I love babies just as much as the next person, but I despise the privileged attitude of folks with baby strollers on public transportation.
I’ll give up my seat in a heartbeat to a wheelchair user, someone with a walker, a senior or someone who is pregnant. I’ll even gladly give up my seat to a child, but I won’t give up my seat to someone with a baby stroller unless they also have mobility issues, disabilities or are seniors, themselves. Why?
I’m a person with mobility issues, myself. Sometimes I use my chair, but mostly I hobble about on my cane. It’s very painful to walk, so when I use the bus or light rail here in Denver, I sit in the priority seats for folks with disabilities and seniors.
Unfortunately, many people with baby strollers who use public transit feel entitled to use the priority seating, not bothering to collapse their strollers. Some even have the nerve to expect a senior or person in a wheelchair to give up their seat to them, giving them baleful looks and muttering under their breath when, of course, they don’t. After all, it’s priority seating for a very good reason – people in wheelchairs have no other option for a seat, and it can be downright dangerous for someone with mobility impairments or frail seniors to try to get pass the priority seats. I know – I’ve fallen many times going to another spot in the bus after giving up my seat to someone!
Our transit authority, RTD, does allow people to stow strollers in the wheelchair securement area, but they must collapse them if the child is not in the stroller. Further, if a person with a disability or senior boards the bus, they must collapse the stroller and move toward the back of the bus. Period.
There are signs on practically every bus warning passengers with strollers that they must be prepared to collapse them on crowded buses or if a senior or disabled person boards. These signs are in English and Spanish. Also, there are pamphlets further detailing the rules, including size restrictions and alternatives to strollers.
With all this in place, you’d think folks would know better, but NO—they prefer to argue with the bus driver, rather than be considerate of their fellow passengers. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve witnessed or been subjected to their rude, privileged attitude, I wouldn’t need a job. Really, it’s that bad!
Therefore, I’ve taken a strong stance – some may call it a nasty attitude – that I will not risk injury by giving up my seat for someone with a stroller (unless they fall into the aforementioned situations), nor will I succumb to guilt tripping about my perceived rudeness or dislike of babies.
As a disability rights activist, I’ve put myself and my life on the line, many times even getting arrested fighting for the right of folks with disabilities to ride the bus. Once we’ve paid our fare, we have the same right as you to ride the bus – not maybe, not sometimes, not because you don’t like, or want us on the bus – it’s the law. Oh, and if you feel special, privileged and offended enough by the stance I’ve taken to want to have the police called – be my guest – I’ll even give you the number.
So, if you want to avoid hassles with me about strollers, follow the rules—collapse them, especially when the bus is crowded, be prepared to move when a senior or disabled passenger boards, and in the name of decency, don’t ask us to move for you!
Now, let’s talk about your cute little baby!