• Wed
  • Sep 3, 2014
  • Updated: 8:23am

Prams must be folded on buses

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 August, 2013, 4:30am

Elisabeth Bruening is totally wrong to suggest that bus companies should permit unfolded prams on public buses ("Bus firms need to rethink pram policy", July 29).

She suggests this regulation comes from wanting to save space during the rush hour. That is only a minor consideration.

The main reason is for safety and she is misguided to claim that a baby in an unfolded pram, even with the brakes on, is safer than if held on the lap of her seated mother.

If a bus driver has to execute an emergency stop, an unfolded pram will fly forward, hitting other passengers, and could also fling the baby out of the pram, causing serious injury. The child is much safer held firmly by her mother or carer in a seat.

Furthermore, it is not a matter of "bus company policy" to insist that prams are folded; it is a matter of law.

The aisles in a bus need to be kept free from obstructions so that passengers are not impeded from escaping from the bus quickly in the case of a fire or other emergency. So the short answer is prams need to be folded for very good reasons.

Her further suggestion that a bus driver should leave his driver's cab to help ladies fold their prams is not practical. The driver has other duties to perform when the vehicle is stationary at a bus stop.

He has to monitor passenger boarding (for fare payment) and also keep an eye on passengers exiting through the centre doors. Because of Hong Kong's traffic-congested roads he also has to limit the waiting period at stops to the absolute minimum.

It is the mother's job to fold the pram before getting on a bus and hold both the child and the pram while boarding.

I have witnessed many women doing this perfectly capably and it would seem that only a few mothers are unwilling to do this.

My own observations also suggest that people from Australia are the worst offenders with regard to the inconsiderate use of prams.

Many seem oblivious to safety considerations.

It is that country which even allows prams to be pushed onto unprotected railway platforms and yet people seem surprised when a pram rolls forward off the platform into the path of an oncoming train.

P. A. Crush, Sha Tin


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P. A. Crush, in the situation of emergency braking or a car accident, any unrestrained object may be thrown forward with a force that is 30 to 60 times of its weight. An average 2 year old weighs 12 to 13 kilograms. A parent that can restrain 360 kgs of forward hurtling child by his/her arms only is truly a superhero. Makes no difference whether the child is sitting in the pram or in the parent's lap, the results can be catastrophic in case of a forceful stop. The only "safe" place for anyone sitting in a bus is in a seat with a seat belt, and with that seat belt properly worn.
You are right though that prams should be folded for space and unobstructed passageway reasons, and that the pram should be folded BEFORE boarding the bus.
Elisabeth Bruening might have to reconsider the amount of stuff and bags in addition to the child and the pram she's bringing along if her two hands are not enough to handle all.
You are ignoring the theory of relativity there my dear.

As long as the parent holding the child is also on the bus and thus subject to the same forces, your math is far off. There will be a difference in pull on the two bodies, but certainly not one of the full 30~60 times the weight of the child. While I can't be bothered now to attempt the actual calculation, common sense says that an adult of average strength would be able to contain the infant if indeed the adult is secured by a seatbelt him/herself. Unless perhaps this would be a gorilla-sized baby exceeding 25kg, but even by Australian standards, that would seem unlikely.

By the way, for much the same reason, your brain does not get ejected through your nose every time you hit the brakes in your car, even if it is an emergency stop.

I do agree with yout that the whole thing is not necessarily an ideal-case safe situation, and especially if the adult is not seatbelt secured him/herself, things might get tricky, depending on where and how he/she is seated. Yet, all of that would still beat an infant setting off on unpredictable launch path by flying out of a pram (not even mentioning the path the pram itself might embark on).
Transport for London Rules:
How many buggies are allowed on buses?
There is no limit to the number of buggies that can be carried on buses as wheelchair bays vary in capacity with the range of makes, models and interior layouts in the fleet. Drivers exercise discretion in respect of what each vehicle type can accommodate and the space occupied by passengers on board.
For everyone’s safety and comfort, unfolded buggies can’t travel in the gangway. If the space is full because there are other passengers with buggies or a wheelchair user is occupying it, passengers should fold their buggies before boarding. Pushchairs are required to be removed from the wheelchair bay if a wheelchair user boards a bus. Sometimes it is possible for a wheelchair and an unfolded buggy to share the space, provided neither blocks the gangway and the wheelchair user is in the correct position with the back of their chair reversed against the padded board.
The driver should let on as many buggies as practical, and should provide guidance where necessary when a passenger with a buggy is looking to board. Buggies should be folded if a wheelchair user comes on board and there is insufficient space for the wheelchair and the unfolded buggy in that area.


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