I’m not a mother.
I guess that’s why I was so hesitant to write about this whole “Should we charge people with strollers more for riding the TTC” bruhaha that has been going for a few days now.
I worried not having kids and not ever having travelled on the TTC with a stroller in rush hour, would discount my opinion. I worried I would be judged. I worried what others would think.
But here’s the thing: It’s not about strollers on the transit system during rush hour or any other time, it’s about people being decent to other people. Put simply: It’s not the stroller blocking your way, it’s the person who doesn’t move it or apologize that’s the problem.
This is not a problem that’s unique to strollers, either. There are countless amounts of rude people on the transit system (especially at rush hour). Some of my favourites include:
- Al the Aisle Hog, who blocks the aisle near the front of the bus or streetcar even though the bus is nearly empty and there are seats available, making it impossible to get on or off;
- Bob the Back Door Blocker, who refuse to get off the bus or subway car, even for that millisecond so you can get off;
- Emily the Empty Seat Ignorer, instead of sitting in the empty seat, she blocks the aisle, making it a pain to try and navigate around, especially on a bus, streetcar or subway car that’s pretty full;
- Suzy the Seat Hogger, who sits on the outside of a two-person seat and refuses to move to let you in to the inside seat or out from it.
As you can see, none of these are strollers, or even things. I don’t begrudge things, I begrudge the people with those things.
Heck, I travel to and from work with my gym bag, often times with a yoga mat, too. Should I be charged extra? I work really hard at keeping all my bags to myself. I take them off when I enter a vehicle. If I can tuck them under the seat I’m sitting in, all the better. (Nothing is worse than being hit in the face by someone’s backpack — repeatedly, a feeling I know all to well.)
So let’s stop talking about strollers. Let’s stop making this about parent vs. non-parent. Those who can afford more than the Red Rocket vs. those who can’t.
Instead, let’s start making it about common decency. About thinking of others when we’re travelling on the TTC. About saying please and thank you. About saying excuse me, instead of shoving your way through a crowd trying to get off the same train as you.
We may not be able to change the fact that the TTC is overcrowded and underfunded, but we can change the way we treat each other on it.
Photo by Michael Newman on Flickr.