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MTA Announces Second Phase of Open Stroller Pilot Program to Include 1,000+ Buses on 57 Routes

Updated Mar 23, 2023 8:45 a.m.
An example of the Designated Open Stroller Area decal is above side-by-side photos of a child in a stroller, using the area, and a mother, seated in the next seat, controlling the stroller.

Retrofitted Buses Will Be in All Five Boroughs, Representing 15% of all NYCT Buses

MTA to Continue Engaging Riders for Feedback on the Program

View Photos of Dedicated Open Stroller Space

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that its bus Open Stroller Pilot will begin Phase II, expanding to upwards of 1,000 buses on 57 routes in all five boroughs. The second phase of the Open Stroller Program will retrofit all Local and Select buses operating out of six depots by the fall of 2023 with designated stroller spaces. The 57 local and select routes operating out of those depots served a combined 250,000 daily weekly riders in 2021 and include some of the busiest routes in the system.

Dedicated stroller space allows riders with young children to board without needing to fold their strollers first. As with the previous phase of the pilot, added stroller space on buses will be either an open space near the rear door or a space created by flipping up two side-by-side seats, depending on the bus model.

“This expansion is a win for bus customers. The Open Stroller Program has demonstrated that we can make buses more accessible to all customers while providing faster, cleaner, and safer service,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “As we expand, more and more bus customers will benefit from enhanced accessibility, especially for parents and caregivers. I commend the months of hard work from the team at NYCT and the MTA’s Accessibility team to make this expansion possible.”

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of months of intensive work at the MTA to make buses more inclusive and accessible for all of our customers,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo. “By working together with our riders, advocates, and bus operators who power our system, we have identified a meaningful solution to ensure that buses are more welcoming to parents and caregivers while preserving accessible space for customers with disabilities, many of whom rely on buses every day to travel throughout the city.”

“Buses provide essential transit services to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, and any day that we can make our system more inviting and accessible is a good day,” said NYC Transit Senior Vice President of Buses Frank Annicaro. “The success of this program would not be possible without the hard work of our bus operators, who have played a critical role in delivering service that is accessible and safe for all customers during the pilot.”

The bus routes that will feature an open stroller space include:

Brooklyn: B1, B3, B6/6 LTD, B36, B64, B74
The Bronx: Bx6, Bx6 SBS, Bx8, Bx11, Bx17, Bx19, Bx21, Bx23, Bx27, Bx31, Bx32, Bx33, Bx35, Bx36/36LTD, Bx46
Manhattan: M15, M31, M101, M102, M103, M125
Queens: Q12, Q13, Q15, Q15A, Q16, Q20A, Q20B, Q26, Q28, Q31, Q32, Q44 SBS, Q48, Q50LTD, Q76
Staten Island: S40, S42, S46, S48, S51, S52, S53, S66, S76, S81 LTD, S86 LTD, S90 LTD, S93 LTD, S96 LTD, S98 LTD

The buses will run out of the following six depots: Eastchester and West Farms in the Bronx, Ulmer Park in Brooklyn, Tuskegee in Manhattan, Casey Stengel in Queens, and Castleton in Staten Island.

The MTA received more than 200 customer comments on bus stroller policy through our online feedback form since the pilot started last fall. Four out of five support allowing open strollers on buses and/or expanding the pilot to more buses/routes. Customers and operators alike have reported faster and easier boarding experiences, more comfortable bus rides, and more positive interactions with fellow riders on the pilot routes. In addition, bus operators on routes participating in the open stroller pilot were asked to record stroller usage, with over 4,000 stroller journeys tallied since the beginning of the pilot, and no reported safety incidents or conflicts resulting from the pilot. The MTA will continue to collect robust customer and operator feedback as the pilot expands to more buses and routes.

The additional buses participating in the Open Stroller Program will be identified with a stroller decal on the outside of the bus that customers can easily see before boarding. Once inside the bus, the designated space will be identified with a similar decal.

The designated open stroller spaces are entirely separate from existing priority seating for bus riders with disabilities. A bus customer boarding with a wheelchair will still have the same number of designated spaces.

“Commuting with young children can be difficult, which is why I’m proud to support the Open Stroller Pilot Program expansion to make it easier for parents traveling across the five boroughs,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler. "This program, which will create designated open stroller spaces without compromising wheelchair access, is an innovative way to make public transit more family-friendly. I look forward to seeing parents in my district take advantage of this pilot program on the Crosstown M31 bus and hope to see designated stroller spaces on additional routes in the future.”

“The Open Stroller Pilot Program will greatly increase accessibility to our mass transit system here in NYC,” said NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Families across the boroughs rely on buses and trains to maneuver their day to day, and this meaningful step will give them the improved access they need.”

“This is a win-win anytime we can ease the burden on families and encourage more use of public transportation at the same time,” said Senator Nathalia Fernandez. “I know that the parents and caregivers in my district in The Bronx have found this program to be a breath of fresh air considering that for years public transportation seems to have been designed for people other than them. The initial success and now expansion of the Open Stroller Pilot Program is just the beginning of a course correction to ensure our city’s public transportation accommodations represent its people.”

"I am thrilled to hear that the MTA will be expanding the Open Stroller Pilot Program with designated open stroller areas on routes operating through our district,” said Senator Luis Sepúlveda. “This program will be a game changer for parents and caregivers traveling with young children, making it easier and more convenient for them to navigate our city's public transportation system. I look forward to seeing the success of this pilot and the eventual expansion to even more routes across all five boroughs."

“As a mother of three young children who has had to frequently navigate public transportation with a stroller, I am thrilled to hear about the expansion of the Open Stroller Pilot Program,” said Assembly Member Grace Lee. “Families need access to the city’s buses and The Open Stroller Pilot Program helps eliminate obstacles. This is a great step in making our buses more accessible for all New Yorkers.”

"We all know the challenges parents face when traveling with a child. The expansion of the MTA Open Stroller Pilot Program will greatly benefit my district, as it heavily relies on bus service,” said Assembly Member Kenny Burgos. “More importantly, this program will help improve the lives of parents and caregivers and make their commutes easier."

“Proud to see the MTA expanding access for parents and children in our district and across NYC through their Open Stroller pilot program,” said Assembly Member Alex Bores. “Parents in New York have enough on their minds and having to fold strollers to access transit should not be on the list.”

“For parents and caregivers across the city, the MTA Open Stroller Pilot Program expansion is a gamechanger,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Many commuters rely on public transportation to get to their destination and this expansion will make it even easier and safer for them to travel on the bus with their children. I want to thank the MTA and transit advocates for their commitment to accessibility for the thousands of riders across our city.”

“For far too many families across our borough and city, our public transit system is either difficult to utilize or simply inaccessible. But the expansion of the Open Stroller Program will make a world of difference for families with young children who deserve to get around with ease like anyone else,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Thank you to the MTA for this commitment and I look forward to working with our transit partners as we continue to make public transportation more and more accessible for all our residents.”

“Our city’s MTA bus service is a lifeline for the many New Yorkers who rely on its service daily. Moving forward with the expansion into Phase 2 of the MTA’s bus Open Stroller Program strengthens the commitment to expand access and enhance quality, as well as inclusivity, for all riders and operators, but especially for caregivers who travel with children,” said NYC Council Member Kevin C. Riley. “Without these necessary accommodations, parents and caregivers are forced to navigate the difficulties of inconvenient, uncomfortable ridership experiences and delayed service, which affects all stakeholders. I look forward to initiatives like the Open Stroller Program becoming the standard citywide.”

"I am incredibly excited to see that the MTA is moving to the second phase of the Open Stroller Pilot Program,” said NYC Council Member Amanda Farías. “Phase 1 was a success because it made our transit infrastructure more inclusive of those who rely on our buses the most, this city’s working families. I look forward to continuing to work with our agencies, communities, and the Council’s Women’s Caucus to implement the Open Stroller Program citywide and to make our transit system more inclusive of all New Yorkers."

“This program has been instrumental in elevating the commuting experience for parents and caretakers, and I’m excited to see it here in my community,” said NYC Council Member Marjorie Velázquez. “Our buses serve thousands of riders, many with small children and children with disabilities who depend on strollers. To see our buses accommodate their needs with a dedicated space is exciting and moves us forward. The open stroller initiative is necessary, and I look forward to its implementation here in the Bronx.” 

“It’s great to hear that the open stroller pilot is going well and will expand to more bus routes by the end of the year,” said ACTA Chair and Stroller Working Group member Jessica Murray, PhD. “This will be a major improvement for families’ mobility and access to public transit. I hope the MTA will continue to follow this model of collaboration between the agency and community stakeholders for testing out environmental changes, so mobility and access can continue to be improved for New Yorkers with disabilities.”

“I ride the B1 and other buses in south Brooklyn every day, and I see the need for the stroller space,” said Advisory Committee for Transit Accessibility (ACTA) member Chris Greif.  “I am glad to see the MTA expanding this program and making sure there is space for parents and families, separate from the priority seating area for people with wheelchairs, walkers, or other disabilities.” 

"As the MTA announces open stroller capacity coming to more than 1,000 buses and 50 routes citywide by the end of 2023, many more New Yorkers will have easier access to the promise of transit and to all the necessities and opportunities that the city offers," said Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum. "MTA leaders successfully gathered stakeholder input, piloted the new program on several routes, proved a concept, and determined to expand it further. We're very pleased to see this inclusive program now opening new bus routes to strollers in every borough and welcoming more New Yorkers aboard.

"This pilot program is a game changer for myself and countless other parents,” said Danielle Avissar, parent advocate, stroller working group member and M31 rider. "We are no longer experiencing hostile attitudes from other riders and have a safe, designated stroller spot. Finally, I can take my infant to doctor appointments, affordable grocery stores, classes and endless other activities. It's a fundamental need in a city that relies on public transportation."

“I'm excited for the expansion of the MTA program that gives riders with small children the chance to sit comfortably with them on the bus,” said Dustin Jones, founder of United for Equal Access New York and stroller working group member. “Especially in our large and busy bus system, t's always great to have a seat on public transportation. I'm very proud of the MTA taking the initiative to find a dedicated space for caregivers, without taking away priority seating for those of us who cannot ride without it. I have heard nothing but positive feedback during Phase I, and I can't wait to see how things are when, more riders across every borough get to experience this.”