TTC boss Byford tackles stroller debate

TTC boss Andy Byford said there are no plans to charge riders extra for bringing strollers aboard surface vehicles.

Responds to woman's complaint about crowding on buses

There are no plans to charge transit riders extra for bringing strollers onto surface vehicles, TTC CEO Andy Byford said Tuesday, despite one woman’s demand that large strollers should be banned from transit buses.

Elsa la Rosa appeared before a TTC meeting on Monday saying large strollers are causing problems for passengers on a system suffering from crowding problems.

"With ridership breaking records and bursting at the seams, it’s very difficult when you see six baby-strollers on a bus," she said.

"The drivers are put in a very bad position. If [a passenger with] a baby stroller wants to get off, everybody has to get off the bus and get back on the bus again. It’s like something out of a comedy act."

La Rosa suggested one solution could be charging an extra fare to carry on a stroller. She also suggested the TTC place a limit on the number of strollers allowed on buses.

In Durham Region, transit policy restricts the size of strollers and parents must go to the back of the bus if the wheelchair spot is taken.

In Brampton, large strollers must be folded.

TTC CEO refuses to charge for strollers

Byford appeared on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning Tuesday and admitted strollers have been a problem on surface vehicles during busy periods.

"It is an issue that has come up from time to time but let me be clear: we’ve got absolutely no plans to charge for strollers," said Byford. "At the end of the day, parents often have no choice but to use the TTC and we encourage them to use the TTC."

Byford said drivers have the option of asking riders with strollers and other large items to wait for another bus or streetcar in cases of extreme crowding.

"If a bus is so full that you cannot safely get on another stroller we may, on very rare occasions, have to say to someone, 'would you mind just waiting?'" said Byford.

"I think it’s about getting that sensible balance between maintaining safety — so that people can literally get through a vehicle — but equally respecting the fact that everybody is entitled to use the system and we want them to do that."

Byford said the TTC expects to add 27 new articulated buses to its fleet later this year, which he said would ease crowding. Those are part of a larger order that will bring 150 of the larger buses into service in the next few years.

In the meantime, Byford said the TTC will examine the issue.