New York City isn't always an easy place to navigate, especially if you have small children.
Just ask some New York City moms who are pushing to allow open strollers on city buses.
Parents at a Metropolitan Transportation Authority committee meeting on Tuesday took the floor advocating for a change in the stroller policy on buses. Currently, passengers must fold strollers before boarding and keep them folded throughout the bus ride, forcing parents and caregivers to hold the child unsecurely in their lap.
It's hard enough balancing a bag of groceries on your lap. Can you imagine adding a 20-pound child to the mix?
Danielle Avissar is an Upper East Side resident and mother of a 1-year-old son who relies on the bus system to get around the city. She expressed her frustration about the MTA's open-stroller ban.
“It's completely unsafe and contrary to every car seat rule that there is. Babies should be strapped in.” Avissar said. “I also don't know how a mother is supposed to remove a child from a stroller and also take groceries or whatever is underneath the stroller, and fold it.”
Taking the subway isn’t a reliable option for stroller moms either, she said.
“All of us depend on public transportation. We can not ride trains because they’re not accessible, and the subway has become increasingly unsafe where I would not take my child on it,” she added.
Avissar is hoping New York will follow other U.S. cities including Dallas and Chicago that have more stroller-friendly policies on buses.
“Open strollers are allowed in Europe and multiple cities in the United States,” Avissar said. “So, I don't understand how a progressive city like New York has this policy in place for parents.”
Elisabeth Koachlin, also from the Upper East Side, has a 5-month-old son. As a frequent user of MTA buses, she underscored Avissar's statements.
“When you're with your baby, you can't just easily fold a stroller on the bus,” Koachlin said. “It feels very unsafe for me. Babies wiggle. Mine is heavy and strong, and I constantly feel he can slip out of my hands while the bus is moving.”
But the MTA said there are other factors to consider, especially when it comes to the safety of both infants and other people on the bus.
“Past hazard assessments have identified safety concerns when strollers are not folded and stowed away. In response to this request we are taking a fresh look at the issue by reviewing past assessments and current incident statistics,” said MTA spokesperson Kayla Shults.
Examples of hazards on the bus include strollers obstructing aisles, bus operators or other passengers tripping over or being hit by open strollers and occupants falling out of a stroller, according to the MTA.
A petition from 2017 is being re-circulated in support of a policy makeover. The petition was started by Eran Livne, a father from Brooklyn, and has since garnered 50,000 signatures.
“This is an accessibility issue and also a safety issue for our children and fellow passengers,” Livne wrote on the petition.
For more information about the MTA's stroller policy and other policies, visit mta.info.
Main image: Jordan Siemens/ Getty Images