Monday, August 4, 2008

"No Seats" on the F Train Commuting with Children ?

Reading the blogs and news articles today I saw the posts about the MTA's planned pilot program to put into service subway cars with folding seats but to lock those seats in the up position during rush hours to create more space for additional riders.

My very first thoughts were for the safety of my children, ages 4 and 6, as they commute to public school in Manhattan from Roosevelt Island. If it was not for the generousity of strangers giving my 4 year old a seat I swear she may have been crushed in some of the subway cars we have had to enter so she would not be late to school. It this pilot program is put into actual practice we will be leaving even earlier and /or letting more trains go by as it would not be worth subjecting a child to such craziness day after day.

Generally even if she stands the passengers are cognizant of a child's presence and give them space but sometimes this is not the case.

I can understand what the MTA is trying to determine by such a program but for the sake of small children, pregnant women, the elderly and the infirmed this is simply not a good idea.


  1. It's hard enough to use the subway system with children - no elevators at most subway stops, you're supposed to fold your stroller (try that with two kids under the age of 3) and commuter crushes to even get on the trains. I do understand the idea behind what the MTA is trying to do - jam more folk in on trains but I don't think this is the solution.

  2. The MTA cannot safely put more trains on the F tracks either. So, what is the MTA supposed to do?

    I've been commuting with my children using the subway ever since preschool, i.e. we started at the age of 3 (w/o stroller). For some reason it was never really as bad as some people make it sound like. Sure, at times we had to let a few trains pass by but there is always one that arrives relatively empty.

    Getting a seat has never been a real problem either because most folks in the very first car get out at the next stop and most everybody else at Rockefeller Center.

  3. Children should be giving up seats to adults, not the other way around.

    If your stroller is your problem, get a smaller stroller and/or carry your child. There is no reason to use a stroller that dwarfs an SUV.

  4. To anonymous poster above with SUV stroller comment -

    When you are 9 months pregnant with a child under the age of 2, you try folding a stroller, holding a child and getting on a train. As an adult I get crushed on the train a lot of times - imagine as a child of 6 how that would feel. The SUV type strollers are very useful on the crappy NYC streets truthfully. And also shielding your child from people cross-checking you. But then again, you probably think we breeders should all move to the burbs.

  5. To anonymous poster above:

    Is an SUV stroller "useful"? Yes, I'll grant you that. Is it necessary? No. Get a smaller stroller that can be folded, get a diaper bag, and get a carrier for your child. Have some consideration for your fellow subway riders.

  6. To the 4:59pm poster: "Children should be giving up seats to adults, not the other way around." I agree with you if this is about teenagers but kids in preschool and early elementary school age are not able to stand and hold on safely in a moving subway.

    The 10:11am posting sounds like somebody who does not have small children and is just p!ssed that he has to be considerate to others. I am very sure he is one of the able bodied folks that cut into the elevator, too.

  7. When I was 4 years old, I went to a nursery school program for a few hours a day. Four-year-olds don't belong on the subway going to public school.

  8. "Four-year-olds don't belong on the subway going to public school."

    If I had a choice (i.e. at least one parent would stay at home AND the neighborhood nursery school is good enough) I would not commute with my 4yo to preschool. Unfortunately, we both work, do not want to pay a nanny or some such to do pick up and/or drop off, and therefore send our children to the preschool that's closer to where we work.

    Speaking of public schools. If the zoned school would be decent enough or there was a yellow school bus picking up kids from RI to all kinds of schools in Manhattan I would not let my children commute to public school. Unfortunately, PS 217 is not really good and historically there has not been busing because of mile restrictions. This is supposed to get better for next school year, though.