Public Transportation Essentials When Traveling With Kids

Subway_queens1 There are many families in NYC who own cars. Strap your little one into their car seat and off you go. But there are many folks in this borough who rely on public transportation, and taking your infant or child on a subway, bus or taxi is a great way to get around. All you need is a little information, preparation, confidence and the right gear.

For travel on all types of public transportation, a baby carrier, such as a Baby Bjorn for a small infant, or a soft structured carrier (like an ErgoBeco or Olives & Applesauce) for a larger infant/toddler, will make your journey easier.

Travel by Subway:

Unfortunately, the NYC subway system is not 100% handicap accessible. To find the system-wide list of accessible stations, you can clic here. And unfortunately, there are only 14 handicap accessible stations in Queens.

If you must bring your stroller, you will have to manage the stairs by yourself or find a kind stranger to help you. A light umbrella stroller and a baby carrier will make travel easier. Plus, with an open stroller, you must enter the station where there is an attendant and a gate, instead of a Metrocard-only entrance.

Travel by Bus:

If you are lucky enough to live near a subway stop, it is very easy to travel into Manhattan, and to certain parts of the borough. However, to access many neighborhoods, you will need to take the bus. The bus routes can seem intimidating, but you can plan your trip online! You can use the website, which will find you the quickest bus/subway route or you can download a Queens Bus map here.

To travel on the bus, strollers must be folded before boarding, and during the duration of the trip. Again, having your child in a baby carrier allows you to have your hands free to board the bus.

Travel by Taxi:

According to the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission, yellow taxis and other for-hire vehicles are exempt from laws requiring car seats and seatbelts. However, a driver must allow you time (off the meter) to properly install a car seat. With a small baby, your best bet is to use an infant car seat that snaps into a stroller base, eliminating the need to carry the car seat separately. With a bigger car
seat you can carry the car seat by:

1. Using a car seat travel bag, many of which you carry like a backpack

2. Using a car seat on wheels, such as a Sit n Stroll

3. Using a car seat attachment such as a Go-Go-Kidz Travelmate

As an alternative, Legends Limousines (718-788-1234) in Brooklyn provides car seats for infants and toddlers at a charge of $5 each. However, as they are technically a limousine service, their base fares are a little higher than other car services. For example, they quoted a $45 fare from Forest Hills to JFK airport, where other services charge $24 plus gratuity. Also keep in mind that in order to ensure car seat availability, Legends recommends you book your trip a few hours in advance.

Through the eyes of even the smallest child, riding a bus or subway is a fun adventure. Taking public transportation can be cost effective and the green way to go. And many families have no choice but to rely on public means of getting around the borough. By train, bus or taxi, no part of this diverse borough is off –limits to those without wheels. Now all you need to figure out is where to go next! 

By Harmony at Baby to Go