Seven transit peeves from a new parent in Vancouver

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      We all know that taking public transit around Metro Vancouver can easily turn into a bit of a gong show, especially during the morning rush. That’s partly due to our inadequate TransLink system, but mostly because of the maddening behaviour of many transit riders. However, try boarding a bus with a baby, especially with a stroller, and your frustration is likely to be lifted to new heights.

      Now, it’s not all bad. Most people aren’t assholes, and plenty of considerate folks are encountered while travelling from Point A to B. Plus, a lot of bus drivers are both kind and helpful when it comes to strollers, and most SkyTrain elevators surprisingly don’t stink of piss. But this list is about those people who make riding the bus, well, not fun for new parents like myself.

      Here’s seven things that have pissed me and my partner off while using transit in Vancouver with a stroller.

      1. Able-bodied, babyless people hogging the courtesy seats

      Sometimes the courtesy seats at the front of the bus are full of people. People who just stare idiotically at you and your stroller as you approach and then ask them politely to move. These are probably the same folks who pretend to fall asleep when an elderly person or a wheelchair user needs the accessible space. Inconsiderate types who begrudge the right of babies to access public transportation—or who just don’t have a clue.

      2. Bus riders who give parents dirty looks when their baby cries

      Babies cry. It’s not like there’s an on-off switch. My kid isn’t out to annoy you. He’s just hungry, tired, hot, cold, and/or upset that the bus has stopped moving. Imagine if you were an infant surrounded by scowling bus riders—how would you feel? Just be thankful he’s not projectile vomiting.

      3. Smokers lighting up at bus stops

      What’s with people sidling up to my infant’s stroller and proceeding to light a cigarette? There’s plenty of room down the sidewalk. Besides, City of Vancouver bylaws prohibit smoking in “enclosed or partially enclosed” bus shelters. It’s time to put up no-smoking signs, city hall.

      4. People who rush to beat parents with strollers onto the bus

      Look, we’re going have to get on eventually. And when we do, we’re just going to have to kick you out of that courtesy seat you snagged. Charging onto the bus before the stroller-pushing parent has a chance to board isn’t going to get you to your Asshole Club meeting any faster.

      5. Aisle-blockers who seem to think a stroller can magically pass through them

      The bus might be full of empty seats, but there’s often someone who insists on standing up front behind the driver. Someone who doesn’t want to move for anything, especially not a stroller. Someone who, after being asked nicely to clear out, seems to think you can just squeeze by. Sorry about your foot. Just kidding.

      6. Transit riders who think my kid’s stroller is a handrail

      Yeah, I understand you’re supposed to hold on to something while the bus is in motion or you may need to grab a handhold when you stand up from your seat. Just don’t make that something my baby’s stroller. Or you may have my partner’s wrath to deal with.

      7. Bus drivers and passengers offering unsolicited child-rearing advice

      For some reason, taking a baby on transit makes you a magnet for advice—some of it interesting, most of it plain annoying. Everyone’s got some secret recipe for ensuring your infant gets a full night’s sleep. (One driver practically made us promise we’d Google “dream feeding” before we disembarked.) Trust me, if a baby isn’t sleeping through the night, the last thing the parents want to hear is how your three-month-old sleeps 12 hours straight.

      Got anything to add to this list? Post a comment!

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      jonny .

      Oct 9, 2012 at 7:56pm

      ugh. i hate entitled parents. especially ones with gigantic strollers. if you are going to be using your stroller on public transit, get one that is a decent size. and shut your dumb kid up. a little noise is fine, but many parents do nothing with a kid throwing a fit.


      Oct 9, 2012 at 8:17pm

      Coming from child-hating, transit-is-for-the-great-unwashed San Francisco, being on Translunk with a child is utterly glorious.,Truly. You've no idea how much worse it could be.

      adam gee

      Oct 9, 2012 at 8:38pm

      jonny: please specify the difference between a gigantic stroller and one that is a decent size. and just because a kid is whining it doesnt mean said child is dumb. by that reasoning i could assume that you too, are a dumb sh_t.


      Oct 9, 2012 at 8:50pm

      The "right of babies to access public transportation"? Am I being punk'd right now?


      Oct 9, 2012 at 8:59pm

      Many of these issues are true for non-baby toting passengers as well. Along with people talking loudly on cells, using a spare seat to store their bag, crowding the rear exit, or the skeevy sort who pester the driver and ride for free. What I don't understand is the parents I see travelling with strollers or small kids during morning rush. I hear you chatting. You're not going to an appointment. You don't have to be anywhere at this hour. You're going to the Aquarium or the Park. Watch another hour of Sesame Street, let the crowds diminish, and save yourself the drama. No excuse for a lot of the conduct we all experience, but sounds like you're not exactly part of the solution. As for the smoking, deal with it. I have no faith in this tale of people essentially blowing smoke in your kid's face. I've seen mothers hassle smokers well out of the shelter. If you want your kid breathing only the finest fresh air, leave the city entirely. The exhaust fumes from city traffic are doing harm too - are you going to ask the city to go back to horses and carriages?

      Martin Dunphy

      Oct 9, 2012 at 9:38pm


      Just because you have seen "mothers hassle smokers well out of the shelter" doesn't mean that a), all parents do that, and, b), that smokers don't break the law and smoke in the shelters (I see it all the time).

      And just because the actual bus-stop sign may be a few metres away from the shelter doesn't mean that a smoker should light up next to a crowd of people standing in line waiting for a bus.

      Common sense, common courtesy, and everyone will get along fine together, smokers and nonsmokers.

      Your shat stanks too

      Oct 9, 2012 at 9:48pm

      I'm sorry, but if your oversized stroller is the only thing I have to hold on to in order to stop myself from being propelled into an old lady or worse, your baby, then I am going to hold onto it. For shorter people, some of the handrails are quite high, especially in the front. If you want other riders to cut you slack, then you'd better be willing to do the same.


      Oct 9, 2012 at 10:11pm

      Having a child is a choice. Growing old or having a physical disability is not. It is not the same thing so don't compare them. Damn entitled breeders.


      Oct 9, 2012 at 10:24pm

      I take the bus every day and I've never seen a single smoker anywhere near a stroller. Sounds a little like hyperbole coming from another hand-wringing, over-sensitive parent. But sure, let that baby breathe in that sweet downtown exhaust.

      As for the rest of the screed - yeah, people can suck on buses. The only way to deal with it is to call them on it, as in, "Can you move your bag from the empty seat?" "How about losing the two foot extension behind you that you call a backback?"

      Jerks deserve blunt, straightforward jerkiness right back at 'em. If you're expecting courtesy and sensitivity just because you're wrangling your sports utility stroller onto a crowded bus, guess again.Welcome to city living. Everyone has their problems and frustrations and nitpicks. I myself instinctively make way for strollers, but I have to admit that I'm not crazy about the put-upon, wincing-faced attitude of a lot of the parents. You're not that special.

      Be a Man

      Oct 9, 2012 at 10:26pm

      Yeah, because it's so easy to ride the bus with a baby stroller in other cities. Name one dense city in the world where it's easy to take a baby stroller onto a bus. I now live in a city in Asia in which I can't even push my stroller down the sidewalk. Do you know what I do? I shrug and make adjustments because the city I live in isn't going to bend to my life.