Yesterday, Alyse Nelson over at Sightline had a great post about how public transit systems in the US and abroad accommodate (or don’t) parents with strollers. While I have about zero experience with parenting, I have actually though about this a fair deal since one of my best friends while living in Stockholm was preparing to have a kid and stroller shopping, which are also called “prams” especially the old and large styles, became a running joke of ours. The sight of parents pushing huge prams around European cities, especially northern European cities is so utterly normal you don’t even think twice about it. In some ways the social norm of using large, unfoldable strollers in addition to good accommodations of transit, especially buses, make transit use easier than driving for parents with strollers, a dynamic which is reversed here.
An excerpt of Alyse’s piece below the jump:
I recall vividly how embarrassed I felt the first time I waited for the bus with my baby boy—he bundled up in his stroller and me expecting the bus driver to welcome me aboard, lowering the wheelchair lift so we could roll on in style. In the stores and sidewalks of my neighborhood, people smiled as we ran errands. They made way for us—slowing so we could pass on a congested sidewalk or holding doors open while we rolled into a shop. Then the bus arrived. Instead of lowering the lift, the driver told me to fold Orion’s stroller. My cheeks burned red as I hastily unpacked—diaper bag, toys, blanket, and groceries—while holding onto my squirming bundle of joy. Then, with one hand, I attempted to fold the stroller and carry the load aboard, knowing that everyone was watching me, passengers cursing under their breaths and the driver reviewing his timetable.
My bus-riding fiascos led to an obsession with strollers: I was known to buy and sell them on Craigslist several times a month. My goal was to find that perfect stroller that I could really fold with one hand. I had a closet full of strollers, some undergoing testing and others, having failed, pending Craigslist pickup. It took seven strollers, but I found one that worked—the Britax Preview(pictured above).
It wasn’t until my young family spent six months in Copenhagen, however, that I thought much about King County Metro’s stroller-folding rules.
Copenhageners cart babies in enormous strollers (pictured above and below), rolling cribs that dwarf our umbrella stroller and do not fold at all.
And guess what? They are welcome aboard Copenhagen’s public transit, unfolded and unemptied.