No plans to limit strollers on buses, streetcars: TTC chair
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 8:38AM EST
Toronto Transit Commission chair Karen Stintz says she has no intention of limiting the number of strollers allowed on the city's buses and streetcars -- an idea that’s received both praise and criticism, and sparked a national debate about the state of Toronto’s public transit system.
TTC staff were asked to look into the issue after one Toronto woman complained that strollers took up too much room on often-crowded transit vehicles. Elsa La Rosa, 61, suggested enforcing a limit on the number of buggies allowed onboard at a time, especially during peak hours.
But Stintz said she doesn’t support the idea of TTC drivers potentially denying service to parents with young children.
“I would never want to put a customer in a position where they’re asked not to get on the bus,” Stintz told CTV’s Canada AM on Wednesday. “I think there’s common sense that needs to prevail.”
Stintz said before Monday’s meeting, she didn’t realize strollers were problematic for TTC riders.
“We were quite surprised it’s turned into a national debate,” she said, pointing out the conversation is about more than kid-carriers.
“As our system becomes more accessible, we will have strollers, electric scooters, mobility aids,” she said. “The issue is not contained to strollers: it’s how do we create an accessible system that is welcoming for everybody.”
Asked why she directed TTC staff to further study the touchy topic after a single complain, Stintz said it is part of the transit commission’s focus on customer service.
“I don’t believe it’s a concern,” she said about the stroller issue. “(But) it’s clearly a concern for somebody, so in an effort to respond to that need, we’ll look at it and see if there’s anything that could be done.”
She added new streetcars and bigger buses will soon be introduced to TTC routes and that may alleviate some of the problem.
The issue has infuriated some parents, who say more consideration is needed when young children board buses and streetcars.
“There’s nothing mothers with strollers or fathers with strollers can do when you need to access the TTC,” said Isabella Dagher.
The mother of one said the debate came as a shock, as she regularly uses the TTC with her 11-month-old and has never encountered a problem.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a solution where people are going to have to do anything different with their strollers,” said Dagher, who learned of the brewing debate via Twitter.
TTC spokesperson Brad Ross spent Tuesday responding on Twitter to an outpouring of feedback regarding the stroller debate.
Some Torontonians agreed that strollers, along with backpacks and bicycles, are a major problem on the crowded TTC vehicles, while others suggested that studying the issue is simply a waste of time.
Ross stressed that strollers -- and the youngsters they carry -- are welcome on buses and streetcars at all times.
He tweeted: “Certainly has touched a nerve. All the board really asked was for staff to have a look at current practice. That's normal.”
A TTC rider walk down the street pushing her baby in a stroller in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.
TTC chair Karen Stintz speaks on Canada AM about the stroller complaint, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.