To echo the insightful words of rocker Alice Cooper, school’s out for summer.
And that means more small children — not to mention toddlers and babies — being carted around the city en route to daycamps, daycare, beach outings and more.
Many will take the bus or SkyTrain with their parents or caregivers to get around. But is Vancouver’s transit culture ready for them?
Metro reader Cheryl Murray contacted me recently to declare that no, it is not. The Vancouver resident was travelling home from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal this past Victoria Day holiday when she discovered the sorry state of transit etiquette in the Lower Mainland.
While en route, she noticed that able-bodied individuals were occupying all of the courtesy seats on the packed bus she was riding.
Not long after, a couple boarded the vehicle with baby in stroller.
And surprise, surprise, not one of the courtesy seat occupiers offered their allotment of blue vinyl bench to the mother and child — which left Murray furious.
“I was appalled no one was getting up to give up their seats and shocked when the driver … reprimanded the woman with the stroller for blocking the aisle,” she says.
Not long after, according to Murray, a toddler boarded the bus with his parent, as well as an elderly woman. And once again, says Murray, the me-first courtesy seat squatters were not about to get up for the very old or the very young.
All of this has Murray asking some more-than-fair questions about how small kids and stroller-pushing moms are going to get a fair shake on transit, given increasingly crowded conditions.
According to Coast Mountain Bus Company spokesperson Derek Zabel, children in strollers are a seating priority on buses after wheelchair users, seniors and the disabled. He also suggests that able-bodied riders offer their seats to small kids who are forced to stand.
But bus riders like Murray are worried that the word is not getting out.
“With the economy as it is, and with the pressure to be green increasing, and also with the Olympics coming, we will have more people travelling on the buses and many who are unaware of our social rules,” she said.
“If the driver is unable, or unwilling to enforce the rules, then perhaps there should be someone on board who can.”
In other words, bring on the bus etiquette bouncers.
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