Online petition launched as latest salvo in CTA "stroller wars"

Moms and dads pushing strollers onto CTA buses have launched another salvo in the CTA “stroller wars” – an online petition that seeks approval for strollers to be parked by seats marked for wheelchairs on buses and trains.

The petition specifically asks that:

  • Young children are allowed to remain in strollers for the duration of their rides.

  • Designated areas for special needs on trains and buses clearly allow strollers.

  • Drivers are instructed to always kneel buses for strollers and to promptly comply if asked to lower the ramp.

  • Recordings and signage ask riders to accomodate strollers.

The petition also notes the “hostile environment” on buses for child caregivers and that having to stow a stroller would slow a bus by seeral minutes.

CTA Stroller policyFirst of all, I think it’s fine for strollers to be parked in folded-up seats marked for wheelchair use – IF the bus is not crowded and IF there are no wheelchair-bound riders who may need to use that area.

And that’s the essence of the CTA’s stroller policy: “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.”

In a Sun-Times story, a CTA spokesperson noted that the transit agency is one of the few in the country to allow open strollers on trains and buses. Also noted is the federal law that requires the CTA to accommodate riders in wheelchairs. That same law does NOT mention riders with strollers.

Please note: I understand how difficult it can be to travel with a kid in a stroller on the CTA. That’s why when my wife or I did, we put our daughter in a smaller umbrella stroller. We even folded it up right away and held Moira on our laps. So we do understand your pain.

But it’s a two-way street. First and foremost, you must give up that “wheelchair bay” to those who truly need it. And if the train or bus does get crowded, do your best to get your stroller out of the way, or fold it up.

For those riders without kids, stop creating the “hostile environment” for moms and dads.

Can’t we all just get along?


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  • The only hostility I've seen is when the parent boards with an SUV-sized stroller, and blocks the aisle. If the stroller is out of the way, then there are generally no issues. I've done my part by lifting HC seats when needed, and helping parents get the strollers on and off the buses to help speed boarding.

  • Your view of this is sensible. It is clear that the stroller people want priority treatment. That they claim discrimination and don't mention ADA requirements proves it.

    Now, if they said they were willing to pay an extra $6.00 fare to transport the stroller, that would be a different issue, but I'm sure that the privileged class of current mommies behind this* would then just get the Uber app.

    BTW, does really effect any change, or is it just a publicity vehicle?

    *No different than a former Chicago Now blogger complaining that GroupOn wouldn't give her a refund on a coupon for a botox treatment, because she realized, only after clicking "Buy" that she was breast feeding. Poor baby, and also her poor offspring.

  • I'm agonizing about this big time. I have to commute on a commuter bus with my 2 month old starting tomorrow, and a stroller is the easiest way of carrying her and her daycare stuff (since she's so small and it's a home daycare with no supplies) and my work supplies. It's a popular bus route, and it doesn't run frequently enough so I can't wait for the next bus. I would quite willingly fold up the stroller should the bus become crowded to make everyone's ride smoother and safer, and I will of course vacate the spot should someone with disabilities need it. However, I will need help, too with the stroller and baby so she won't get hurt, and I won't fall down. I'll need help folding it up once I get on the bus, and unfolding it before I get to my stop. Do you think my other commuters would be willing to help?

    I could carry everything, but it would probably cause me to become disabled by ruining my otherwise iffy back, in which case using a stroller might actually be part of my ADA accommodations for the disability.

    I'm so freaking anxious about it. I hope my fellow commuters will help and forgive me. And that the bus driver doesn't yell at me--it'll only make my GAD worse.

  • In reply to Holly:

    I've seen plenty of assistance offered. If you try to be courteous and do the "right thing", people will assist. It's when the parents make no attempt to avoid being a roadblock that things can get ugly.

  • I say that the CTA should charge the stroller users one adult fare for every seat they take up & $20 if they block the aisle.
    So if one of those SUV size ones takes up the three sideways seats & the two front facing flip up seats, that's five adult fares or $11.25.
    That should put an end to it!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    It's rather sad that something that should be easily handled with a bit of common sense and courtesy turns into a battle royal. Standing in doorways, packages on seats, man-spreading, strollers, yada, yada, yada. When traffic is light during off-peak hours, it's generally not an issue. However, with service levels below needed levels, we all have to do our part to get along. Sadly, a few bad apples make the lives of the vast majority of courteous commuters rough.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    But there isn't any common courtesy from the SUV size stroller owners.
    Even worse, I see them regularly put one on the bus for 3-4 stops.
    That tells me that the owner has an RTA free ride card & is just abusing it.
    Push the damned thing those few extra blocks, it will burn off some of that fat on you!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Lol. It's not just stroller owners. I've seen plenty of healthy looking individuals hop on the bus, and get off at the next stop.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    I've done that many times, as I look healthy, but I'm not.
    That happens a lot to healthy looking people who have handicapped parking plates & hang tags too.
    There are a number of hidden disabilities & I have a few of them.

    But if you give birth more than once & can push a huge stroller, some of which have space for three children, you can damned sure walk a few blocks!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Yes, I understand. That's why I used the phrase "healthy looking", and not "healthy". My father has heart issues, and while he may look healthy, he's not.

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