Prams must be folded on buses

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


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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