Green Commuting Often Makes Me See Red…

*warning : this post is the result of raging hormones and lack of caffeine and sleep; it’s filled with general ranting and whining*
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

 
I typically don’t mind taking transit.

 

I get to drink my coffee, read my book or just tune out the world and listen to some tunes on the way to and from work. I don’t have to deal with road rage, finding parking or traffic (for the most part). My commute to work on transit is actually faster than if I were to drive – without even factoring in morning rush hour, which I would then have to add another twenty minutes, at least!

However, it’s all not sunshine and lollipops on transit sometimes.

 

This morning I was lucky enough to play sardines in the skytrain-turned-tin-can. There was no elbow room… Yet, the gentleman who was basically right up in my face because of lack of space, decided he was going to read his newspaper. The teenager to my other side was body-hugging the pole next to me, even though four other people were holding onto it, invading his personal space while he leaned against it so that he could hold his skateboard in one hand and play on his phone with the other, while wearing a backpack and hitting the elderly woman behind him a couple times. There was a larger man, likely in his late-twenties, early-thirties who decided he was too cool to hold the pole and decided to skytrain surf instead. He did pretty well for the majority of the trip. Until our skytrain stopped suddenly and he flung forward, taking down two other passengers.

I stood there counting the stops until mine. And silently cursing myself for leaving ten minutes early – usually my commute isn’t so early and I can sometimes even get a seat! Not the case today, though. And being 5 months pregnant and fighting a nasty sore throat, today is the day I would have LOVED to sit and relax, water bottle in hand to help my throat.

I arrived at work, annoyed and exhausted from my commute and not looking forward to my trip to the drop-in with the little one I nanny. I even considered just hanging out at a local park for the morning instead, but a couple hours into my shift, I decided we would venture out to said-drop-in so that she could socialize and I could grab a coffee after.

 

Well, this trip didn’t go any better! The bus is usually decently crowded but I’ve never had a problem getting on the bus, aside from having to watch for toes while I scoot the stroller into the designated spot. Elderly people, wheelchairs/scooters and those with mobility issues get priority, I’ve learned this many times. And I have come to accept it. However, when I tried to board the bus, which was 10 minutes late by the way, there was one lady who was sitting on a seat that folds up for the stroller. Right beside her, literally, was an empty seat. I pushed the stroller onto the bus and thought that there would be no problem getting a spot. I was wrong. She refused to move. I used my friendliest voice and a smile and said “Excuse me, could I get you to shift over one spot so I can fold up this seat for the stroller?” And she responded with a “No. I was here first.” I think everyone heard her response because suddenly the bus got very quiet. Or maybe it just seemed that way. The bus driver called back to us “If there’s no room, you’ll need to wait for the next bus” The lady blatantly stared at me, I swear egging me on, and informed me that she had a mobility issue and she had priority on the bus. I clenched my teeth and informed her that if she could move the whole 12 inches to the left then I could fit on and the bus could get moving. This woman clearly didn’t care that she was dealing with the raging hormones of a pregnant woman who is sick, because she smiled at me and didn’t flinch or make an attempt to move. Before I ended up making headlines for tackling some woman (who I was starting to suspect the only mobility issue she had was the stick up her butt!) I decided to back my stroller off the bus and let them continue on their way. The bus driver shot me an apologetic look and thanked me for waiting for the next bus.

“Strollers may use this area [accessible areas]; however, when demand dictates, the stroller must give way to people with mobility devices, including walkers. In this case, children in strollers should be removed and the strollers collapsed if possible.”

-Translink

 

We ended up walking the half hour to attend the drop in and caught the bus back home, uneventfully, afterwards.

Still seething from our adventure this morning, I looked online and found video that Translink (our transit company) has come out with regarding strollers on the bus.

My favourite part of the video is when the woman takes out her infant, the random stranger folds up her stroller and stores it for her where the seat is flipped up and she sits on the seat beside there. She’s taking up two seats – one for the stroller and one for herself. The stroller would fit with two seats folded up and she could leave her baby in the stroller instead. Plus, I think she may have lost her diaper bag somewhere because I didn’t see her juggling it, along with her newborn, while trying to fold up her stroller as the bus pulls away because it can’t wait that long at a bus stop. *sigh* Translink, I think you need to redo this video to show a better reality of what it’s like on transit with children – with or without a stroller! (Also, you know where the mom pushes the stroller onto the bus and faces the stroller sideways? Yeah, that’s not allowed – Bus drivers will make you put the stroller forward facing or rear facing unless baby is out of the stroller, for safety reasons. Way to go, Translink. Good video!)

 

I’m all for taking transit. But with the world and people the way they are today, I’m debating if going green is really worth it. I’ve had so many issues with our transit system and the people that use it. At least in your car you won’t have someone cutting their toe nails on the seat beside you, with random clippings hitting you in the face – or at least, you shouldn’t have someone doing that! (Yes – that’s happened to me! YUCK!)

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