So I’ve named this blog* “man with a pram in a tram”, not only for the snazzy alliteration, but also as this is another one of those pressing first world parent problems; namely can a man (or woman) with a pram fit on a tram?
Well the short answer is yes, the shorter answer is no, and the correct answer is yes and no. You see it all depends on the tram (not all trams being equal), the pram (not all prams being equal), and I guess the man (not all mans** being equal).
So firstly THE PRAMS. As you are not doubt all well aware, prams come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and odours (especially after being used by less than fastidious babies), and this affects how well they interact with the trams. As we have neither the time or space to do a review of every different pram I will instead categorize them into three…… categories – strollers by which I mean the little light things that fold up to fit into a matchbox but would come out worse in a collision with a marshmallow, prams (see the pram I use via this ← link) for your standard infant/toddler conveyance, and octomum prams by which I mean don’t even bother these are bigger than the tram itself! Basically a stroller will be easier to get onto any tram although for those with stairs (see trams below) you may need to decant little one and do some stroller origami. A pram will have a hard time getting on any non low floor tram without the assistance of a kind hearted stranger, and an octomum pram probably couldn’t fit through the door of any tram (or an aircraft hanger).
Now onto THE MANS. Ask yourself are you the type of man to board a tram? Are you the type of man to push a pram? If the answer is: “if it’s got wheels but no V8 (not the juice) then I’m not touching it!” Then you are not the type of man to fit a pram on a tram. If the answer is: “trams are so mainstream these days, I only catch autogyros!” You are not the kind of hipster/man to fit a pram on a tram. If the answer is: “I’ve got a screaming baby, a full nappy (on the baby we hope), a spew smelling jumper and am running late for House Husbands!” Then you may be the kind of man to fit a pram on a tram.
And finally, THE TRAMS. Here is a quick list of the trams currently in use on Melbourne’s network, along with how pram friendly they are out of ten. One being: may as well attempt to board an irritable porcupine, five being: some manual lifting may be required, and ten being: put your feet up on the provided (massaging) ottoman and call the butler for a drink.
W-CLASS TRAMS 1/10
The iconic Melbourne….. ummm, icon? rates high for classic looks and tourist photo shoots but very poorly for pram accessibility. Steep narrow stairs will have you cursing your lack of a Sherpa whilst manhandling little one under one arm, the pram folded up as well as possible under the other, and your five bags of leaking shopping artfully strung over your neck; then to top it off there’s another stair inside, not to mention the severe lack of space. Don’t bother unless escaping an apocalyptic zombie horde.
Z-CLASS TRAMS 2/10
Pretty much the same as the W-class except without the internal stair and the iconic status. At least with the W-class you may end up in a tourist brochure.
A-CLASS TRAMS 3/10
This class suffers from the same steep stairs access as the W & Z-classes but has a little bit more room to maneuver, bumping up it’s rating. Having said that the hand rail that divides the stairwell in half is quite a pain for the pram toting commuter.
B-CLASS TRAMS 4/10
Photo from here (public domain).
Similar to the A-class but even bigger, If you manage to get the pram up the stairs you can find some room in the articulated middle section. This tram also suffers from an inconveniently located hand rail.
C-CLASS TRAMS 8/10
Here we see the first of the modern low floor trams, this means there are no stairs to get in or out. The only time you’ll need to lift the pram is if you’re boarding or exiting the tram from a non-platform stop – admittedly the majority of stops – something usually within the capabilities of most prams. Once inside park the pram in the spacious middle section and enjoy the gentle rocking motion soothe little one to sleep whilst enjoying one of the complementary brochures about the upcoming changes to route 109.
D-CLASS TRAMS 9/10
The other modern low floor tram, this one scores higher as it seems just a little bit roomier (real or imagined I’m not sure). Like the C-class it has no stairs, a large open section in the middle purposefully designed for those using wheeled transport. Definitely the cream of the crop.
So there you have it, just remember to touch on and touch off and your pram/tram/man interactions will be smooth sailing.
* Is it just me or do others find it funny that the word blog is not recognized by the spell-checker in wordpress. Surely a blog site would make the word blog an acceptable word. Go away red squiggly lines!
** Again excuse the alliteration.