Sunday, February 23, 2014

Taking Public Bus: Managing the Stroller and Kids

I had shared this on my Facebook page before, I thought that it might be good to share it here.  I have to rely on public transport when I want to bring the family out, as the cost of owning a car is too prohibitive for my family.  Going to places near MRT station would be perfect, as there are usually lifts and I can push my "limousine" stroller (that can fit all 3 of them) in.  They get to enjoy the ride and bond, while I also get to reach my intended destination faster.  The problem arises only when the places I go, can only be reached by bus, or taxi.  It would still be bus over taxi, just so to save on the taxi fares.

If you are have kids, I believe that there would be times when the sight of your baby sleeping peacefully in the stroller is all you wished for.  What happened to us one day while we were waiting happily for the bus home after a long day of out with the 3 now-sleeping kids and a pregnant wife, was that we got a bus captain who opened the bus door and shouted out, "Ooi, cannot board the bus, have to fold your stroller and carry your kids up"!  And all we wanted to do was to bring the kids home, without any incident.

I tried explaining to the captain that it's gonna be a little difficult, that the kids might throw a tantrum if I wake them up, that there are a lot of stuff and it's only gonna be a few stops etc.  But it was still a strict no no as instructed by the bus company.  So what to do?  I have to start the arduous task of getting my pregnant wife on board, passing the 3 kids to her one by one, taking out ALL the items hanging on the stroller (parents would know how much stuff one needs brings out), folding the jumbo stroller and then bringing all these on board before finally having to find a place for everything.  I reckoned I must have made at least 5 trips up and down the bus, while trying hard not to make eye contact with fellow commuters.  The bus captain was helpful enough, sitting there and staring at my stuff on the pavement lest they get stolen.  I could have saved everyone 5mins of their time if we were just allowed on board.  *rolleyes* 

So to educate all parents, please note that SBS Transit doesn't allow an opened stroller on board, stating that the stroller can be thrown about, hurting other passengers and causing injuries to the child (see pamphlet)  Holding on to our 3 kiddos without any free hands, it does make me wonder in the event of an emergency braking situation, where would all my belongings and my folded stroller fly to anyway?  Shopping trolleys are allowed, no?  These are possible projectiles too!  

I am not trying to test the authorities but I am sure there must be better solutions (lol, maybe even preferential rates for COE for big families for example?).  The government is encouraging Singaporeans to have more kids and I am sure there would be more families with 2 or more kids in future.  But owning a car is not within the reach of everyone and these rules are really not helping.  Meanwhile, I guess I just have to be thick-skinned when doing commute by bus with the kiddos. 

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