Until our children’s little turkey legs are capable of keeping up, we are beholden to strollers. We push them for years.

But you know whose wheels I’ve been pushing for longer? Public transit in Toronto. I’ve been taking it my whole life and as a family without a car (we have bikes instead), I still ride it, despite how overcrowded and unreliable it can be.

I persist mainly because public transit, along with walkability and bike-ability, is at the core of my ideals for how a city should function.

Today, the beleaguered Toronto Transit Commission's (TTC) latest controversy revolved around strollers. It began with a single complaint by Elsa La Rosa, 61-year-old Toronto resident, who presented her problem with strollers at a TTC board meeting on Monday.

“With ridership breaking records and bursting at the seams, it’s very difficult when you see six baby-strollers on a bus,” La Rosa says in this story by the CBC.

I have no idea what bus La Rosa is taking but six baby strollers on a single bus is a flash mob playdate if you ask me. It’s also, in my experience, an exaggeration. I’ve taken Tokki all over Toronto by transit and I’ve never seen more than one or maybe two other strollers on at the same time.

So I took a mic out to Dundas Station to ask passersby for their opinion on the matter.

Not a single person expressed ire over strollers. A few of them thought placing a limit to two per bus (as they do in London, England) could be a decent idea. But after an hour of speaking to strangers, I didn’t meet a single crankypants who, like La Rosa, is regularly inconvenienced by sprawling sextets of strollers.

My main problem with La Rosa’s half-baked complaint about strollers (and worse, her suggestion to charge a fee per stroller which was swiftly nixed by TTC CEO Andy Byford) is that she has rightly identified the problem, which is an overtaxed service, but tacked on her misguided solution (regulating strollers).

We need better transit service to transport a bustling city filled with parents (yes, some with strollers), as well as people in wheelchairs, people on crutches and canes, people with shopping buggies or luggage or pet carriers or student backpacks as well as smelly people and yelly people. In other words: the public.

More frequent service would alleviate the pile-up of these mysterious roving bands of strollers I have yet to witness. A designated space for strollers or wheelchairs on the bus would also help (as I experienced on the bus in Paris). But mainly, people just need to turn their music down in their headphones, look around once in a while and be aware. Shuffle to the back, help a mom off the bus with her stroller, give the pregnant lady or elderly man a seat. In other words, be decent. Being crushed like sardines on the bus isn’t pleasant but it’s better if people can at least acknowledge each other’s humanity.

And heaven forbid that Elsa La Rosa ever need a wheelchair one day because I would want her to be allowed on, even if six other wheelchairs were already on the bus.

Read all of Hannah Sung's posts here.

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