Transportation with a toddler. Always an issue. I was actually really looking forward to taking the tube. From what I remember, every tube station has an escalator. So what could possibily go wrong?
First of all, yes, it is true all tube stations, or at least the ones I took, have escalators. To get to the platform. But what you forget when you don’t have a toddler in a stroller, that to get to the station, before the turnstiles, there are many, many steps. But I am from New York. I can handle ANYTHING. Well, it turns out this is not to be true.
However, a truism for any transportation that inevitable something will happen and there will be a delay and the cars will be packed. Well this happened to me. The platform was getting more and more packed. I folded the stroller, and knew and fully expected not to make it onto the first tube that came. And I didn’t. They were jam packed like sardines on there.
I moved further down the platform thinking that furhter down there will be less people on the cars. And I made it on. A lady gave up her seat for O. O was in a mood and was refusing to sit down. So for one stop she hovered over the empty seat. At the 2nd stop, all the people that didn’t make it in the previous train were now jamming on this one. All I could think of is that I have to get off at the next stop. I prepare O that we have to get off the subway, she says NO! I say, we have to get off. NOOOO!!! The stop comes, and I grab her arm with one hand, and the stroller in the other, and try to make my way through. Oh yeah, and I don’t think they have air conditioning on the subway cars, or at least don’t pump them in like they do on the NYC subways, so I am sweating bullets as I drag O by the arm. Ouch, you are hurting me, Mommy! All I can have a vision in my head of O being stuck on the train as the doors close.
From the platform, this dapper young gentleman pushes his way through without waiting for the people to get off (Fucking typical, no matter where in the world you are!) A lady behind him, starts yelling at him. Lady with baby getting off. In a very apt way, she grabs O’s arm, and practically throws her on the platform, and then says to me, Don’t worry, dear, they will wait for you. And I take the half foot step down from the train to the platform. We made it out alive, with O whimpering on the platform on how her arm hurts.
But when they say, Mind the Gap, they do not mean the horizontal gap between the platform and the train, rather the vertical gap between the platform and the train. It is not easy to maneuver a stroller down. You have to pick it up and put it down. A lot more cumbersome.
We make it up the long escalator, which I have to say thank god for those. Imagine carrying a stroller from the depths of the tube to the top. As previously mentioned, there are ALWAYS steps afterward. When I complained to my sister she made a good point. First in NYC I usually travel with a car during the weekend. And 2nd most mommies in London probably take the bus or taxis. Thanks for the information much later than needed.
So which is better?? It’s hard to tell. I was a tourist in London and am a local in NYC. The escalators in the end will have to win! And everyone who worked for the tube was really nice. Not once did I encounter an attendant who couldn’t push a button to open the gate for the stroller, where in New York, so many times that I am sick to my stomach. It could also be the accent, meaning my accent, that got me the attention I needed in London!