Strollers on buses: ummm, little common sense, here...?

On the big issues, City Council often tweaks. And tweaks. Lansdowne Park redevelopment must not be a big issue, because the Mayor tossed that one to a few business guys he happens to like, opening neither his eyes nor a public tender process.

Strollers on buses? Woohoo! All over that one! The issue looms as large as some of the strollers.

There are plenty of views on this. Fourth Dwarf took a shot in this very blog.* Some stroller partisans seem to suspect an all-out attack on the sanctity of motherhood. Some bus passengers seem to desire no less than a clear cannonshot down the bus' centre aisle without hitting anything. Except maybe that sketchy-looking kid with the iPod, sitting dead center, back row. And city council is lovin' this one, because it's just the kind micromanagement issue from which they can suck all common sense. Nature abhors a vacuum. Ottawa City Council routinely creates 'em to operate in. Draw your own conclusion. I'm just sayin'...

One issue is that while city buses have, like most things North American, gained girth over the years, they have not kept anything resembling parity with the bigger baby buggy builders. (Say that three times, fast...) Humungostrollers are fashionable, ubiquitous, and hard to find alternatives for.

I see sound reasons for their big-ass bicycle tires. In Ottawa in winter, horsing the abysmally tiny wheels of old-style foldable strollers through ice ruts and snowdrifts can quickly bust up the stroller, the person pushing it, and/or the baby on board. (We shall not discuss those damn triangular yellow signs in SUV windows just now. I digress.) And I am totally down with the fact that lotsa moms who can afford one stroller only will buy the one that pushes most easily.

However, there can be a sense of entitlement around motherhood. (Kaffee-klatsching yummy mommies who circle their children's SUV-proxies like covered wagons around their tables at the Glebe Bridgehead, such that even a shifty li'l coffee-jonesing coyote can't slip past without fatal entanglement: I'm lookin' at you...!) There can also be a sense of entitlement among civilian bus commuters who want to get down the aisle without the clothed equivalent of pole-dancing, and who look askance at rows of front jump seats folded up for one or two lower-mobility passengers when they'd like to be sitting in 'em.

Bottom line, though, is that it's public transit. Ya share it. Bus users who buy strollers need to take that, and a tape measure, into account, and two-legged commuters need to understand that it's a bus. Sometimes it gets crowded, but it's good for your wallet and the environment, and sharing it with everybody who needs it makes it that much better for both. And how important is it to always get your own way, really?

What I'm advocating is a little common sense. And a modicum of the courtesy that used to be called "common", before it became uncommon.

And it would be really good if you didn't kick that shifty li'l coffee-jonesing coyote hiding under the seat in front of you. In exchange, he won't bite you. And may not eat your cat. See how easy courtesy can be?

* UPDATE: see Zoom's simultaneous post on the issue, here


zoom said...

Great and timely post Coyote! I just blogged about the very same thing.

coyote said...

Ma'am! Does this prove that you and I can be just as trivial as Ottawa City Council...?

zoom said...

Ha! I think we'd have to work at it Coyote.

Kim Bosch said...

These mothers already have priority parking spots, what more do they want?

XUP said...

I can't even believe this is even an issue. I can't believe people are getting their knickers in a twist over a couple of strollers on a bus. As you point out this IS public transit. The guy in the motorized scooter who takes 10 minutes to get his chair in place, making everyone in the first quarter of the bus move is a lot more of an inconvenience than a stroller, but so what? If you want comfort and convenience hire a chauffered driven limo. There are a lot of obnoxious people on the bus - a lot of people who impair the safety of other rider - a lot of people who take up more than their alloted space - suck it up. If we're going to complain about OC Transpo I can think of about a million other things to start with other than the passengers.