Madrid is the flagship of the public transport sector in Spain. The fleet of buses belonging to the Municipal Transport Company (EMT) carried a total of 405,923,047 passengers in 2015. This figure underlines the huge demand for local buses in Madrid and we can only imagine the multitude of possible needs their users may have. In this respect, the question is: What services does the EMT offer to parents or caregivers traveling with babies? How can we guarantee the safety of our children on local journeys?
The Children´s Road Safety regulations do not contain any specific rules about local bus services. The average journey time on EMT buses is 20 minutes. During the journey, it is the responsibility of the parent or caregiver to guarantee the child´s safety, whether they decide to leave the child in its buggy or use the certified baby seat provided by the bus company.
If you decide to leave the child in its buggy
If you are using an EMT bus and you have your own buggy, you should bear in mind that the company allows both single and double buggies (whether tandem or parallel) depending on the occupancy level of the bus. At present, the corporation runs two types of buses.
- Buses with a single central platform
Only one baby buggy per bus is permitted, provided that there is not already a wheelchair or another baby buggy on board.
- Buses with a widened central platform
Up to two unfolded baby buggies may travel at the same time, or one wheelchair and one baby buggy.
Baby buggies must be positioned in the central platform with the brake enabled.
Babies should face in the opposite direction of travel to the bus and be secured by harnesses.
Double baby buggies in which the babies face each other are not permitted.
Apart from the usual precautions to guarantee the child´s safety, it is important for the adult concerned to bear certain other factors in mind. As you will probably need to be standing up to keep an eye on the buggy, you must keep a tight hold of the security bar or a seat back so you don´t lose your balance in the event of sudden braking or a change of direction, which might cause you to fall on top of the child.
Since 2008, all new buses in the fleet have been equipped for two buggies to travel at the same time on the central platform and as a result of passengers´ demands this space has been set up for use by double baby buggies, an added advantage for users with these special needs. Today there are 945 EMT buses in circulation with this widened central platform to provide the best possible service for its users. This represents half of the entire fleet.
The EMT is planning to launch 200 new buses which will require the manufacturer to install a double platform designed to carry two double baby buggies, or two wheelchairs, or one baby buggy and one wheelchair at the same time.
If you decide to use the bus´s baby seat
Since 2008, every new bus in the EMT fleet has had to have fully certified baby seats on board as a child restraint system. Today there are 615 buses, of a total of 1,900, with this service. The baby seats are installed in the opposite direction to the direction of travel and are suitable for children aged up to 18 months weighing a maximum of 30 kilos.
The work undertaken by EMT to support accessibility has been recognized twice by CERMI (the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities) which has hailed the policies of Madrid´s Municipal Transport Company to guarantee more accessible services for users with baby buggies, people with special mobility needs, wheelchair users, etc.
As prevention is the most important thing, if you´re going to be traveling by bus with children, whether locally or further afield, we recommend you check the advice in the article: ‘If traveling by bus, this is what you can do to make your child safer’.