Everyone calm down immediately!
At a recent public forum, a Toronto woman complained about the amount of space taken up by strollers on TTC vehicles. A few non-committal responses from officials later, and local media became frenzied in its attempt to recast this mole-hill as a mountain. Unfortunately, media outlets did so nearly unanimously, leaving it to saner voices to explain what all the fuss is about. The TTC is crowded. A woman complained. The TTC is not about to charge a fee for strollers.
The TTC beat its own previous high for total number of passenger trips last year. The number of subway routes has of course not increased, and streetcars are slinking around Queen and Spadina trying to stay out of the limelight for a couple more years, so while capacity has been increased in recent years, crowding has increased as much or more. On the National, ‘Spacing Magazine’ writer Shawn Micallef pointed out that the complaint is part of the normal blame game that goes along with civic growing pains.
There is not a motion before council concerning strollers; either limiting the number per vehicle or assigning an extra fee. There is not a staff recommendation being considered by the TTC board of directors, and there is not a strong advocate for this kind of change anywhere amongst the leadership of either the city or the Transportation Commission. There is study being done, but it is not considered urgent, and it will be some time before it is completed and its recommendations known. Parents do not need to worry about impending change of this kind; however we might take this opportunity to consider the initial complaint.
Even most parents would agree that they have experienced or at least heard of transit rides which were made even more difficult and crowded than they would otherwise have been by strollers. The obvious solution is to make more space available by increasing transit capacity, however the inevitable increase may be a while in coming, and overcrowding may well increase in the interim. If we as parents do our part to alleviate crowding by bringing the little stroller, folding it up, and even ‘waiting for the next one’ when possible, then we can surely prevail upon the TTC and our fellow riders to not restrict access.