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mom22

I'm not sure what you're thinking about for a solution. Knowing the problem is one thing, but we ought to be suggesting a solution. I would love to hear suggestions on it, because I don't know that I have one. It's a pretty quick process to hang your bike and then it's out of the way. I don't think a stroller is the same. And if you're talking about taking up seats that an alter-abled person needs, I just don't see it. As a person with a stroller, I have options to sit elsewhere. If I were in a wheelchair, I wouldn't.

I've been using the bus more recently, and have the baby in a backpack that also holds all my stuff. It's not his favorite place, but I'm not going to do the stroller in and out thing. And I just sit funny in the seat, so don't take him off when I'm riding. I have my 3 year old on foot. If I have to carry more than what fits in one bag, I'm on the bike with trailer, which frankly I prefer over the bus any day. During the day hours I'll take Max with the stroller but try to use the small one and not the big double. And then I'm paranoid the whole time. I park it in the middle of the aisle and know that I'm just being obnoxious.

So, if there's a reasonable solution someone has, I would be happy to consider writing a letter.

Beverly

I think what it boils down to is that stroller riders are not fare paying passengers. Even if a two year old could not walk, it is unlikely that such a little person would be out and about in wheelchair or a hoveround, mom or dad would carry the tot or have them in a stroller.
Sometimes this frustrates me because honestly, if an adult had the mobility "issues" faced by most small children, they would insist on having their needs met or someone would insist for them. A stroller is a "mobility device" and should be classified as such.
I would not bat an eye if Tri-Met insisted on an "Honored Citizen" pass for an unfolded stroller on the bus. A less reasonable solution would be racks that accommodated both bikes and unfolded strollers and bike trailers.
In general, I find Tri-Met to be a mixed bag as far as Family-Friendliness. As was noted above, some drivers are very patient while others will gladly send my two year old, strollerless kid sprawled in the middle of the isle because he didn't move fast enough for them. Of course, if he were safely in his "mobility device" there would be no problem.

ProtestMama

I didn't have car until my daughter was four. I took a small umbrella stroller that was easy to fold up. In San Francisco, the bus drivers would basically not let you on or stop the bus until the stroller was folded up. Did grocery shopping alone on the bus for years. I used diaper bags, baby backpacks, slings, whatever could make it work. My daughter started carrying small bags when she was about 2.

The last year we lived in Alameda, CA yet I worked and she had preschool in San Francisco. Grocery shopping was often done in SF in the evening and then commuted over to the East Bay via two different transit systems, sometimes three. Preschooler in tow.

I don't agree with blocking egress on a public bus. Especially the safety issue, I never wanted someone landing on my kid when the bus lurched. Or someone tripping over my stroller or someone mobility impaired not being able to navigate a wheelchair or scooter around it. But I grew up on public transit so there's cultural piece there for me around transit etiquette, which is my own bag.

Stroller racks similar to bike racks, I could get on board with. I'm okay with unweildy stroller on the Max because there's more open floor space and bikes are allowed on as well.

mom22

The special pass for the stroller has some potential, I think. I would be inclined to consider using it more if I could do that. As does putting a stroller on the bike rack or something similar, provided it can be done pretty quickly. I'd have a tough time doing it when loaded down, trying to keep hands on the passenger at the same time, but if it were empty it would be easy enough.

Lynn from WPC

I remember those days. Wishing I had three or maybe four arms. Having a bus driver tell me to take my screaming child from a stroller that would not fold up. Visions of my library books and groceries skidding down the aisle of the bus. And being exhausted when I got home. I have talked to people who represent minorities, they really struggle with this issue.

In Europe you do not have to fold your stroller!!! When I lived in Prague the person standing near the pram was EXPECTED to help the mother put the pram on the bus, even if your hands were full.

I agree this should change. How??? I have felt my child wasn't safer strapped into their stroller, than held without restraint on my lap. If there was a way to secure the stroller, it would be similar to a wheelchair.

Good luck. My suggestions, look at what other countries do, ask to see TriMets safety guidelines. Ask if it is national policy. Also look into issues of unrestrained children on busses. But, this of course could have other implications.

LTF

Keep the ideas comin'! The only solution I have isn't a direct solution: a Tri-Met parent advisory committee on riding with young children. You can alwasy write Tri-Met and ask them if there is something in the works, no hope, evidence in other cities, whatever.

Often, just sharing an issue with the decision makers gets their attention and then they can brainstorm ideas - with inout from my dremay parent advisory committee; they're the transit planners, after all. There is an accessibility advisory committe, so while the issues are clearly quite different in type and relevance, the model exists.

Vivian

I have been using the Trimet almost exclusively for the past 4 months here in Portland. I live in inner NE so I have pretty good access to a variety of bus lines.
My son, who is 2.5, has gotten very used to this and loves the bus. We rarely use a stroller because of the above issues- however, if I really really want to use one, I am only about 2 miles from the Convention center so if I just walk there then I'm golden, because the MAX line is big enough for strollers, no problem.
Often I do grocery shopping in spurts, I'll bring two large reusable grocery bags and fill up while I'm out. Yeah, you might have sore shoulders the first few times but it really isn't that bad. When you want to make a large trip to get groceries or other items, I suggest you rent a Zipcar. It covers insurance and gas at only 9 bucks an hour. Not bad for these once or twice a month trips to stock up on groceries! Split with a friend and you're doin even better!
I'm surprised more moms don't use the public transportation system here. Often people are very accommodating to those with children, and my kid loves it because I can talk, read books, etc with him rather than having to focus on driving.
If you're going carless, get a good bike and bike trailer too- esp during the summer, that is a life saver for quick trips to the park or grocery store even.
Good luck!

jenn

THANK YOU for bringing up this issue! I have ridden Tri-Met with my daughter since she was a month old (she's now 2), and as I cannot drive due to a vision impairment, Tri-Met is my *only* option for getting around during the day, and I would volunteer to serve on a family friendly public transit task force in an instant, if it meant better service.

I have had VERY mixed experiences on Tri-Met. Max is usually a safe bet with a stroller -- I have a very compact, small one (one step up from an umbrella) which I've gotten quite good at parking out of the way. But buses? No way. Unless we're going directly somewhere that my toddler can walk to easily, I don't do them with a stroller. I had nightmarish experiences with being told to fold mine up for a whopping five minute bus ride on an infrequently used suburban busline in the middle of the day -- it took every single person on that bus, sans driver, to fold my stroller and keep my infant from rolling off the seat, and by that time I was at my destination!

I was also treated VERY rudely when I asked for the ramp once to help me and my daughter board safely -- I got a big lecture about how the ramp is only for disabled people, never mind that I AM disabled -- apparently if you don't look obviously mobility impaired or haven't yet gotten your Honored Citizen paperwork pushed through yet, you're out of luck. Oddly enough, other times I had really sweet drivers offer to let me use the ramp with a stroller without even asking my disability status. (I do understand the need to keep the aisles free for passengers and mobility devices, however, especially on narrow buses, and I would totally support a bike rack type system for strollers -- it's more the embarking/disembarking that's my issue, due to the steep steps.)

I have asked Trimet several times to make their policies widely known and, more importantly, educate or train their drivers on these issues so that everyone is assured a uniform experience. It was really stressful for me never knowing whether my bus driver would be sensitive and compassionate to my boarding woes or not (a toddler just learning to walk and a stroller-toting mama with bad depth perception are a bad combo). When it comes to actually riding -- dear God, I can barely keep the kiddo in sightline and under control, much less any wayward bags. (We wound up moving to a place within walking distance of shopping, largely to circumvent this issue.)

Then, of course, there's the concern of waiting for buses in areas where there may not be shelters or even sidewalk -- not strictly a family friendly issue, but definitely a safety one when you have a little person in tow. I'm pretty much sticking to Max for now, which limits my already-limited mobility, but it's something at least, and it's way more reliable than transit I've ridden in other cities (lest you think I despise Trimet).

Zinemama

My stroller days are mostly over. But yesterday I was waiting for the #15 bus along with a woman who had a baby and a heavily loaded stroller. When the bus arrived, she was having trouble trying to fold it up, and just as I was offering to help her, the bus driver leaped out.

"Hold it!" she shouted, and proceeded to lift the (still unfolded) stroller into the bus, quickly fold down the seats that usually accomodate a wheelchair, and neatly place the stroller there.

"There ya go, darlin!" she said. "Believe me, I know what it's like hauling one of those around. Now, anything else I can help you with?"

Wow. That woman made my day (and the mother's too, no doubt. She should be in charge of Tri-Met stroller policy!

ebw

In respose to this thread I wrote an email to Trimet about their stroller policy. I ride the train (almost daily with my son who is not in a stroller anymore but sometimes I think that would make it easier). The reply I recieved puzzled me beacuse the person said that strollers ARE allowed on the Max trains. I have looked all over Trimet's website and could not find this information.

I'm confused. I figure I will ask about where I would find that information...

sarah gilbert

I ride the bus almost every day, and often with three boys (that's Truman in the photo there :). I think I've brought a stroller aboard maybe once, preferring to haul whatever I've gotten while out in bags and slings and things like a mama pack mule. I'm far more likely to roll over someone's foot, or spill groceries onto someone's lap, with the extra gear. that said I frequently get home with an aching back. it definitely makes me plan well, bringing plenty of small bags and often asking the boys to carry something.

I think the best thing I've had drivers do for me (other than give Truman transfers when he asks, he tries to get one on every. single. bus. we board) is to yell out on a crowded bus, "make a seat for this woman and her babies!" it's happened several times, and it always makes me grateful.

but, I am in the position to view stroller behavior of a vast number of mamas and drivers, and it's such a mixed bag. most don't even attempt to fold their strollers, even when there's only one baby who's awake and able to get out, and I can remember only once when a driver complained.

many a time I've helped (or, at least, offered to help :) a woman get her stroller on or off the bus. I figure, we're all in this together, and whoever has a free hand should jump in and lend it!

I think the issue is a *driver* issue and not so much a tri-met policy issue. boy, I have had some doozy drivers, both amazing and awful. my house is on the 75 line, and I'm on the west side of the street, so I'm often running across the street and a few blocks up to catch the bus somewhere. there's one driver who will stop in the middle of 39th when she sees me trying to cross the street, and wait for me and the kids! oh, how i love her. there's another driver who gets extremely grumpy if people aren't on time for the bus (what, because the bus always arrives *exactly* on schedule?) and won't wait an instant, even if you're running with three kids... *sigh*

but the very worst of all was one day when it was raining, and I had had quite a convoluted trip. i'd made a mistake somewhere, taken the wrong bus, and my trip had taken *way* longer than it should have. I was getting near the end of my transfer. I was changing buses at Powell, and was so thrilled to see the #75 was approaching. I was able to get to the stop without violating any traffic laws -- so proud! -- and monroe and I climbed aboard. I'd spent the last of my dollars getting treats, and had no money at all.

well, it turned out, it was 3:11 and my transfer was good 'til 3:00. the driver made me get off the bus, and while I would have still felt a bit cheated were she to have done it no matter HOW nice she was, she said it in the most pleased, mean way, when I asked her incredulously if she wanted me to get off and walk, "yeah. I want to you get OFF my bus."

anyway. I walked the rest of the way home, fuming. if I ever see her again, I'm going to take the next bus!

Sara

As a transit-dependent parent of a 3-year-old, I've spent a lot of time maneuvering huge bags of groceries plus child on and off of buses. It's unequivocally awful. If it's this awful for me (a healthy, English-speaking, well-educated youngish person with lots of transit experience and only one child), you can bet it's much more awful for people with more burdens and/or fewer resources.(Zipcar, for example, is a lovely resource, but $9 an hour is actually kind of a lot of money when you have no money.)
I do think this a policy issue, and it's bigger than just the stroller issue. Tri-Met is targeted for commuters. Everything about the system (routes, frequency, bus layout) is perfect for people who are going in and out of downtown, with maybe a purse or briefcase (and who then go home and get in their cars to go grocery-shopping). It is very far from perfect for people carrying more or going anywhere else. I believe that if Portland wants to make significant progress toward sustainability and better quality of life, this problem HAS to be addressed.
But back to the stroller issue. I'm a bit divided on this. I never take a stroller on the bus because it's so inconvenient for me and for other passengers. I've seen some parents be spectacularly rude about forcing other people to accommodate their strollers (and kids). And once one person is allowed to bring their stroller on unfolded and loaded with kids and stuff, that leaves no room for another person-with-kids-and-stuff, not to mention a person with a wheelchair.
I think a spot dedicated for stroller parking is a good idea, and I think the idea of buying a discounted ticket in order to park your stroller on the bus could work well. But I think that having dedicated space to put folded strollers and just plain Stuff might be even more useful, and more democratic. I've seen a lot of people use the shelf-y space at the front of some buses for stroller-or-bag storage, and while that particular practice seems pretty precarious, I think it's an idea with promise. Plenty of people get on the bus with lots of Stuff - groceries or shopping bags or giant trashbags full of empty cans - and it would be easier for everyone if there was a safe, organized way to stash them in a corner.
However, Tri-Met should at the very least start with an official policy encouraging drivers to be patient with people unloading and folding up their strollers. It's not just the strollers - frequently drivers are audibly impatient or even rude about dealing with people with official mobility issues. The drivers are under considerable pressure to meet their schedules, which makes the less-nice drivers cranky about any delay. I understand that there is a balance of customer service here; you don't want the bus to be delayed, inconveniencing the people waiting at subsequent stops, but you also don't want drivers making the passengers already aboard feel harassed or unsafe.
So, Tri-Met, if you're listening, we're asking you to help grow the next generation of transit riders by making it easy for parents to bring their kids aboard. Pretty please.

Leah

I live just blocks from one of the busiest transit hubs in the city--Lombard and Interstate. We take MAX once or twice a month, and more often in the summer when we're headed down Interstate to Farmer's Market once a week. But we're limited, obviously by where we can go on MAX. I'd love to take the bus, but have never done it primarily because of the stroller/stuff issue, secondarily because of safety. I definitely think that TriMet should consider the possibilities for increasing it's ridership by becoming more family friendly.

KMat

I haven't had to use a stroller on the bus yet. Although I'm due with boy #3 any day now, so that may change.

We do use Zipcar for grocery shopping, although, of late (due to my gigantic stomach and the fact that we live on the second floor), I have been ordering the bulk of my groceries from Safeway. They actually run some sort of delivery special every week, so I have yet to actually pay for delivery. Plus, they bring the groceries into my kitchen. (I still walk to New Seasons for my produce, though.)

But, that's off topic.

I usually have a decent to good bus experience. A lot of it depends on the bus driver and the passengers. For example, once there were two people with strollers sitting across from each other in the handicapped area. There was literally no way for me to fit through with my 3 year old and my baby belly. And you would think maybe they could move the strollers a little bit? But no. And of course, the driver takes off super-fast, sending me and Gideon stumbling across the strollers. Awesome. Thanks.

And Sarah--I think I've come across that driver on the #75. In my encounter with her, my 3 year old and I were moving toward the front of the bus, getting ready to make a quick dismount. The bus jerked, and Gideon ended up with his foot across the yellow line. "Gideon, back up please," I said. To which the bus driver responded, "Your kid needs to get back now. I'm not your babysitter you know. I'm trying to drive the bus, I can't watch your kid too." Whoa. I had some choice comments about her driving, but I managed to control the New Yorker in me and got off the bus without saying anything. I'm still annoyed by the whole exchange--and I sometimes fantasize about getting her again and telling her just what I think about her attitude.

lea

I wrote a letter to Trimet, suggesting a reduced fare for unfolded strollers. I also suggested that they amend their stroller folding policy -- allowing strollers to stay open during off-peak hours, and folded from 6-9am & 4-6pm. I am awaiting their response.

In spite of this policy, I've found Trimet to be cleaner, more prompt and less crowded than any other public transportation I've used(Brindisi,Bologna,New York,SF).

There have been good ideas & input. Y'all should write to Trimet and let them know where you stand. And while you're there, let them know about the #75 busdriver!

anon

I agree with Lynn. Portland and tri-met always brag about how we're considered a walkable European-style city where you don't need a car. The trick is, those cities have transit that embraces mothers and little kids. You should see the industrial super spring suspended strollers that people have to help them cope with all that walking and all those cobblestones. Those are not small strollers, and when you are standing at a stop, people make way for you and help you get on. I can only remember one situation (public water taxis on Lake Geneva) where folding was required. And if I can generalize my memory from at least two cities, you're not charged any extra.

From a transit point of view, little children are every bit as disabled as someone at the opposite end of the age spectrum. Some of them can't walk, some of them are just weak or easily tired out. A transit system that really serves people - as opposed to some urban planner's vanity - would learn to deal with that. And a nice side benefit to a family-welcoming transit system might be a safer transit system.

LTF

If I might sumamrize the main points I'm hearing (for my contact with tri-Met today):

1. Drivers should use the ramp for stroller on/off
2. Tri-Met should provide customer service training for drivers to provide considerate & consistent treatment of parents and children
3. Child safety vis-a-vis being seated (in the stroller being one safe option) should be considered
4. Alternative ticket options should be considered (e.g., small additional fee for unfolded stroller, like 0.25 or 0.50 per use, of a "family pass")
5. There should be a requirement for able-bodied people to move for parents with children under 6
4. Wheelchair spots should be available for strollers when they are not needed by wheel chairs

Please add to / edit this list if I've msised a major point. And stay tuned! if I can arrange a meeting of some sort, I will post the time and date so anyone interested can join the fun.

LTF

I forgot 2:

1. MAke info re riding with strollers and kids available on the web site - it's not at all!

2. An issue for the entire community, I know: better schedules that support non downtown commute riding.

LTF

Public forum in a Board of Directors meeting this Wed 3/26 in the City of Portland building. It's a regular board meeting that includes, at the tag end, an opportunity for public comment - up to three minutes. Anyone interested? I'm thinking of going. Sure wish they'd have public forum up front so we busy people coudl predict the timing! With 2 kids under 5 and a 4-day week/job, it's not like I have all morning to wait around for my 3 minutes, you know? Here's a link to the meeting: http://trimet.org/meetings/board/index.htm

If you think you might go, let us know and we can meet up. Between now & then I imagine I'll have heard back from the Customer Service or PR people so not sure at this time whether spekaing in this forum is a good idea/good sue fo time. Stay tuned!

LTF

Check out this San Francisco 3/17/07 Public Transit Forum for Families with Young Children." BINGO!! Tri-Met IMHO is far superior to MUNI/BART - so surely mwe can do this - and more -too! They came up with 7 recommendations, #3 hits the stroller issue right on. http://www.sftep.com/files/Family%20Forum%20Summary.pdf

Here's an excerpt (there are others very much in line with our discussion): 'The issue of strollers and operator training appeared in both the Service and Safety discussions. Families tend have difficulty with Muni’s policy requiring strollers to be folded up when boarding, in part due to the complication of carrying child(ren) onto the bus along with a folded up stroller. In addition, participants reported that that operators frequently start moving before families, small children and strollers are safely seated.'

ProtestMama

As a native San Franciscan, I have to disagree with the above statement. (grin) If Tri-Met was a more efficient transit system (i.e. offered express and limited stop bus lines) I would not drive AT ALL. I hate the darn car. But as a single parent with home, work and school at opposite ends of town, it doesn't work to take 75 minutes for each of the two legs of our morning commute.

When my daughter was a baby the Muni director sued to do one-on-one meetings with consituents. I remember going to one. I'm pretty sure my issue was either driver rudeness or bus frequency issues. Most memorable, however, was my daughter making the stinkiest poop replete with grunting and the poopy face.

My guess is that children and strollers are not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, subsequently the same kind of protections can't be mandated. And having many disabled loved ones, I hesitate to say that an able-bodied parent and baby need thosee same protections.

anon

Obviously "those same protections" can't be mandated, because the ADA doesn't cover babies and young children, and I doubt there would be any support for extending that protection to them. But that doesn't mean that Tri-Met can't change its ways voluntarily or through some other legislation. The point is that Tri Met - if it really wants young families to use it - has to recognize how hard it is for them to use Tri Met now and figure out a way to make it easier.
And same protections? I don't think anybody would argue that babies need special arrangements so they can take the GRE or have city council meetings translated into their language. But they and their parents do need a little help getting on the bus. Speaking as someone who - at various points in my life - has been a wheelchair user, a babywearer, and a stroller pusher, it doesn't seem like such a hard point to understand - unless it's true that the only real point of our transit system is to serve workers to businesses, fliers to the airlines and patrons to the Rose Garden. Then you can see why there'd be no need to think about a woman struggling under her load.

Lynn from WPC

This is a great discussion. I like LTF's list. Another group who may be willing to wiegh in on this are public health workers or others who work with minority and immigrant families. They may know families who would be willing to add their stories to the challenges of taking children on public transportaton. Many of them have no other options. Imagine having an ill child, needing to take the child to the doctor on bus, AND not fully understanding the language of the driver and fellow passangers.

Hau

I think the "stroller" issues is where we can find common ground with issues concerning the disabled. It was only when I started pushing a stroller did I realize the lack of curb cuts in our neighborhood, and the fact that the sidewalks in some parts of the city are in such poor condition that anyone with a wheelchair would be hard pressed to navigate it. It's been awhile since I've taken the kids in the stroller on transit, but I do think it's one of the perceived issues that prevents more parents from choosing transit as a viable transportation option.

Our family takes transit often, for commuting to/from school/work with our kids; and also for outings. I do find that families with young children are not really considered as a demographic when it comes to transit and biking. Combining biking and transit would be ideal for us since my commute to my son's school involves transferring from Max to Street Car and then a 4 block walk. In the evening commute, I don't bother with the Street Car unless it's less than a 4 minute wait and thus we walk the 8 blocks to the Max. Anyway, I've realized that it's quicker to bike 5 miles with my son (35 minutes) even up the hill on Interstate than ride the Max. But gosh darn it, it's tiring biking with kids and sometimes it would be nice to hop on the Max with the bike and the kid. But it is impossible unless you're child is still in a bike seat. My son is 40 1bs and he is probably too large for the bike seat as it is.

The young kids that are riding with their parents will hopefully be the transit riders of the future so why not create a more pleasant experience for all? It would be fun to offer up Sarah's three boys to Fred Hansen for a ride on TriMet as he chases down the #75 connection.

Lastly, thanks for all of the stories about families going sans car, I think it gives us that are more tentative about alternative modes of transportation some courage to give it a try.

ProtestMama

Thank you, Hau for bringing us back to some common ground. I think we can look at this issue from many perspectives.

I think that the reason that young families aren't considered a main constituency for public transit, is that the folks who have to take the bus and max, don't have the privilege of another option. Folks don't worry so much about a captive audience. People who have to use public transit, have to figure out a way to make it work. It's been pretty clear that Tri-Met is about increasing its use as "alternative" transportation not primary transport.

In the neighborhood, where I lived in San Francisco when we were carless, there were little old retired men with big cars that would give you a ride home from Safeway for couple or few bucks. I didn't do that. But it was cool, in that it was totally informal and community based. I was the carless mama with a baby with a temp of 104 and no cab resources. More than once.

Anon, I understand your concern about lightening a woman's load. I was really grateful for the folks that would fold my stroller or carry my bags on the bus for me.

I may not have the privilege of working part-time or living close-in. I totally get that since I do now have the privilege of a car that is reliable, gas money and car insurance, I can dictate the circumstances under which I will ride TriMet. I think that car culture is so insular and disconnected.

Maybe it takes the vision of mamas who have other options to make it better for all mamas on transit. That part of things, I can get behind.

LTF

Update: I spoke with Drew Blevins, TriMet Marketing Director, on the afternoon of 3/24/08. I subsequently e-mailed him a link to this thread and some other ideas from this discussion. I am hopeful that this dialog will continue in a productive way. What are your thoughts about a forum on family-friendly transit in Portland? Woudl you attend? Find it useful? Stay tuned!

jenn

I would absolutely attend a forum!

And ProtestMama, I agree w/you that Trimet does seem more into portraying the service as merely a convenient "alternative" -- for getting to downtown events on the weekends, for instance, or to beat the rush hour on 26. I always read the bus schedules with concern when they're updated, fearing yet another line will have its midday service slashed based on "ridership patterns." True, there may be only a few people riding during certain times, but those people are far more likely to be the riders like me who have no other option in their transportation, rendering that service critical for them. I've sometimes thought about taking cabs to non-Trimet-accessible locations, but money is pretty tight to justify one in anything short of a true emergency, and I'm always scared I'll get one with non-functioning seatbelts that might render a carseat install unsafe. (Anybody ever do cabs with kiddos in PDX? I'd be curious to hear experiences.)

Thanks again to everyone who is speaking up and advocating on this issue. I know there are times when I feel (and may come across) cranky at folks who have other options and for whom public transit is a choice, not a necessity, but it has been such a relief and a validation to see this thread here - as well as a gentle reminder that other parents are potential allies on these concerns (not always easy to remember while waiting for a bus in the rain with a toddler, feeling like you're the only mama who's ever been there!).

lea

Hey ProtestMama, another SF girl here. I am dying to know... What busline did you live on? Cuz I could tell you hilarious horror stories about the 22Fillmore for hours!( I affectionately dubbed it the 'Shame Train'). So bad... that I wouldn't take a job that I couldn't walk to.

ProtestMama

Of course, I lived near the 22 (webster betw Hayes/Grove. . cabs weren't option, they wouldn't go there even if I'd had the money). I have a BF story from an overcrowded 22 (oxymoron)that would literally make you CRY.

Trish

Um ... you CHOSE to have children. The whole world is not about to bend over backwards to accommodate you. People got along just fine on public transit before you reproduced. You are not entitled to any special privileges and I can't believe that you are literally comparing having children to someone that is handicapped and you should be ashamed of yourself for doing so, although I doubt you will be. You made the choice, you take the consequences. Deal with it.

LTF

Trish: From what I have read, most commenters have stated quite clearly that riders with accessibility issues take precedent. In addition to plain old human decency, there is the law. In my mid, public transit is for all types of riders, and parents are riders. Parents are also members of the community. Do we sometimes have extra needs? Sure. But who doesn't, in one way or other.
And finally, here on uM we do our *very* best to treat each other with respect and decency, and I'm not seeing very much of either in your comment. I do, however, appreciate your opinion, I guess if shared more respectfully you might find others more interested in the substance of it all.

Trish

No. Again, having children is a choice. Being handicapped or old is not. Expecting others to accommodate you because of the choices you've made is extremely selfish. When riding public transit I will gladly give up my seat to an older person or one with obvious disablities. Being asked (or, more often, demanded) to give up my seat because you choose to bring a stroller the size of a Ford Excursion along with you? Not so much. May I repeat--generations before you dealt with the difficulties of taking children on public transport without making it a civil rights issue. Learn from your elders.

LTF

Trish: I won't reply to the substance of your comment since it was the same as earlier and no improvement in ton that I could see. Please review the urbanMamas guidelines re how we communicate with one another respectfully before you share your views with this community - they are stated quite clearly here: http://urbanmamas.typepad.com/urbanmamas/2007/03/urbanmamas_poli.html)

Going forward, we appreciate you following these guidelines re treating one another with the respect that we all deserve from each other, regardless of our views and circumstances. Have a terrific evening!

lol childfree

Trish, why are you trolling a parenting board if you have such obvious disdain for breeders?

LTF

Tri-Met has asked us to meet with them in May. If you are interested in being a parent voice for a family-friendly Tri-Met at that meeting and you've got some serious bus/MAX/Streetcar riding with kids under your belt, please e-mail us at activistas@gmail.com.

lea

I would love to take part!

I sent a letter to Trimet, suggesting reduced fairs for unfolded strollers, open strollers for off-peak hour, etc., Here is their response;

Lea,

I have reviewed your complaint and acknowledge your concerns about customers using our system with baby strollers. We do have a long-standing policy that is also part of TriMet code (statute) the requires customers to fold baskets and strollers on our bus system. The concern has been about blocking aisles and the dangers to children and customers if a bus is forced to come to a hard stop. Yet, I fully understand the concerns you have expressed in your email and I will include your comments in our discussion should TriMet initiate a review of our current policy.

If you have any further questions please feel free to call me at 502 962-4851

Hayden Talbot


LTF

Lea: Thanks for sharing that! We are planning a meeting with TriMet in May and as soon as we have a date we'll be asking around/posting for interested parents who ride TriMet *alot* with kids. Our goal is to bring in parents with different riding situations, e.g., the commuter, the everywhere rider, the no-car family, etc... I am encouraged that they are going to sit down with us, but then maybe they do that with everyone. Time will tell where this will lead. I am starting to love the expression: guardedly optimistic.

lea

Well, I was surprised today to receive a phone call from Hayden Talbot, customer relations at TriMet.

He explained that their stroller policy was written as part of TriMet code and not just a rule; Therefore making it much more difficult to amend.

However,he agreed that this policy was excluding a demographic that needed this service most.
He said that he had noticed the struggle that parents had on unloading a stroller and trying to hold onto everything.
He also said that he had found no statistics that proved that babies were safer in their parents lap than in a stroller, making the policy difficult to stand behind 100%.
However,he said that there have been issues with strollers blocking the aisle, impeding the flow of traffic.
Hayden Talbot is not a policy maker, but he said he would speak to them on parents behalf.....All around, a pretty swell guy!

BTW, the reason they allow open strollers on MAX are because it is a smoother ride, with fewer stops. It generally has the right-of-way and is much less likely to be involved in an accident than a bus.

Guardedly optimistic!

EE Borges

This is quite the discussion. I added my commentary to another comment on the more recent posting on this topic. In that piece, I explained my opinion that the increasingly bulky strollers seem inappropriate for use on TriMet, unless a family has multiples. Anyway, I won't get into all of that, at least not just yet.

On the other hand, I would like to see TriMet add rules that would follow the rules of this sign from a streetcar in Vienna:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kemmerer/53900364/

(You have no idea how hard it was to find a photo of that memorable sign.)

I bring this up, because few Portlanders would offer a seat to my wife despite the fact that she was in the latter stages of pregnancy. I've seen the same lack of courtesy happen to others, as well. Further, I have had to stand, holding a poll with one hand, while carrying my baby and toddler in the other arm, repeatedly. Again, I have seen other parents face this discourtesy.

It seems like TriMet could help promote decency and safety in these situations, where pregnant mothers and parents who are carrying their children can get preference for seats.

anonymous

When I had my children 18 years ago, Tri-met's policy was that strollers had to be folded BEFORE boarding. I was nearly in tears each time I had to take the baby to the doctor because infants cannot just be laid on the concrete sidewalk while you fold your stroller, put your purse and diaper bag on your shoulder, lug the stroller up the stairs, store everything somewhere on the bus especially when it's raining. I used to look at the driver and ask how I was supposed to fold the stroller up when there was nothing I could do with my baby? I just got cold stares and comments like, Your problem, lady, not mine.

The policy of folding the stroller after boarding is a great change. One I am glad to see.

One thing I've read on this page that disturbs me is the thought that a few people have that a child is safer strapped in the stroller on a bus than they are in a lap. In my opinion, this is simply not true. A child in a stroller is completely unprotected and at the mercy of their surroundings. I've seen people trip over stroller wheels and send them flying up into the fare box area, I've seen strollers tip over on curves, I've seen parents completely ignore their child in a stroller while the talk on the cell phone and the child nearly fall out of it trying to get the parent's attention. A child/baby in a lap is much safer, again, in my opinion.

I heard a bus driver say to a parent who was mouthing off about having to fold up her stroller something like, "it isn't the stroller that's at issue, darling, it's your child that I'd like to protect". That was a beautiful way to get the policy across, I thought.

Older Mama

Public transit should be accessible for families with children and their groceries. I remember those days and I eventually gave up hauling baby, groceries and stroller around- it was just too exhausting. As far as buying lots of products to allow for a car free lifestyle-I rode the bus because I couldn't AFFORD a car and I certainly didn't have the spare money to invest in a bike trailer or pay the cost of a flex-car.

Older Mama

Public transit should be accessible for families with children and their groceries. I remember those days and I eventually gave up hauling baby, groceries and stroller around- it was just too exhausting. As far as buying lots of products to allow for a car free lifestyle-I rode the bus because I couldn't AFFORD a car and I certainly didn't have the spare money to invest in a bike trailer or pay the cost of a flex-car.

Older Mama

Public transit should be accessible for families with children and their groceries. I remember those days and I eventually gave up hauling baby, groceries and stroller around- it was just too exhausting. As far as buying lots of products to allow for a car free lifestyle-I rode the bus because I couldn't AFFORD a car and I certainly didn't have the spare money to invest in a bike trailer or pay the cost of a flex-car.

marissa

I have been Trimet dependent since February '08 and just don't take the bus when I have a bunch of stuff + stroller. Luckily MAX lands me 1/2 a block from Freddies and departs from about 2 blocks from my apartment so if I have a lot of shopping, I just ride the one stop or if it's nice out, I walk the whole way. I usually have my stroller folded and my son (just turned 3) holding my hand ahead of time if we're going to take a bus. We use a bigger umbrella style stroller (like this: http://chiccousa.com/Images/gear/strollers/ct06-capri/tangerine.jpg ). I also use Zipcar or Safeway.com for delivery if I need a bunch of groceries. And since I don't have a lot of money to spare, I'm not usually loaded down with any other kinds of shopping bags. I can generally fit any other shopping stuff in my backpack.

I personally don't mind folding the stroller on the bus because I'd rather have my son in the seat next to me or on my lap if there were a sudden stop or, God forbid, an accident. A stroller could just go flying and I'd die if my child were to get hurt because I didn't want to follow the rules.

One side note/gripe I have is that the drivers don't ask the street people with strollers full of cans and personal belongings to unload and fold their strollers/rolling carts. We actually had a homeless lady with a stroller full of crap ask for our seats after the folks on the other side of the bus had already got up and moved for her. And the driver said nothing. I've dealt with this particular homeless [expletive] in the past when I worked at Starbucks Downtown and I know she's a real pain in the rear so we just got up and moved. She was actually threatening to sit on my son in action rather than politely asking. Ugh...

My advice is to utilize the internet and delivery services when possible and follow the rules the Trimet has set. They are for safety. And if you can think of solutions to the problems, suggest them!

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