Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Light-Rail Nightmare - A Tip for Moms with Babies in Strollers

Yesterday there was a light-rail disaster / nightmare (סיוט - "Siyut"). The purpose of this post is not to highlight the disaster, but to concentrate on what we - the public - need to do to take better care of ourselves in being prepared for... anything!

A mom with her 18 month old baby in stroller boarded the light-rail. Only thing is that the mother pushed the stroller with baby inside it onto the light-rail before ascending herself. The driver was "doing his job" (sic) and apparently did not have time to wait for the mother to get on, and closed the doors just a moment after the stroller (with baby inside) was "safely" on-board! Though passengers began shouting at the driver to open the doors and let the mother on, he replied that it was not his concern and that he could not wait any longer - he had a job to do and was doing it by continuing the journey of the light-rail.

One can only imagine the devastation the mother was experiencing at the moment as she wondered what would be with her child. Though the driver refused to give his name, people did photograph him and we can assume those on the rail would report the incident with photographs in hand! 

The seriousness of this story should awaken us all to further possible measures we must take in safeguarding our children and our possessions. Perhaps it would be a good idea for all moms to stitch in to their strollers an identity tag with at least a phone number on it, should her stroller (with baby in it) go missing. Just imagine this for a moment - passengers on the light-rail had no way of tracking down the mom to get the baby back to her again. Remember for a moment, an 18 month old baby does not know his phone number, address or even names of his parents other than Abba and Imma. Advertising in the papers or the like, that the baby had been found may not work either as it is also possible that many people could claim the child as theirs. It would take identifying marks etc. to prove who the real mother is - as the baby would be unable (via ordinary speech) to let others know who it's mother is. I have no doubt that with enough time they would succeed in putting it all together, but the frustration for the mother would be unbearable. 

Moms: Consider either stitching or at least attaching an identifying label with a contact number onto the stroller and a bracelet on baby's arm with contact info, rather like a medic-alert bracelet. It may not necessarily have to include your name, address or any other personal details (which may lead to further problems!) But a contact number will at least offer a minimum aid for others to be able to return the child easily should something like this ever happen.

Remember: Public transport in Israel has its advantages! It does not mean that drivers will not be closing doors on you (often causing injury!) or refusing to let you on, or simply not stopping the bus when they should. Unfortunately it has become the responsibility of the passenger to look out for themselves in all these matters. 

Take care! When boarding a bus or other public transport, watch carefully as you board to see if the door is closing on you. Be at the bus stop a few minutes before to make sure you have the best chance of boarding without missing your bus or being caught in the doors. Be prepared to disembark when the bus stops rather than have to deal with shouting at the driver - and again possibly having the doors closed on you or separating from others you are traveling with.

The bus company and probably light rail company will usually favour the side of the driver in almost every instance! When using a bus ticket that is to be punched, check the driver as he punches it. He will often punch the wrong side (when using combination tickets) or click more than once thinking you have boarded with someone else etc. It is the passengers duty to check all these things and be responsible for himself. Don't leave your ticket in your shirt pocket before doing the laundry! Bus companies have no sympathy and even if the ticket looks only slightly marred, drivers will refuse to accept them! The bus company will not reimburse you or offer another ticket for the now-unusable ticket!

Be prepared for anything - and most of all, take care of your own health and security, and the health and security of your family - and all those around you!

נסיעה טובה - "Nesiah Tova" - Have a Great Journey - as they say!

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