MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo, MTA Bus President/NYCT SVP of Buses Frank Annicaro, and City Council Member Julie Menin on York Av. & 91st St. on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023, announcing the success of the open stroller pilot program on MTA buses. Maddie Menin, 4. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA
Open Stroller Program Will Be Expanded to At Least 1,000 Buses in All Five Boroughs
Expansion Announced Before a Ride with MTA Leaders and Council Member Julie Menin
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced a significant expansion of the citywide open stroller pilot program to additional buses serving all five boroughs. The expansion follows a successful pilot program launched in September, with a dedicated open stroller space introduced on 142 buses serving the M31, B1, Bx23, Q50, Q12, S53, and S93 routes. The open stroller program will be expanded to at least 1,000 buses serving additional routes in all five boroughs. The routes to be served by this expansion are currently being determined by New York City Transit and will be announced in the coming weeks.
The expansion will bring stroller access to at least 1,000 buses, including the initial 142 buses involved in the pilot, serving a mix of local and select bus routes. The two seat options — seat removal versus the flip-up seating space — will continue be evaluated to identify the best solution and any potential safety concerns. New York City Transit is also exploring designated stroller spaces being incorporated in all new buses.
The pilot also involved extensive customer engagement and ridership analysis. The MTA collected customer feedback on the open stroller pilot via a variety of methods following the commencement of the pilot, with overwhelmingly positive responses. In addition, bus operators on routes participating in the open stroller pilot were asked to record stroller usage, with over 2,500 stroller journeys tallied since the beginning of the pilot.
Stroller demand was highest on the B1 and the S53 routes. Customers and operators alike have reported faster and easier boarding experiences, more comfortable bus rides, and more positive interactions with fellow riders on the open stroller pilot routes.
“The bus open stroller pilot shows that we can make meaningful steps toward a universally accessible transit system when we work together with riders, advocates, and operators who represent the diversity of our bus users,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer and Senior Advisor Quemuel Arroyo. “I am excited that we are expanding the pilot to give more parents and caregivers improved access to buses, a critical transit lifeline for so many families across our city, and proud of the way we got here by working side-by-side throughout the pilot process.”
“Making transit more attractive and accessible to all customers is a critical part of the commitment to improving customer satisfaction,” said NYC Transit Senior Vice President of Buses Frank Annicaro. “With the permanent expansion of the open stroller program, customers travelling with strollers can look forward to a bus system that welcomes them, while also ensuring that customers with disabilities have the space they need.”
The stroller space will allow customers with young children to board and ride the bus without needingto fold their stroller first. As with the current pilot, the stroller space on the buses in the pilot expansion will be either an open space near the rear door, or a space created by flipping up two side-by-side seats, depending on the bus model.
The additional buses participating in the open stroller program will be identified with a stroller decal on the outside of the bus that customers can easily see before boarding. Once inside the bus, the designated space will be identified with a similar decal.
The designated open stroller spaces are entirely separate from existing priority seating for bus riders with disabilities. A bus customer boarding with a wheelchair will still have the same number of designated spaces.
“I am pleased to see the immediate success of the Open Stroller pilot program,” said New York City Council Member Julie Menin. “Being a parent and traveling with a young child in the city can be difficult and at times cumbersome. Not only will providing a dedicated space for open strollers make the lives of parents and caregivers easier, but it makes for a smoother ride for other New Yorkers. The open stroller initiative is a necessary accommodation and I look forward to the expansion of the Bus Open Stroller Program to help all straphangers.”
“It is wonderful for parents and caregivers that the bus stroller pilot will be expanded to more bus lines,” said Jean Ryan, President of Action of Metropolitan NY (DIA). “People with disabilities are relieved that our wheelchair spaces will not be utilized by open strollers so that we all can take the bus to get where we need to go.”
“As predicted, permitting open strollers on buses works and welcomes more New Yorkers on board,” said Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum. “MTA leaders successfully gathered stakeholder input and piloted the new program on several routes. We’re very pleased to see this inclusive program now opening new routes to strollers in every borough as part of a robust second phase.”
“On behalf of UP-STAND and the parents and caretakers we represent, I am thrilled that the stroller pilot is expanding,” said Christine Serdjenian Yearwood, Founder & CEO at UP-STAND and ACTA member. “The collaboration of so many successfully created a way for all of us to ride the bus together: The parents who advocated for this change for years, stroller working group members including disability advocates and bus operators, MTA leaders, and children and caretakers who gave feedback on the pilot so far. New York has a stronger, more vibrant, and greener future when families can fully access and ride safely in our public transit system.”
“This pilot program has made a huge difference in the quality of life for myself and countless other parents,” said Danielle Avissar, parent advocate and M31 rider. “Finally, I can take my infant to doctor appointments, affordable grocery stores, classes and endless other activities with a safe designated stroller spot. It’s a fundamental need in a city that relies on public transportation.”