So we've griped a wee bit about Tri-Met before. And raved. They do a lot of great things, can't deny it. But... are they family-friendly? We're talking a lot these days about how family-friendly P-town is...or isn't. So why not hone in on one critical aspect that has a lot to do with family-friendliness, not to mention global warming, socio-economic status, and traffic, for starters. Yes, mamas, I'm talking about transportation. Rachele wrote us recently with a bus riding experience that sounds all too familiar:
I wanted to forward my email exchange with TriMet, because I am very concerned with their unwillingness to accommodate mamas (or anyone) with young children. My husband and I car share - and gas prices are high and going higher, so I wanted to stop driving and take the bus everywhere - only to find that if I have to go grocery shopping and want to take my stroller, it will be nearly impossible to do this on the bus, when it shouldn't be a big deal, in the middle of the day, to just roll the stroller onto the bus with my groceries in the basket underneath the stroller - both would fit nicely in one of those fold up seat sections (reserved for people in wheelchairs - yes- but frequently empty most bus rides.)
Up until now this hasn't been a problem because I carried our son everywhere in the ergo, but now he prefers the stroller to the ergo most days. And when I mentally look at what I have to carry in my arms- my 25 pound son, whatever bags I have, and the stroller, plus the diaper backpack (which I have to take off to sit in the seat), it seems prohibitive to even try to take the bus this Spring. Portland was voted the #1 city to have and raise a babe - shouldn't TriMet be doing more to accommodate mamas and babes with strollers? It really seems to me that they should.
Does this sound familiar? Or have you found Tri-Met-Met to be more family-friendly? Is it simply unreasonable to expect accommodation for strollers? What about other cities? Rachele wrote Tri-Met with her concerns, and they replied - but not quite to her (or our) satisfaction:
Greetings: We are planning to stop using our car this spring and ride the bus everywhere instead! I'd like some tips on riding with a baby. I plan to use a stroller, and will often have groceries or other bags. I am hoping it will be a baby friendly experience. I will best be able to manage if I can leave Kai in his stroller with the groceries in the basket underneath his stroller seat. Is this possible? Do I need to fold the stroller up after boarding? If so, how will I manage to hold a stroller, my baby, and my bags? What are the guidelines and what can you recommend? Thank you.
Tri-Met wrote - not very helpfully - to Rachele:
Dear Rachele: That is a tough one for you. Trimet's policy is that you can leave the baby in the stroller while boarding but after boarding must take the baby out of the stroller, fold the stroller and hold the baby. I am not sure what you are going to do with your groceries. You may have to have someone go with you.
Bring someone with her? Like who?? Mamas, I'm thinking about inviting some Tri-Met folks onto a bus with my kids...and stroller...and groceries. Or do you have other ideas for elevating this issue to the decision makers? Maybe a biker-mama partnership: fighting for the right to ride - together. I love partnerships. Strollers and bikes, bikes and strollers. Different yes, but both large and in the way, apparently.
Write them! One easy thing we can do is e-mail Tri-Met en masse, let them know it's not just one mama who wishes transit were a bit more family-friendly 'round here.