Dalhousie professor wants policy change

Two months have passed since Mohammed Ehsan and his family were kicked off a Metro Halifax bus.

Ehsan, a PhD candidate who also teaches political science at Dalhousie University, is now seeking a policy change for parents with strollers on Metro Transit buses.

Mohammed Ehsan
Professor Mohammed Ehsan (Clark Jang photo)

By Clark Jang

Dalhousie professor Mohammed Ehsan wants Metro Halifax to change its stroller policy.

Two months have passed since he and his family were kicked off a number 10 bus to Westphal because their stroller was too big.

He also alleges the driver called him an ‘idiot’ and treated him rudely.

“It’s not about me anymore. Change the rules. That’s my issue,” says Ehsan.

Ehsan filed a formal complaint with Metro Transit. He still hasn’t received an apology or response, however, supervisors have said they regret the incident.

Listen in as Ehsan describes what he is pursing from Metro Transit.

Ehsan audio

“The current policy they have doesn’t restrict any stroller. There is a recommended measurement.” says Ehsan.

Metro Transit’s current stroller policy can be found here.

Under the guidelines, Metro recommends strollers should not be larger than 42″ x 22.5″. Ehsan’s stroller measured four inches too long.

“The incident wasn’t about size, there was plenty of room. The bus was empty…Public utility services are supposed to change rules to meet peoples needs,” says Ehsan. “They should have a policy to let parents on buses regardless of strollers.”

Mohammed Ehsan and his family were kicked off a No. 10 bus in January (Photo by Clark Jang)
Mohammed Ehsan and his family were kicked off a No. 10 bus in January (Clark Jang photo)

A Metro spokesperson says it is up to the driver’s discretion whether or not a passenger can board the bus.

Several Dalhousie professors declined to comment due to the controversial nature of the issue. But that hasn’t stopped Ehsan’s students or the general public from weighing in.

“I don’t think [Ehsan] should have been kicked off,” says Jake McCloskey, one of Ehsan’s students. “It’s a courtesy thing. His situation is different than other parents.”

Ehsan has a larger stroller to accommodate his eight-month-old twin boys.

Betty Bourne, who has ridden the bus for more than 20 years, says sometimes strollers can get in the way.

“They can make it hard for people to get by,” says Bourne.

Andrea Wilson rides the bus from Dartmouth to Halifax three times a week. She says she’s never seen a stroller pose a risk.

“I see strollers almost everyday. I’ve never seen a bus driver tell someone to get off because of it,” says Wilson.

Liam Russell, a bus patron, can see both sides of the argument.

“I can see how it can be a hazard on a busy bus, but if it’s his only way of getting around that should be taken into consideration too,” says Russell.

Metro says the stroller guidelines are implemented as a public safety measure.

“Our drivers reserve the right to determine when a situation becomes a public safety concern,” says a Metro spokesperson.

The incident has led the Ehsan’s to buy a family car. That cost them $7,500, not including gas, insurance and maintenance. They have ridden the bus with the stroller once since the incident.

“My wife doesn’t want to take the bus anymore with the stroller. We walk most places now,” says Ehsan.

Metro would not comment on whether they were considering a policy change.

“98 per cent of bus drivers are good,” says Ehsan. “It’s that two per cent that make a big deal of it.”