Argument over Muni’s Stroller Policy

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Photo by Davity Dave

Some Muni operators are still not familiar with the new policy allowing children in open strollers on Muni. Muni rider MJ is a babysitter who saw an operator misstate this policy last week.

I wanted to share a story of what happened last Monday on the 48 Quintara. Since the new stroller policy which allows open strollers just went into effect on March 1, it seems to me that some simple signage would be very helpful as everyone gets used to the new stroller policy.

At about 10:20 am on Monday, a woman got on the 48 Quintara at 24th and Castro. She was carrying a toddler seated in an unfolded stroller. It sounded like the bus driver asked her to fold up and lock the stroller. She folded it up and had it standing next to them by their seat.

As the bus was pulling away, the driver and the woman exchanged some heated words and then the driver stopped the bus one block later at Noe and 24th and said she would not move the bus. At one point in their argument, the woman said, “I AM allowed to bring this stroller on the bus!”

I was at the back of the bus and there were no more than 10 passengers on the bus. From my vantage point, I couldn’t hear if the driver was objecting to where they were seated (towards the front, but not in the first 3 seats designated for seniors and people with disabilities), how the stroller was placed after it was folded, or the fact that the stroller was on the bus at all.

After some more arguing with the woman, the driver then picked up the phone and said, “I am calling headquarters, I don’t want a lawsuit on my hands!” At that point, we had been sitting at the bus stop for about five uncomfortable minutes and another passenger tried to mediate. Eventually, the woman took the stroller and toddler off the bus. The bus driver said to the passengers, “Sorry, but I am just doing my job!” and she started driving again.

As a Noe Valley resident and a babysitter, I am on Muni regularly with young children. Kids are probably Muni’s biggest advocates! They don’t care about being on time or crowded buses, they just want to see the wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round! I want my little urban charges to say, “I have been taking Muni since I was 3!” not, “I got kicked off the bus today!”

Hard to say what exactly exchanged between the driver and the passenger with the stroller, but as a reminder, children in strollers are allowed on Muni as of March 2013. Have you experienced any issues taking your stroller on the bus? Let us know.

3 comments

  • derp

    sounds like the driver was being a bit over-zealous, especially since it sounds like the rider did fold up their stroller.

    however, i do take issue with the sentence: “Kids are probably Muni’s biggest advocates!”

    um, no. they are not. perhaps the younger kids that are directly supervised by their caretakers, but a majority of kids riding Muni generally have little to no supervision. And at that point- in terms of physical damage done and disrespect for other passengers boundaries- kids are second only to the homeless/mentally ill that use muni as rolling shelters, and taggers that destroy bus interiors. On top of that, many don’t pay to ride.

    am i generalizing a bit? sure, not all kids are disrespectful heathens. but i’ve seen enough over 15 years of riding muni to know that groups of poorly supervised kids on muni are usually loud and destructive.

  • Mike

    derp: um, yes. May I suggest considering the context here? The story is about stroller policy, wheels going round and round, etc. Pretty clearly not talking about teenage taggers. The next time a group of stroller-bound disrespectful heathens ruins your ride, maybe that’s the appropriate time for your rant.

    • derp

      yeah, fine. i went a slightly out of context. good for you.

      my point still stands: kids are NOT muni’s biggest advocates. no matter how you spin it.

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