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Prams and pushchairs on public transport in London

(14 Posts)
Brugmansia Mon 24-Sep-12 19:25:48

I'm sure there have been other threads on this but rather than continuing to derail other threads I thought it would be best to start my own thread.

I'm quite central in London and am hoping to continue travelling around by bus and tube once my baby is here. I've been drawing up a shortlist of pushchairs but could do with some more views about what is realistic about using on London public transport and what I should be taking into account.

So, what features are important to be able to use a pushchair easily on the tube?
Is being light and compact the most important factor or are other features useful?
Is it useful to be able to fold easily to take the baby out and carry it folded down an escalator?
Do people tend to always leave the pushchair unfolded on buses or is it useful to be able to fold easily if the bus is crowded?
Is it just not worth bothering trying to use a pram with a carrycot on the tube or is it possible?

I was planning on using a sling quite a lot too. Would it be feasible to combine the 2 at once. I was thinking it may be easier to have the pushchair folded while actually on the tube and carry the baby in the sling, and then have the pushchair to use at the end of the journey and pop the sling in the basket. Is this unrealistic or a way of managing if I had a pushchair that is easily folded and carried when folded?

Incidentally, I am only 5' 1" and have problems with carrying things that are too large or their shape or weight distribution make them difficult to carry. My closest station has a lift but also stairs down to the platform, so that's also a consideration.

Anything else I should be considering or tips anyone has? All advice appreciated.

forevergreek Mon 24-Sep-12 20:06:13

yes everything you say is completely reasonable

we often use/have used a buggy with carrycot on the buses fine (bugaboo cameleon). funnily enough once out of carry cot, in seated mode it takes less room up than a basic maclaren style (borrowed once and couldnt fit down isle of single decker london bus)
we dont use that buggy however on tube (but actually use tube vv rarely as have found buses go to most places we need fine

a good sling (not a babybjorn) will be useful. take a look on the sling board here, there are many ideas for you

the bugaboo bee would be my recommendation to look at. it has a cocoon instead of carrycot, but good for newborn. it folds light if needed, adjustable handles for different heights of person pushing. and it will last you through until you dont need one.

Brugmansia Mon 24-Sep-12 23:27:51

I've looked into slings quite a lot already, so got a quite good idea of what I'd like. It's the pram choice that's overwhelming me.

I had been thinking of the bee and it seems the obvious choice on paper. There are certainly gazillions of them in use around London.

I'm just wondering if size and being compact are the only things that really matter or if some other heavier, bigger models could actually be equally good for different reasons while also having other benefits, eg being sturdier.

My first go at folding and unfolding the bee was not a success. Both DP and I really liked the iCandy strawberry because of the fold. I just don't know whether it could be a benefit being able to fold easily on London transport or if the weight would be a hindrance.

showtunesgirl Mon 24-Sep-12 23:33:27

OP, I am 5 foot nothing and have a Bee and really feel that it's the right pram for London living.

The Bee is a bit more tricky to fold when parent facing but is easier when forward facing.

However, most people tend to just take prams onto buses unfolded or wait for the next bus as babies need so much crap that it's not always practical to fold them up. The Bee has a really big basket for this stuff!

And the Cocoon did my DD just fine last winter when she was a newborn.

Oh and I've never folded my pram up when going on the tube. The Bee is pretty good and compact for the tube and a lot of the Tube is now step free and even if it's not, there's usually someone who will be prepared to help you. I know people complain about London but I've never been stuck for help when I needed it.

lindsell Mon 24-Sep-12 23:42:46

I use buggy with carrycot attachment on the buses & the tube. It's much easier just to take the buggy on the escalator than take baby out and try and carry baby, buggy and all the bags you will end up with grin up/down. I find going backwards when going up escalators easier. You can bump down steps quite easily it's only going up that can a nuisance, people are usually quite good at helping though and if you have a lightweight buggy/pram you can lift the whole thing yourself anyway (I'm petite and manage that fine). I usually wait for another bus if I'd have to fold as can't be bothered getting all the stuff out from under buggy etc.

I would LOVE a Bugaboo Bee but dh said no sad

A sling is of course great and I use that a lot - and often now do the tube etc with ds1 in the buggy and ds2 in the sling - that's more fun when trying to carry the buggy up steps grin


RichmondNCT Tue 25-Sep-12 00:14:38

My personal experience has been that if you are going to be using the tube, and stations without step-free access, anything other than a buggy with an umbrella fold is going to be a nightmare. Sling until they can sit and then a McLaren or something similar that can be folded one handed. Obviously if you have had a v recent c-section or a back problem slinging might not be an option and using a buggy on buses might be a better idea.

If going for the bus option the Bugaboo Bee is good ime because it will fit down the aisle - but I'm sure other makes and models are good for this too. Do measure the widest part when you go buggy shopping. This is sometimes across the front or back wheels. I had the Bee because I'm out in the 'burbs and buses and walking is easiest way to get around.

You will need to fold your buggy on a bus if it is busy or a wheelchair needs the space. If you can't fold it (and I literally couldn't with it rear-facing) you can get a transferrable ticket from the driver to use on the next service if using pre-pay Oyster or other single use tickets. You should expect to fold or get off and not wait to be asked.

I would never take a child of any age in any sort of buggy on an escalator. Having seen numerous pushchairs tip on level ground and once saw someone fall down an escalator you won't persuade me it is not dangerous. In addition to the obvious dangers you could well get a bollocking from the staff (annoying but not life threatening) but worse would be if some concerned person pressed the emergency stop button to "save" your child as that can knock you off balance. Not worth the risk IMHO.

Why not ask parents in your neck of the woods their opinions? Most London branches of NCT have Facebook pages or egroups you can join and you don't always need to be a member. That's how I found out about the secret lift at Richmond station 3 years ago before they installed properly accessible lifts last spring.

forevergreek Tue 25-Sep-12 10:14:24

Yes where abouts in c London are you? We use the 9/10 buses really often as they basically run through central London through to hammersmith which covers 90% of journeys.

I generally don't fold on bus as I have more than one child so although youngest in buggy the eldest is only 2 so needs holding also do have no free hand. Il get off or wait for next one for convinence

Personally I wouldn't use buggy on tubes either unless someone else is with me as I always hear and have seen nasty accidents on tube escalators with buggies. Just sling for those journeys

A good sling and a rucksack with baby stuff in is v convinent. Hands free is the way to go if possible. When older, they can walk on reins with sling in bag if needed. But if you jump on and off transport you will ind little ones can go quite far as the rest on every bus.

Maybe try and go to one of the big buggy showrooms ( like kiddicare) to look, but they are all outside London as fr as I know.

Also, before we got ours, I did ask someone randomly! With a toddler in when In park if I could poss push for a few seconds to get an idea of weight with an older child in! I felt vaguely embarrassed but they were fine

showtunesgirl Tue 25-Sep-12 10:29:00

John Lewis on Oxford Street have a fairly big range that you can try out.

DD is now 10 months old and I have never taken her on an escalator whilst in her Bee as I am worried that I don't have the muscle to do it properly.

But now that Green Park is step free, it's so much easier to get into Central London.

minipie Tue 25-Sep-12 11:04:32

Do look out for length (as well as width) if you're going to be using buses a lot. A friend has a baby jogger and says it's a real pain on buses. Although it's light and folds very easily, it's pretty long when not folded and this takes up a lot of space on a bus.

cleanandclothed Tue 25-Sep-12 11:15:07

I would look at the journeys you will be doing most and how quickly you want to do them.

I have a non-foldable buggy. This suits me fine because pretty much all the tube stations I use are step free access ones, and all of the bus journeys I do it is no problem to get off and walk or wait for another bus if there are two many buggys or there is a wheel chair.

If you are using buses lots look at the distance between the front and back wheels - the longer the better as bus drivers don't usually pull right up the the kerb so you quite often have quite a gap to 'stretch' the pushchair over.

If I was using stations with only escalators, or buses where I really didn't want to get off, sling plus foldable pushchair would be better.

MousyMouse Tue 25-Sep-12 11:19:11

baby jogger city mini I see a lot on the busses.
fits with other buggies in the wheelchair/buggy compartment and folds one handed just in case.
we used a carrier (ergo) a lot, especially good in crowded transport.

dabdab Tue 25-Sep-12 11:34:45

We used a bee in London on all sorts of transport. I almost always kept it up (eg did not fold it down). I personally feel safer going on the escalator with the baby in the pram and holding onto the handle bar tightly (obv!) rather than folding and trying to hold that and stuff and wriggly baby going down an escalator. You just have to be confident in your method, maybe do one practice first without the baby in. I found the bee very manouverable (sorry, cannot spell that word!), with the tight turning circle very handy in crowded shops etc. It's narrowness, and the fact that the handle can be collapsed easily is also quite a boon on buses and in the tube. I believe that it is wider at one end than the other (can't quite remember if it is the front or the back). The undercarriage storage is very handy and easy to use (Maclaren is useless on this front). The hood is fantastic on the bee, which is very good for shading/ shielding the baby.
The one thing I would say is that I did the handle in on the bee by holding onto it and bumping up and down steps, and then had to get it replaced (JL was very good about this), so I would recommend that when you come to stairs, ask for help! Failing that, hold onto the lower part of the handle (eg part of the frame) as opposed to the part of the handle that collapses.
The bee is expensive, but it is well engineered. We got a nearly new one on Ebay for quite a reduction in price, and it kept it's value when we subsequently sold it on.
I do think a Maclaren is the next best bet for when the child is older - part walking, part pushchair.

notcitrus Tue 25-Sep-12 12:36:00

I use buses and trains and tube all the time and got a Maclaren XT from birth - it goes flat and I got a luxurious muff for it. Easy to carry myself, and also can be wedged into the bus space behind the pole, so doesn't roll about.
However I check with Journey Planner a lot and since they put in lifts at Clapham Jn very rarely need stairs or escalators.
I folded on a bus last week for the first time in 3 years - folding the buggy was fine But getting someone to hold the baby while I stowed it was trickier, while ds found a seat.

Natashamay1982 Wed 26-Sep-12 12:26:48

I combine sling use with my Zia4+, which I've found great as folds up easily and compactly, and is really lightweight. you can also get a cocoon for this, which lifts out easily.

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