Senior and disabled transit riders appear to have lost a bid to win more ground at the front of the bus from stroller-pushing parents.

On Wednesday, the city's transit committee decided not to vote on recommendations brought forward by advisory groups representing seniors and people with disabilities on managing the priority seating at the front of the bus. Instead, the committee chose to send an earlier staff recommendation on its transit stroller policy to city council.

Under that policy, people with young children in strollers are allowed to use the priority seating area reserved for people who have difficulty standing, including people in wheelchairs and scooters, people on crutches, seniors and pregnant women. However, drivers can ask parents to collapse their strollers and give up their seat to people in wheelchairs and seniors.

Council is scheduled to vote on Feb. 24 on that policy, which is in line with current practice.

Seniors and people with disabilities had argued the staff recommendation wasn't tough enough. They wanted:

  • Wheelchair users, people with disabilities and seniors to be officially given higher priority than parents with strollers for seats at the front of the bus.
  • Strict limits on the size of strollers allowed on buses.
  • Parents to be "strongly encouraged" fold their strollers as a "default policy."

"You can fold up your stroller. I cannot fold up my chair," said Daniel Oickle, an OC Transpo passenger who uses a wheelchair, during his presentation to the transit committee.

But some parents had expressed concern that proposed rules would limit their ability to get around the city.

"I feel there's discrimination against one group of people and that this could become a human rights issue if you're not careful," said Daiva Greenridge, a local resident who often uses the transit system with her young daughter.