News Navigator: What are the new rules on baby strollers on trains?
Baby strollers no longer have to be folded up on buses or trains, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has created a logo to be used to define priority places on buses and trains for baby strollers. The Mainichi answers common questions readers may have about these recent changes.
Question: Why were the changes made?
Answer: Because people become less steady and can fall down when holding folded-up strollers. The demarcation of priority spaces is to prevent disputes between passengers.
Q: How were the decisions for these changes made?
A: At meetings between the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and people with ties to railway companies and child support groups. These meetings have been going on since June last year, and at the end of March this year guidelines on the new rules were put together.
Q: Is everyone in favor of the changes?
A: No, there are people who object because the unfolded strollers will take up space. According to documents brought to the ministry meetings, compared to people in Europe, South Korea and other countries, Japanese tend to be bothered by strollers coming onto trains or buses when they are crowded, and are less likely to help with loading or unloading the strollers. There was also criticism at the meetings that some baby stroller users are not considerate enough of others when they board.
Railway companies are looking into allowing strollers to share the use of already-existing priority spaces for wheelchairs. Some, such as support organizations for the disabled, have protested that additional space should be readied instead.
Q: Couldn't it actually be more dangerous to not fold baby strollers?
A: To prevent such danger, passengers are asked to secure strollers in place with stoppers on trains and belts on buses.
Q: Will the new rules solve all the problems?
A: Even if the rules are changed, without baby stroller-users and those around them respecting each other, the problems will not go away. Stroller users should be careful of colliding with those around them, and other passengers on buses and trains should be kind and offer help when people with strollers get on and off. (Answers by Kenjiro Sato, City News Department)
May 04, 2014(Mainichi Japan)