thread: Public Transport Parents?

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2004

    Public Transport Parents?

    Is there anyone out there with kids who doesn't drive? How do you get around (train/bus/taxi..?) in day to day situations, and how hard do you find it?

    I'd love to hear from anyone who has been there, even if only for a year or 2, and your suggestions on how to make it as easy as possible.

    We live in Sydney and neither of us have our licence, nor an affordable way to learn to drive. DP will probably get his L's in the next year or so and pay for lessons, but they're changing the licensing system yet again so who knows when he'll get a full licence!

    I'd really like some positive advice... Please don't tell me it's impossible, as public transport may be our only option for a few years!

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Life Member

    Jul 2004
    House of the crazy cat ladies...

    *puts hand up* Me, me!...

    We haven't had a car for the past 3+ months, and before that DP would take it to work with him anyway, so I am left to rely on getting to places with Aidyn on public transport...

    I have found that trains and ferries (the big city cats) are no hassles at all.
    You just need to check out if the train station you need had disability/pram access, otherwise you might have to rely to a passerby to help you with carrying the pram up/down the steps.

    I have huge issues/fears with the buses atm though... As I have a massive, heavy pram, as well as a baby who isnt really old enough to sit by himself on a bus seat while I collapse the pram... so I havent caught a single bus with Aidyn since he has been born. However this will get a fair bit easier in a few months when he is standing etc... then I will be able to put him down and get the pram and everything ready to hop on the bus.
    Another way of resolving this also might be to buy a smaller stroller (one that can be collapsed with one hand) for when you take the bus - however bear in mind that strollers aren't usually suitable for newborns - 4 months of age, as a lot of them dont have backrests that fully recline.
    Btw, buses aren't likely to pose any problem at all if there are 2 of you ( + bubs) that are catching it...

    Also... if you like excercising then walking is always a good option
    I hate the thought and stress of getting a bus so much that I will walk the pram for 35-40 mins to get to our nearest major shopping centre.

    And for grocery shopping, I wait until DP is home, and then I trek down to our local Woolies, and then catch a cab back home with the groceries. Otherwise I think you can get them delivered to your door, however that means they need to be purchased earlier in the day, which might be hard to do if there is no one to watch bubs.

    Oh, you also might want to buy a carseat/capsule anyway, incase you are ever driven anywhere by friends/family etc.

    Umm... and as far as taxi's go... I have never used one when I've had Aidyn with me. I think there is usually a surcharge (in Qld it is $11) if you need one with a carseat. Also ring quite a few hours before you need the cab just to make sure that there will be one available for you...

    Anyway, thats all I can think of for now... HTH!

  3. #3
    BellyBelly Life Member

    Nov 2003

    Well, I haven't had to deal with this, but I just wanted to agree with what Ambah said regarding the buses.

    I don't know what things are like in Sydney but DH and I lived in Brisbane for quite a while and didn't have a car so we used public transport all the time. We often noticed how difficult it was for one person to get bubs & a pram on and off the bus, especially since a lot of the time they'd also have shopping bags to deal with as well. Some bus drivers even got very narky about the amount of time it took. We often had to help mums with prams get everything on board. One time DH even had to help an elderly lady with her stuff because when the lady asked the bus driver to help her he refused saying he wasn't allowed to due to some kind of safety regulation.

    Good luck!

  4. #4

    Mar 2004

    Hi Katey, I don't know about buses because I never catch them but the trains in Sydney are fairly easy to use. You don't have the issues of folding and unfolding the pram or bubs needing anywhere to sit. The only problem is if you need to use a station that doesn't have disabled access you have to drag your pram up and down the stairs. If there are two of you its easy but a bit harder for one person. I got a second pram that is much lighter than my usual one for trains because I usually catch them on my own when DH is away with the car. To get it up stairs I usually carry Yasin and drag it, sometimes if I'm near Lakemba and I notice that there are Muslim men nearby I just stand around and look helpless and usually someone will offer to carry it for me. It doesn't seem to work so well on Australians.
    For short trips when Yasin was younger and lighter I used to just take him in his sling because it left my hands free and there were no hassles with stairs.
    Alot of shopping centres have stroller hire so you can catch the train carrying bubs in your arms or a sling and then borrow a stroller while you shop.
    You'll find that you meet lots more old ladies on the train than you used to because they all sit in the bit near the door and want to know all about your baby.
    I think that catching public transport with kids is a great idea. It gets them used to not relying on a car and reduces pollution.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW

    Hi I take public transport all the time. With the bus though I do find it hard, I use the sling with Matilda and go places that I can either have everything at (like a friend who has a baby so has a portacot etc) or like to the Dr where I'm just turning around to come home. Mainly for the same reasons Ambah finds it hard just the folding up of the pram and brissy bus drivers just don't like them and aren't very helpful. When I lived in Sydney people were always helping mums on the buses.

    I take the train heaps though, its so easy to do with her & usually people are pretty good at helping. I wouldn't hesitate to take the train anywhere. And it gives us some freedom to go out too without a car. We go on the train around 3 times a week to different things...


  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2004

    Thanks guys! I knew there had to be someone out there who was doing it!

    Ambah - With the groceries thing I guess if there's something stopping me from going out to get them myself (no-one to look after bubs, bad weather, the wheel on my trolley falling off again.. LOL), both Woolies and Coles have their homeshop thing going now, I haven't actually used it before (well no need yet really) but I've had a look at the prices on the website vs the instore prices - they still have specials, and although you won't be able to get the exact same value as going into the shop yourself, it seems worth it.
    I had also been thinking about renting a capsule so I could get bubs home from hospital, and maybe use it in taxi's if need be... Do you know, if you get a regular taxi (without a capsule in it already) do they have the fittings to put a carseat/capsule in? I guess the main dilemma with having no car at all is getting home from the hospital!.. Hmmm..

    Dachlostar - The sling thing is good... how old or heavy was Yasin before it became uncomfortable to do it? LOL at the old ladies... I'd be inclined to have bubs in the sling rather than the pram just to keep them away from poking and prodding! And it looks like we're on the same train line... I'm at Marrickville. It's "wheelchair accessable" but only if you want to go to Bankstown.. To the city you have to go downstairs. Unless you want to go to Campsie (I think they have lifts?) and get on the city train from there! Oh well, irrelevant for me, coz we will be moving to the hills soon. DP grew up around Northmead and I grew up in the country, so we both can't imagine bringing up our kids in this concrete jungle! But moving to the hills may then pose this bus dilemma that you all speak of... Hmmmmmmmmmm... more thinking.

    There are a lot of wheelchair accessable buses where we want to live, but I am considering maybe a compromise would be in order - finding a place closer to the train line... It might end up meaning we'd be in a unit rather than a house, which I don't really want to do... Arrg.

    Oh well I'm going to go think *inside* my head now

    Thanks so much again.

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2004
    Cairns QLD

    I know this is a bit old now but thought I would share my public transport experiences with you.

    I never cought a bus with my baby until just recently and I now have a baby and a 2 yr old. The bus I catch is wheel chair friendly, so I am able (although I don't think I am actually allowed too) leave the pram up and I have Glenn (baby) in the pram while Evan sits with me on the seat. The bus driver is really nice about letting me leave the pram up. I think he can see that its no different to a wheel chair really and is probably bigger as its a Jog with a toddler seat attached to it. So getting to our local shopping centre is no problem BUT getting back is! The buses going back are the old ones and usually school buses. The drivers will not (not allowed as mentioned before) get out of their seat to help me on. The first time I tried to catch on coming back he just sat there staring at me and I said well do you think I could get some help getting on. His reply was, does that pram fold up. I said Yes but I can't do it while hanging on to a 2 yr old and a baby. He still jsut sat there so I huffed and said don't worry I will just walk home. I ended up catching the train to windsor and walking up to the library and waiting for DH to finish work to come get us.
    Catching trains is fine, we have gone into the city a few times with the boys on the train.
    And I have even walked into town, took me 1/2 an hour but it was an easy walk so I would do it again for sure.

    Can I ask where abouts in Sydney do you live? If its close and I am avaliable I bring you home from the hospital .

    Actually just thinking about it, I remember seeing this pram/car seat combo thingy on the net somewhere. It was a car seat that had wheels attached to it and a handle. it was designed for traveling with a bub. It could be used on a plane then you flip the wheels out and pull up the handle and can push bubs around it in then it can be converted back to a seat that can be strapped into a car. Looked really good, it was an american thing though from memory but I wonder if you could get soemthing like this is australia??