Transit staff are being asked to wade in on the touchy topic of baby strollers on crowded buses and streetcars after one rider took her complaint directly to TTC commissioners.
Elsa La Rosa, a 61-year-old Toronto resident, came to city hall Monday to urge the 11-person commission to consider limiting the number of strollers allowed on buses during peak hours and to impose a $2 charge on each one.
"Why don't we have guidelines on baby strollers during peak times?" Ms. La Rosa asked commissioners. When strollers can take up three standing spaces or straddle two seats, she said they should be limited to two at rush hour and three at other times on any vehicle. "It's a way of stopping confrontation on the TTC," said Ms. La Rosa, who also asked commissioners to lower the age for a senior's Metropass.
TTC chair Karen Stintz said she was not aware that strollers were an issue on transit vehicles until Ms. La Rosa made her complaint. She asked staff to look at the issue and report back on solutions. Ms. Stintz predicted that the system's new, larger streetcars and buses will remedy part of the problem.
TTC head Andy Byford said the issues of accommodating strollers comes up "quite regularly" with transit staff. "Speaking with bus operators, they do have a problem, particularly if you get a collection of very large strollers," he told reporters following Monday's meeting.
Mr. Byford dismissed the idea of charging extra for strollers and also said there are problems with imposing strict limits on their numbers, especially if it means turning away someone who is using a stroller when a bus is not crowded.
"At the end of the day, people with kids are entitled to use strollers, I have no problem with that whatsoever," he said. "What we are trying to do is get the right balance between offering excellent customer service for everyone, but equally making sure that the buses remain safe for everyone."
Mr. Byford said he expects to report back to the commission on the matter within a month or two.