Stroller ‘discrimination’ charged
Halifax father of twins says transit driver was rude and wouldn’t let his family board bus
By MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE City Hall Reporter
Sun, Jan 9 – 12:09 PM
A Halifax man says a Metro Transit bus driver was rude to him and wouldn’t let him, his wife and two infants board a bus because his sons were in a large stroller. (Staff / File)
A Halifax father who alleges his young family was recently discriminated against by a rude bus driver who wouldn’t let them on with their stroller, is unhappy with how Metro Transit handled his complaint.
Mohammad Ehsan said Saturday that he’ll take his case to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and wants to pursue it further with Halifax Regional Municipality.
He said transit officials spoke to him Friday and “sided with the driver” of the No. 10 downtown bus the family was trying to board with a large stroller. Ehsan and his wife, Farzana Naz, have twin boys who are six months old. The couple doesn’t own a car.
Ehsan said the incident, which happened a week ago, was the first time a bus driver in metro made an issue of their stroller.
He said his complaint with the commission will allege Metro Transit “has discriminated against mothers with newborns.”
Ehsan also alleged the bus operator was “so rude to us,” and said his behaviour needs to be addressed by management.
A Metro Transit official has said accommodating passengers with baby strollers is at the discretion of individual drivers. There are space, passenger safety and occupational health and safety considerations at play, Metro Transit has said.
A spokesperson with the transit agency told CBC News last week that Metro Transit has received previous complaints involving strollers on city buses.
Ehsan, who teaches at Dalhousie University and is a PhD candidate there, said Metro Transit’s guidelines for passengers with strollers are fuzzy.
“Just because they have an unclear and vague rule, it doesn’t mean they’re right,” he told The Chronicle Herald.
He said there were empty seats on the bus he and his family were trying to get on with their long, $750 stroller.
The mayor said he wasn’t familiar with all the details of Ehsan’s allegations or Metro Transit’s side of the story.
Kelly said transit staff told him Saturday that strollers can be accommodated on buses, but it depends on the situation and it remains a judgment call on the part of the operator.
“If the wheelchair areas are not in use, they can be stored in those areas,” Kelly said. “Seventy-five per cent of our fleet are the low-floor vehicles and they do have the double wheelchair capacity.”
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