the bus?

by NJAVE on Jan 14, 2010 11:45 am • linkreport

@disblief
1. umbrella type stroller does not fit all ages
2. backpack type holders are not necessarily the best solutions for packed buses: not only because backpacks should be taken off and held by your legs when traveling on crowded vehicle, but because it can lead to some risky situations too (do you consider pancaking a kid between adults when bus breaks safe?)
2. backpack type holders are not a choice for some of us with back problems (osteoporosis, injury, etc.)
3. average parents, especially non-body-builder-type moms, would naturally go for small, lightweight model that can be operated one-handedly.

Why-oh-why do everybody assumes that the reason behind choosing non-umbrella type stroller is purely to annoy the non "parenting public".

Just because you are a single healthy adult, with greater mobility, it does not authorize you to look down on people with different needs. Or, do you think about blind people with guide dogs or disabled in wheel chair the same way, deep down and only act PC because it is the low? After all, the place taken up by them is equivalent to that of 3-4 standing healthy adults.

by urbica on Jan 14, 2010 12:28 pm • linkreport

No one is saying parents can't take strollers on the bus. Just that they need to fold them up. Umbrellas were mentioned because they are easier to fold and carry and, as I pointed out earlier, you can find models that are appropriate for younger babies (and, of course, Bjorns and other soft carriers are easy at that age).

From what I've seen, moms don't "naturally" go for lightweight one-handed strollers -- more often, they go for strollers that can be piled with junk, that fit their consumer demographic (whether chic or cheap), and that seem rugged and/or protective to them. Most don't start from public transit and think backwards. If you do, you'll find solutions. BTDT.

by Cassie on Jan 14, 2010 12:42 pm • linkreport

@Cassie

My statistic is 100% for those of my peers who go for lightweight strollers.

by urbica on Jan 14, 2010 12:50 pm • linkreport

@urbica

Have you read the entire comment thread, because I have. Everyone here knows that umbrella strollers are not fit for all age ranges. I believe that several other stroller and non-stroller solutions complete with links to specific models have been suggested. Between smaller and less obtrusive models, easily foldable models, various baby bjorn options, more considerate planning, and the realization that because it is easier for you to have a very large stroller to carry not only a child but all your stuff (which really seems to be the heart of the issue here), does not mean that "easier for you"="considerate of others"="everyone should just deal because I'm a parent". People don't think stroller choice is specifically to annoy the non-parents, but rather reflects a complete lack of care and consideration about the public at large and how your choices and actions effect others. Very different--the difference between intentionally instigating something and plain old thinking of no one but yourself.

The bjorns may not be a solution for everyone, particularly those with injuries/disabilities, but that's not everyone. Just because SOME parents can't use bijorns doesn't mean that NO parents should give it a try. And, like Cassie, I personally don't see people "naturally" going for lightweight, small strollers at ALL. It's mainly either a matter of cost (some look like very old hand me downs) or a matter of how much stuff it can carry.

Also, do you actually take the bus? It's really not the same as Metro in terms of space, and even the umbrella strollers can be a problem when unfolded, but the SUV types are absolutely absurd to keep open.

Finally, as for the 100% of your peers who go for lightweight strollers, good. So you and your friends aren't the Hummer stroller, exit blocking, shin ramming space hogs. The responses on this are almost universally directed at them. If I were you, I'd be mad at them myself, they are just about the worst "diplomats" for children and parents out there and are the reason people feel so anti-parent about certain issues.

by disbelief on Jan 14, 2010 2:21 pm • linkreport

Granted I have not read all of the postings on this issue but the 20 or so that I did read had very little mention of the safety of the child in mind. I am quite perplexed as to how it could possibly be deemed "safer" to unbuckle my child from a 5-point harness system and have them ride unbuckled on my lap as we swerve and bump through town. This truly baffles me! Why are we so focused on convenience rather than what is truly safe?

by Angela on Jan 14, 2010 3:04 pm • linkreport

One trap that we must avoid is to allow the limitations of our current transit system to divert our focus from transit advocacy towards in-fighting amongst transit users.

Remember the fare hike proposals 2 years ago that was presented to us as city vs suburbs, which set us up in public hearings to go after each other instead of challenging our elected officials to show more leadership and imagination in making transit more available for everyone?

Perhaps if an unfolded stroller fills up a bus, that shows that we need more buses, not a ban on unfolded strollers.

by Ken Archer on Jan 14, 2010 3:15 pm • linkreport

@disbelief

Yes, I have read the comments. Also, I have been using, or better said living off public transportation, exclusively, for more than two decades now, with experiences from both sides of the Atlantic. But I don't think it matters, nor that it is of any-body's interest here...

What I meant to say with the 100% thing is that I talk about people I do know, and not some random SUV-stroller, of whom, somehow, everybody seems to know his/her motivations and preferences. Please raise your hand if you know SUV-strollers, and give us some hints of their real reasons for choosing such. I am sure quite a lots of them just fell for tricky marketing and/or is inexperienced in stroller/transit matters.

Also, please look in the mirror and say the following out loud without blinking: "I have never bought not have done anything in my entire life without being considerate of other people."

With all due respect. I do not think I need anybodies advice on whom I should be debating with (or mad at, which I am clearly not). As for being "diplomats for children" is, well sorry but I don't find a better word for, is a sick concept. Anti-parental behavior as it is, just reflects egoism, shortsightedness and stupidity. If you think the SUV-stroller issue has really much to do with it, you are rather off. It is just another one of those prejudice reinforcements. The problem is rooted deeper than that...

by urbica on Jan 14, 2010 4:23 pm • linkreport

I didn't say that I have have not done anything in my entire life without being considerate of other people--we all have. But using an oversized item of any sort (granny carts and bicycles have also been mentioned here) on a bus on a regular basis is different from an occasional transgression, of which we are all guilty. And here we're talking specifically of buses, while the mega strollers on metro rail are cumbersome and annoying, they are at least workable. Buses are a totally different story.

As for those who fell for tricky marketing, or are inexperienced with stroller/transit matters--fine. But both examples demonstrate lack of thought about others, which is precisely my point.

I am not anti-parent, and I am certainly pro-child. I just don't think that the entire world needs to bend over backwards to cater to every whim and (often overstated) need of the types of parents whose behavior reflects (more, in my opinion) egoism, shortsightedness and stupidity. Egoism="all about me". The "fold the strollers, please" folks are thinking about the REST of the bus passengers, the stroller user, only himself. Shortsightedness is the inability to understand that the world does not revolve around his child. Parent's world revolving around the child, yes, whole world, no. As for stupidity, anyone buying a stroller who even thinks it may be used in confined spaces in public cannot look at the models being decried and think that it's going to work. Unless they're stupid.

As for "diplomats", we both know that there are a lot of people out there who actively dislike children and parents. Again, I'm not one of them, but the some of the entitled BS on this thread has been enough to make me (finally) understand where they're coming from, which is really too bad.

For what it's worth, I think the mega stroller brigade is no better or worse than people who refuse to move to the center of the car on a crowded Metro and block the door so they can get out quicker. Not as bad as cars who take up the crosswalk while trying to make a right on red. I think they're tied in selfishness with people who use oversized umbrellas on crowded, rush-hour sidewalks (I'm talking golf-style--big enough for 3 or 4 people). It's not just parents--it's lots of people. This topic happened to be about strollers.

I still can't believe that not a single parent can bring themselves to say that they know that these mega strollers are bigger than what's necessary and that they get in most people's way but it's just easier and more convenient and that's just how it's going to be. If there's another reason for them, I haven't read it yet.

by disbelief on Jan 14, 2010 5:00 pm • linkreport

Disbelief, I hope one day you'll write a book for children about selfish, entitled mega stroller owners, and the sorts of punishments they deserve. The little cherubs can clamber onto your lap to hear your soothing stories of moral outrage over petty offenses while the circulator runs its route. These are the lessons that our children need to learn, and your the person to teach them, and what better setting than public transit.

But, be sure to keep the kids quiet. And, if they start whining, or crying, or want to play with your iphone, get car-sick from the bus and puke, don't come to the parents. We've got our hands full -- holding onto the umbrella strollers. It is so easy to be an urban parent with folks like you willing to help out.

by emgg on Jan 14, 2010 5:19 pm • linkreport

How does one hold twins and a double seater, compact stroller, especially when no one will give up their seat? I guess one should have to drive in this situation and further pollute the environment and further clog the streets with traffic, which will end up making your commute on the bus even longer! It appears that either way the parent is selfish!

by Lady on Jan 14, 2010 5:29 pm • linkreport

I wouldn't even know where to begin with this comment thread, but most parents get their share of unsolicited advice from people who have no absolutely no business providing it.

Carrier vs. stroller? Big stroller vs. compact? Single vs double? 1 kid or 2? Kids 2 years vs 5 years apart? Unless the kid belongs to you, don't tell another parent what they should or shouldn't do. It's none of your damn business.

And I'm incredulous about how many able-bodied young adults I witness crowding onto Metro elevators in front of elderly and disabled riders who actually need it ... and forget about parents with strollers. Now that's a policy worth enforcing -- the GOLDEN RULE

by B on Jan 14, 2010 5:37 pm • linkreport

@disbelief
I understand you points, but I do not agree with. Especially that marketing tricks or inexperience proves your point on inconsiderate parents. This kind of thinking is pervasive, and characterizes every aspect of our life. When choosing a car, do YOU consider the needs of the others? Such as fresh air, or access to curbside? For that matter would you buy a smart car?

I do not think that bus riders who over generalize the issue of strollers on vehicles would qualify as representatives of the majority, nor think that they are any valid knights of truth and justice.

What I miss is that for some reason, nobody have ever mentioned that they have politely asked people with strollers to move it in a better fit location on the bus, nor have seen anybody offering a hand in such "problematic" occasion. Is it REALLY that hard to offer help or discuss matters on the spot, in a proper manner? Please, do try these things, once at least, and don't make monsters of "developing" parents, just because you are in capable of dealing with public situations.

Also, almost everybody seems to have this idea here that strollers became all-the-sudden large, just as famous SUVs, and back in time (or at least when they grew up) they were of decent size. Here is a list of links to old-school strollers:

http://retronom.hu/files/images/1941_babakocsi.preview.jpg
http://daddytypes.com/archive/trav-l-eez_prammuseum.jpg
http://craigandlora.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/pier-21a.JPG
http://daddytypes.com/archive/helvetia_stroller.jpg
http://daddytypes.com/archive/ja_mahr_footwell_1940.jpg
http://daddytypes.com/archive/ja_mahr_sleigh_1921.jpg

For that matter, I do not think there is such a big difference between metro rails vs. buses. The metro was not designed for large strollers either. Narrow platforms are already perfect examples of bad design even without the introduction of any objects with wheels. But that is a completely different story.

by urbica on Jan 14, 2010 6:11 pm • linkreport

@Ken

I came back to see what was going on since I stopped contributing and sadly this debate not only continues but also does not seem to be getting anywhere anytime soon.

What struck me was this comment that you made: "Perhaps if an unfolded stroller fills up a bus, that shows that we need more buses, not a ban on unfolded strollers."

Really? That's the logic? By that same logic a statement like 'perhaps if SUVs fill up the roads, that shows that we need more roads, not a reduction in SUV use' is perfectly reasonable. Why don't we just build the Three Sisters Bridge since the Key Bridge and I-395 are so full all the time, right?

The whole point of your original post is for you to complain about something that happened to you, and that caused you discomfort, and then to suggest a way to change that. Fair enough, since you write for this site and that's what you do. But I challenge you to write a similar post about widening I-66 next time you're stuck in traffic and see how well that flies with everyone on here.

Face it, you are applying a double standard.

by Teo on Jan 14, 2010 6:11 pm • linkreport

Part (but clearly not all) of the tone you're seeing is a reaction to the tone of the original post and follow-ups by its author. For those of us who have negotiated public transit with kids and did (and continue to see others) fold up their strollers when riding the bus, the claim that two able-bodied adults with one baby somehow can't manage this feat and will be driven out of the city by such a demand seems a little over the top.

Yeah, we can posit the existence of a woman with osteoporosis and triplets who can't afford a car, but that's not the scenario given here. Yes, public transit should be accessible to all, but the flipside of that is that it's a shared resource and you should follow the rules and be considerate of others. So fold the damned stroller already or find a more public transit friendly way to carry your kid. And, yes, give your seat to people who need it more -- which may include small kids who are safer (and less likely to be in the way) if they are seated than standing.

As for the argument that kids on buses are safer in strollers, that's not very convincing. The five point harness tethers kid to the stroller but if the stroller takes flight or someone trips over it, the kid's at risk.

by Cassie on Jan 14, 2010 6:16 pm • linkreport

Thank you for writing this article. I agree 100%. People have no idea how difficult it is for parents with children to live in the city. Not being able to use a stroller on public transportation is definitely something that will push us to MD where we can just drive around in a car. This is bad for the environment and the District.

We pay an enormous amount in DC taxes... I guess that will go to MD.

As to some of the unkind post by other posters, please embrace diversity in a city. Real diversity should embrace children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Let's see what we can do to make people's lives easier...

People without children may not understand that this rule may mean a family doesn't go somewhere at all... that is not right. Other riders should be able to handle a 20 second delay or a squeeze by to allow a stroller through.

Can you imagine if someone said we handicap buses were slowing us down, so we should do away with lowering city buses or changing seat configuration to accommodate those with special needs?

DC is a very unfriendly to parents and small children... this is a small rule that should be changed.

by MS on Jan 15, 2010 10:22 am • linkreport

I pose a couple of questions to those who want to allow strollers in open form on buses. Are you willing to pay extra to procure and maintain the type of bus that will allow safe use of open strollers on the vehicles (added bays with devices to secure the stroller wheels to the floor in case of accident)? How would you propose this in a compelling manner to gain support from the entire community since there are even parents who disagree with the premise of the original argument?

I have kids and one who still uses a stroller on occasion and am okay with folding the stroller up etc. to avoid burdening the system but I would be willing to pay a fare for my kids if needed. I however am not inclined to subsidize the additional costs of having open strollers on buses. I think that we have to watch what we ask for because there is no free lunch and taking up additional space with strollers may lead to reduced revenue without a special surcharge. Being an infant and using a stroller is in general a transitory period in most lives with rare unfortunate exception. It is disingenuous to even compare it to the differently abled community. Like it or not public transit needs to be funded and one of the mechanisms is through the fare box. In an economic climate where fares are increasing and there are looming service cuts one really must look at this issue as a big picture and not through the myopic lens of parenthood.

by mommyworks on Jan 15, 2010 11:01 am • linkreport

And I'm incredulous about how many able-bodied young adults I witness crowding onto Metro elevators in front of elderly and disabled riders who actually need it ... and forget about parents with strollers.

The elevators weren't installed for parents with stollers. They are there for elderly and disabled riders.

by Jane Catoe on Jan 15, 2010 11:31 am • linkreport

With the possible exception of ghetto teenagers, is there any more annoying demographic than entitled yuppie parents?

by Wants to Know on Jan 15, 2010 11:34 am • linkreport

The elevators at Metro Stations are very clearly labeled to give primary access to the elderly, disabled and patrons with strollers. Whatever the original intentions were is not relevant to this conversation. This conversation centers on the rules as they currently exist. Also metro trains are much wider and although they do get very much so crowded they do not present the same sort of logistical issues that bus travel for parents does.

by mommyworks on Jan 15, 2010 11:40 am • linkreport

There may be site-specific reason why able-bodied people prefer the elevator. I prefer the elevator in a certain department store in my home town, as the escalators are laid out in such a way as to make getting from the food to the menswear involve fighting through two floors of women's clothing.

You will probably be unsurprised that one of the things that gets me down the most about the risk-aversion of the modern world is the decline of the Paternoster Lift.

by James D on Jan 15, 2010 12:39 pm • linkreport

Wow, crazy number of comments here. No time to read them all, but put me down for +1 on allowing parents to bring unfolded strollers onto buses.

Take it from me, taking a stroller on the bus is no fun for the parent, so the only ones who would be doing it would be those who really need it. They (we) will be strategic and use our smallest stroller (umbrella style) and make our kid walk if he/she is at all capable. We'll fold it up as soon as we get to a seat and can put the kid on our lap. I promise.

by Ward 1 Guy on Jan 15, 2010 1:31 pm • linkreport

If only Ward 1 Guy spoke for all the parents. Alas, he does not, and so, again I say regulations are absolutely necessary. For the parents that travel on Metrobus, remember you have made your choices, to have kids, not to travel by car, etc. You must make the appropriate accommodations in order not to impose on the masses. Why is it so bad for one to suggest that these parents do whatever it takes not to inconvenience the rest of the travelers, such as leave the kid(s) with a sitter, or take someone with you to help carry the necessary accoutrement? I am in no way anti children or anti parents, but it seems like anyone who suggests that parents should make sure not to impose their choices on other travelers is branded as less-than-human.

by Kevinm on Jan 15, 2010 2:04 pm • linkreport

" They (we) will be strategic and use our smallest stroller (umbrella style) and make our kid walk if he/she is at all capable. We'll fold it up as soon as we get to a seat and can put the kid on our lap. I promise."

Ward 1 Guy, that would be great and a solution everyone could live with. It's been suggested by several commenters on here. However, about 50 of the 100 or so comments are a back and forth that can be summed up as "why not just use the small umbrella strollers instead of the SUV strollers" which is responded with "umbrella strollers aren't appropriate for all ages, you obviously don't have children, can't possibly understand how difficult it is with children, you have no right to suggest workable alternatives (because even though you are part of this equation, your lack of children makes your point of view automatically useless), I should be able to bring any size stroller anywhere I want to and you should get used to it".

And MS, it's not a ban on strollers on public transit. It's a rule saying they must be folded up on buses. Major difference.

urbica, I don't own a car but were I to buy one I would take size into consideration because the alley for car parking is cramped and I'd like to not be the jerk who makes it difficult for others to get their cars in and out. And cute strollers. But then they weren't being brought into confined spaces, and at least where my parents grew up, weren't allowed on city buses at all. And it would appear not allowed in stores (or just not brought into them) http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/ads/ap.html . Obviously not an option these days (and certainly not claiming that it should be), but I think an illustration of altered senses of what is appropriate.

by disbelief on Jan 15, 2010 2:55 pm • linkreport

Is this the record for most responses on a trivial subject?

by Census Joe on Jan 15, 2010 3:32 pm • linkreport

Ken, it might have helped inform this discussion if you had first checked with us (at DDOT)to see if we had in fact instituted a blanket (so to speak) ban on unfolded strollers, because that is actually not the case. There is no formal policy for the DC Circulator that requires riders to fold their strollers, although if a bus is crowded, the driver may ask you to fold it to make room for other passengers. We do, however, prefer that parents take their children out of the strollers.

It is my understanding that Metrobus has a policy that requires parents to remove children from strollers and to fold the strollers up, but please check with WMATA for clarification.

John Lisle
DDOT Office of Communications

by John Lisle on Jan 15, 2010 3:35 pm • linkreport

John,

I am not a journalist - I am a Circulator rider who called Circulator customer service, as you saw in my post, and was told the opposite of what you are saying.

When the driver of the 2/3 empty bus told me to fold the stroller because "that's what we were told - don't talk to me about it, I didn't make the rules", I called the Circulator office at 301-925-6934. I was told that this was a blanket policy change and that "it should have been that way from the beginning".

Will DDOT take any action to correct the false understanding that Circulator employees have of the policy on unfolded strollers? Thanks for weighing in on this.

Ken

by Ken Archer on Jan 15, 2010 3:48 pm • linkreport

John,

I would like to also add that the policy for unfolded strollers on the Circulator that you have articulated here is very reasonable, and is what I believe the vast majority of parents and non-parents favor and seek to abide by.

Ken

by Ken Archer on Jan 15, 2010 3:52 pm • linkreport

Ken, I have no idea why the Circulator customer service staff told you that, and I apologize for the confusion. We have already touched base with First Transit, which operates the Circulator buses, and I will send them your follow-up message to ensure the bus drivers and the employees who answer the phones understand the policy.

Again, my apologies.

John Lisle
DDOT Office of Communications

by John Lisle on Jan 15, 2010 3:54 pm • linkreport

Ken,

The Circulator management would love to discuss what happened with you directly. If you don't mind the intrusion, please email me your phone number at john.lisle@dc.gov.

Thanks.

John

by John Lisle on Jan 15, 2010 4:17 pm • linkreport

Entitled parents?

Look . . . I'm as parent who rides both with my kid and without on a variety of public transit options depending on the trip . When I'm NOT with my child, it's never a big deal to make accomodation for a parent or ANYONE who needs a little help . . . to give up a seat or space to someone who obviously needs it more than me. I even do this WITH my young child and it's never a big deal. The sanctimonious folks who want to demonize parents with their petty grievences need to give it a rest. Some of you people are remarkably small mindeded and selfish. Keep your seat. At the end of the day you must feel really good about yourself.

by B on Jan 15, 2010 4:39 pm • linkreport

My family went on the Circulator yesterday after reading John Lisle's post on this blog that unfolded strollers were not banned on Circulator buses. I am here to report our unfolded stroller was banned and I want to post my recent experience to inform you all what you may expect if you attempt the same. I will send this directly to John Lisle to inform him what is going on as well.

My wife and I (with our three kids, two strollers) got on the Circulator bus by the future O Street Market to go down town on Monday late morning. When we got on the nearly empty bus we were told to take the kids out and fold the strollers. I told him about the conversation on this blog and the message from John Lisle hoping it would change his mind and let us keep the kids in the stroller but he was new to the job and never heard of John Lisle. He told us it was for liability but didn't mention specifically what the liability was...

The bus started rolling and we told him that the kids were out but the stroller but we didn't fold the strollers yet. He then said never mind about folding them and he would cut us a break by not making us actually fold them. Since we were both holding the kids securely to the seats no one was keeping the strollers from bouncing around the bus.

So my boys were in the seat but they kept popping out of them and trying to stand up. They are 2, so this is normal behavior. I think it was much more dangerous for them to be loose in a seat rather than strapped in a stroller.

When it was time to get off the bus we had to the three kids back in their strollers (don't want them running loose on a city sidewalk with lots of traffic). The process too a lot of time. I am sure the extra time of strapping them back in is also an inconvenience to few other passengers who were on the bus with us.

All in all the driver was very nice as we tried to argue the points. The discussion never got nasty. I like it when you can argue the merits of a case without getting personal or angry with the other person. He seemed like a good guy just following the rules as he understood them to be.

My kids did have a blast being out of the stroller and sitting next to the window; but having gone through this once we will not use this bus again until it is ironed out. We took the stroller-friendly Metro home. It is too much of a hassle to wrestle with the stroller and honestly it seems some drivers may let you and some may not let you leave your kids in strollers. It is going to be a crap shoot and the hassle of potentially taking them out is not too great to even bother taking the risk. And I really do think it is much more dangerous for the kids to be out of their strollers.

If the Metro allows strollers then why not buses?

by NJAVE on Jan 19, 2010 9:52 am • linkreport

@NJAVE

If the Metro allows strollers then why not buses?

The simple answer is that Metrorail has level boarding with the vehicle and the platform, and buses do not. If you had to climb a few steps to get into a Metrorail car (like some older light rail systems), they would probably consider banning them as well.

by Alex B. on Jan 19, 2010 10:00 am • linkreport

Which makes level boarding on streetcars yet another asset.

by Neil Flanagan on Jan 19, 2010 10:34 am • linkreport

@NJAVE

Why is it "normal" for your kids to be popping up and down out of the seats? I have seen kids that are well behaved and trained, and they sit next to their parents without making a fuss, so that is what I consider normal. Perhaps if you had better control of your kids then your experience on public transportation would be somewhat easier or more manageable.

by KevinM on Jan 19, 2010 10:37 am • linkreport

@KevinM

Spoken by someone who obviously does not have or interact with two year olds but thinks they know how two year olds should or shouldn't behave. By "train," you sound like you're equating the kids with pets. If that works for you, think about how much better trained a 3 year old dog is vs. a 3 mo. old puppy.

@NJAVE is correct -- this is perfectly normal behavior from a two year old.

by B on Jan 19, 2010 10:57 am • linkreport

@B

Sounds like "home training" is a foreign concept to you, and yes, I'm referring to training of kids, not pets. Seems like "sit down", "shut up", and "don't move" are not understood by too many kids these days.

by KevinM on Jan 19, 2010 11:32 am • linkreport

I just received a very professional and courteous call from the director of the Circulator program who assured me that unfolded strollers are not banned on Circulator buses, and that the issue is a communication issue with bus operators, many of whom are former Metrobus operators.

I encouraged her to post the stroller policy, online (like http://tinyurl.com/ydc2ohp) and on the buses, to avoid confusion and to make sure that unfolded strollers don't block aisles or those with disabilities.

If you are kicked off of a Circulator bus for having an unfolded stroller that is not blocking the aisle, get the bus number and provide it to Circulator.

by Ken Archer on Jan 19, 2010 11:34 am • linkreport

@KevinM

You're right "sit down", "shut up", and "don't move" are understood by kids who have complete assholes for parents.

by B on Jan 19, 2010 11:43 am • linkreport

@kevinM. sit down, shut up and don't move. Now we don't expect to see any more comments from you or you'll get a beating.

by Bianchi on Jan 19, 2010 11:54 am • linkreport

What happened to the civility on this thread? If we were all sitting around a table having a conversation, would people still say the things they're typing?

by Teo on Jan 19, 2010 11:57 am • linkreport

oh sorry. I was trying to show KevinM how absurd his suggestion was with a lame attempt at humor.

by Bianchi on Jan 19, 2010 12:03 pm • linkreport

KevinM,

I'd be interested in knowing if you have kids?

If so, could you share some of your parenting tips?

If not, well, that's what I thought.

by TimK on Jan 19, 2010 12:05 pm • linkreport

Lay off people this is not the even the issue. Thanks KevinM for backing me up.

by NJAVE on Jan 19, 2010 12:08 pm • linkreport

Teo-

I know for sure if we were sitting around a table certain people would not be saying what they are typing, so perhaps folks should indeed check themselves. Just because I have suggested that discipline is lacking in the upbringing of some kids in this day and age, all of sudden people want to get upset. Well excuse the hell out of me!

by KevinM on Jan 19, 2010 1:31 pm • linkreport

@KevinM

It has absolutely nothing to do with "discipline" for a 2 year old. If you know absolutely nothing about a subject, you and everyone would be better served if you just STFU

And if you spoke to my kid on public transit I would tell you exactly that to your face

by B on Jan 19, 2010 1:44 pm • linkreport

KevinM, Teo, and others,

I find the tone of what you folks have been posting to have been incredibly offensive. Obviously, you feel what I others have been saying to have been the same. I don't think there's a whole lot of a point to continue down this road.

If we had been discussing this in person, there's nothing I would have said here I wouldn't say to your face. However, in a real life meeting, with actual dialogue and personal interaction, we could probably come to a greater understanding with each other than we can with one sentence quips.

That being said, I heartily agree with B's last comment (on all points), and will go ahead ans STFU myself. I'd be happy to continue this discussion offline, but I don't see the point in continuing it here.

by TimK on Jan 19, 2010 1:52 pm • linkreport

@B-

I wouldn't speak to your kid, I would address you. Somehow I am sure that you would not be telling me to STFU to my face. With that, I am done on this subject, because some of you folks are losing it.

by KevinM on Jan 19, 2010 2:01 pm • linkreport

@TimK

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that my tone was offensive. I didn't call anyone an asshole or dumb, and my most recent comment simply asked why people were not being civil. In all fairness, it seems the majority of the negative comments have come from parents of children who feel frustrated that what they perceive to be a burden is not being understood by others on this thread. I can understand being frustrated when you feel that a legitimate concern is not being addressed, but calling someone dumb, an asshole, or telling people to STFU is hardly going to create any sort of positive outcome.

by Teo on Jan 19, 2010 2:15 pm • linkreport

Teo,

Shoot me an email at tim.krepp@gmail.com and I'd be happy to discuss. I think it would be more productive to continue offline.

by TimK on Jan 19, 2010 2:18 pm • linkreport

@KevinM

Don't be so sure of that

by B on Jan 19, 2010 2:52 pm • linkreport

OK, this conversation has clearly deteriorated. I am closing further comments.

by David Alpert on Jan 19, 2010 2:54 pm • linkreport

A writer for the Washington Post would like to talk to people who contributed to this comment thread. She would like to hear from all viewpoints. She can be reached at shina AT washpost.com.

by David Alpert on Apr 27, 2010 2:35 pm • linkreport

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