In response to rider complaints, the CTA soon will ask folks with strollers to fold them up on crowded buses so others can board.
CTA President Forrest Claypool noted at last week's board meeting that he's heard complaints from both riders and drivers on the issue. "I'm very happy to be making a concerted effort to educate our operators to tell riders, politely but firmly, what the policy is," said Claypool, according to a Sun-Times report.
Current CTA policy states:
Children in open strollers are welcome on CTA, however we encourage parents to be considerate of other customers and adhere to these rules when traveling with a stroller.
Keep strollers clear of aisles and doorways aboard buses and trains.
Seniors and customers with disabilities have priority use of the Priority Seating area aboard buses and trains. If these seats are not in use, open strollers may be parked in this area. This will help you to avoid blocking the aisle. Please yield this space if a customer with disabilities, a senior, or a person using a mobility device wishes to board. On buses, you may request use of the access ramp or lift to help you board and exit.
Please fold your stroller in the event that a bus or train becomes crowded, in order to make room for others. Be aware that in the event that a bus or train is crowded, a CTA employee may ask you to fold your stroller or wait for another vehicle. Please follow their instructions. Also, during certain periods of high ridership, we may require that all strollers be folded before you board.
The whole "stroller wars" problem is a tough situation for the CTA. On the one hand, it wants to encourage transit use, especially at a young age. My daughter rode the CTA with my wife in an umbrella stroller or carrier from a young age. Now my daughter is a young adult without a car who relies heavily on the CTA.
On the other hand, I've seen parents board buses and trains with huge strollers. Some fold up three or four seats earmarked for seniors or the disabled. That's a lot of seats to put out of service for a baby or toddler if others who need the seats are standing.
The stroller policy calls for parents and guardians to be "considerate" -- and that's where to solution begins and ends. My suggestion is to invest in a smaller umbrella stroller for those CTA trips. They are much easier to maneuver both city streets and narrow bus aisles. And they are easy to fold if a crowded bus situation warrants it.