NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The MTA announced a new open stroller pilot program, offering a new option for parents and caregivers who struggle to ride city buses.
The current stroller policy when boarding an MTA bus is that you need to remove the child and fold the stroller up to properly store it.
But now, as part of the pilot program, the MTA has outfitted more than 100 buses with two seats that flip up to allow a designated area for parents and caregivers to leave their strollers open while boarding the bus.
The buses will start rolling sometime next week.
"This came about as a recommendation from a working group that we put together which included parents and caregivers who ride our buses with strollers and of course members of the disability community and our bus operators and union representatives," MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo said.
The areas will be marked as priority stroller parking, similar to the area designated for wheelchairs -- something that resonates for Arroyo.
"In my eyes, accessibility includes parents and caregivers with children and strollers, it includes our seniors, it of course includes our persons with disabilities and this is a manifest of that," he said.
It's certainly welcome news to one dad who spoke with Eyewitness News.
He tried to take the bus, but when he couldn't manage to fold the stroller, hang onto his child and all the gear, he headed to the subway -- which posed another set of challenges.
"We carried the stroller down the stairs to the subway, so that created a whole different type of difficult situation for us," he said.
The stroller parking area will be tested out on 142 buses across the the five boroughs, along the following seven routes:
--B1 (Bay Ridge - Manhattan Beach)
--Bx23 (Pelham Bay - Co-Op City)
--M31 (Yorkville - Clinton)
--Q12 (Little Neck - Flushing)
--Q50 (Co-Op City/Pelham Bay - Flushing)
--S53 (Port Richmond - Bay Ridge)
--S93 (College of Staten Island - Bay Ridge)
Experts say it is an accommodation that could boost ridership, which is still down 32% from pre-pandemic levels.
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