Subway & Bus Tips

Traveling via public transportation with a wee one takes a little planning and know how, but it is exponentially safer than riding in taxis without car seats, plus trains and buses are quite exciting for kids.

The easiest way to get around the subway is with a wrap or baby carrier, but if you need a stroller for napping or walking around at your destination, most express and newly renovated stops such as Columbus Circle, 66th Street/Lincoln Center, 72nd Street and 96th Street have elevators or ramps. Find out which stations are stroller-friendly at the accessibility page on the MTA website or invest $3.99 in the cool iPhone app Exit Strategies, which has bus and subway maps and info on elevator locations in stations (and it works underground). If you end up at a station without an elevator (or the elevator is out of service, an occasional hinderance), there always seem to be kind strangers willing to help carry strollers up and down stairs.

At the turnstile, look for a station agent, wave and point to the service gate, swipe your card through the nearest turnstile, push the entrance bars around once without going through, then the agent will buzz the gate open. If you can’t find an agent, quickly go through the turnstile and open the gate from the inside; an alarm will sound but these are frequently set off and ignored.

Allow extra time to find the not always logically placed and often slow (and smelly) elevators (look for the wheelchair icon on signs and follow the arrows). Avoid rush hour if possible. Try to get into the end of a car so you can tuck your stroller in a corner away from the doors. Bring snacks, books and toys to keep your kid occupied – thought the sights, sounds and interesting people in the subway are usually entertainment enough.

If it’s too hot to go underground, buses are also doable. Wraps and carriers are again the easiest. Strollers must be folded while riding, so bring a light, easy-to-fold model. Some drivers will let you walk on with a stroller and fold it once you get into a seat.

When running around town with a stroller, keep a carrier in the bottom so your hands are free to to carry your stroller through obstacles.

Map the quickest route to all your fun city-wide events with the Hopstop app or website, which has an option for wheelchair (and stroller) accessible routes. And read about your adventures in the great board book Subway by Karen Katz and Anastasia Suen.

Any tips we missed? Leave a comment below.