Baby strollers on buses giving mothers grief?
Raising a child is certainly no easy task and it seems like the Singapore public transport system is not making it any easier. Buses currently have a rule which requires strollers and prams to be folded up aboard buses but this is fast becoming a major source of annoyance for many parents. Read on to find out more!
A pet peeve among many mothers is the bus rule which mandates that passengers should fold up their strollers while travelling on the bus. For those of you not in the know, there are rules in place by both public bus operators, SBS transit and SMRT, which requires strollers and prams to be folded up aboard the bus due to safety concerns. In order to gain a deeper insight into this issue, we posted a poll on our Facebook page asking for feedback and our readers definitely did not disappoint. The poll itself has currently attracted 20 comments and generated a healthy debate among our readers as they weigh in with their length opinions on both sides of this issue.
Why the rule needs to be abolished
Judging from the response, the bus rule which requires strollers and prams to be folded has become a real source of annoyance for many of our respondents. Candy Seah states, ‘Seriously it’s very hard to carry a stroller to take bus & MRT…It’s very troublesome & the people in the bus or train are not considerate at all.‘
Many of our other respondents also agreed with Candy’s comment agreeing that the whole ordeal of boarding a bus with a stroller has become a real hassle. As June Lim explains,’ When I’m alone with 2 young kids, carrying lots of barang (stuff), have to carry a stroller up the bus, make sure the kids get up safely too, tap our cards, put down the stuff, and then fold up the stroller… Very troublesome.‘
While this may seem like a trivial issue to some people, having to deal with this annoying issue on a daily basis is definitely reason enough to ruffle a few feathers. The thought of having to juggle a heavy stroller full of baby necessities and groceries as well as a screaming baby on board a crowded and moving bus full of disapproving passengers is certainly reason enough to justify many of these parent’s complaints.
Bus drivers with terrible attitudes
Many of the respondents also expressed disapproval of the unhelpful attitudes of the bus drivers. Denise Pang provided a rather interesting anecdote on how a bus driver refused to help her with boarding the bus and folding up her stroller despite the fact that she had just recovered recently from an operation. She was not the only one who had to deal with such situations as there were many other mothers who testified that they too had to endure unhelpful bus drivers when trying to board a bus with a stroller.
On the other side of the fence
However, there are always two sides to a story and the public bus operators definitely did not implement the rules just to annoy mothers. SBS Transit reasons that “opened prams can pose as safety hazards to both the child within and fellow passengers around as they can be thrown forward” while SMRT states that strollers and prams need to be folded so that “they do not block the bus aisle”. Some of our respondents also agreed with the bus rule.
Hemawathy Ratha Krishnan states, ‘I find it reasonable to have the stroller folded on board as it gives inconvenience to others if it’s not done so.’ Aloysius J.B Cruz also agrees citing that he always folds up the stroller when boarding a bus out of consideration for the other passengers.
As seen from above, this debate does not seem to be residing any time soon as both sides are presenting very strong arguments for their cases. On one side, distressed parents have to deal with the daily hassle of the arduous task of folding up their stroller on board a bus. On the other side, not folding up strollers on the bus would pose a safety hazard and inconvenience the other passengers. A solution definitely needs to be found soon and some of our respondents provided some pretty good alternatives.
One probable solution would be to use a baby sling instead. Di Bustamante suggests ‘wearing your baby in a sling instead’ as it is ‘better for the baby and easier on the mum.’ Another solution which seems to have received widespread support is to make Singapore buses more family friendly with several respondents citing overseas examples which Singapore buses should model on.
Priscilla Tew shared that ‘In Germany, the buses are very stroller-friendly. One can board the bus with a stroller and there’s even an empty space for strollers.’ Wydiariny Shaharudin’s comment in particular, which is by far the most popular comment so far garnering a staggering total of 16 Facebook likes so far seems to have hit the nail on the head. She states, ‘I suppose SG public transportations aren’t stroller friendly. Unlike in Gold Coast Australia, their public buses catered to families with huge strollers and bus drivers actually waited patiently for these families to settle in after boarding the bus. As an example, if our local transport system are beginning to be handicapped-friendly for those on wheelchairs etc, can’t we work towards family-stroller-friendly too?’
Our readers have definitely raised up fair points and making Singapore buses more stroller-friendly certainly seems like a step in the right direction. However, as Singapore becomes increasingly overcrowded, dedicating space on the buses just to accommodate strollers might be a tad difficult since there is barely any space left in buses nowadays. Buses in Australia would be able to cater to strollers since the transportation system in Australia is definitely nowhere near as crowded as Singapore. However, it is still a good suggestion and one that is not entirely impossible to implement as long as the transport system is improved to be able to deal with Singapore’s growing population. In the meantime, alternative solutions to this pesky issue could be to use a baby sling or to adopt other methods of transportation.