Our guide to conquering public transport with a baby

We all know how getting out of the house with your baby can be a struggle on the best of days. Long gone are the weekends of leaving the house with nothing but your keys and phone; beholden to no one but the stiff drink waiting for you at the bar. So, how the f*ck do you travel with your baby on public transportation without it being an anxiety-inducing nightmare? 

Whether you’re contemplating public transport with your baby to save money, or save the environment (we love to see it), or you and your babe are weekending in a different state, knowing how to get around with your baby in tow is important, and it doesn’t have to be a sh*t time. 

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to navigating public transport with a baby so that you can get around (relatively) stress-free. Let’s dive in!

Before you even leave the house

Plan, plan, plan

OK, so this may seem obvious, but when caring for a newborn, planning ahead should never be underestimated. If you’re taking your baby on public transport, then you need to know your way around, the best time to travel that aligns with your baby’s sleeping schedule and whether there are lifts or escalators where you’re going. There’s truly nothing more daunting than being stranded at the top of a flight of stairs with a pram!

Learn the timetable like a boss

This is one of our top tips for travelling with a baby if your life aspirations include being a public transport pro. Live updated timetables are one of the best things to come from this century and they also make catching public transport with a baby ten times easier. So, have a cheeky Google of the timetable while planning, or simply look at your Google Maps app for transport routes, and avoid arriving too early or missing the bus or train entirely.

Consider ditching the pram 

If you have a baby, prams can be an absolute lifesaver most of the time. But when it comes to taking your baby on public transport, it can be a good idea to leave the pram at home and opt for one of your cute AF swaddles or that baby carrier you never use, but should. Trust us on this. 

Have travel cards ready

When catching public transport with a baby, efficiency is key—ain’t no one got time to fumble around in their handbag or nappy bag trying to find those goddamn opal cards. Get them out so you’re ready and raring to go. We can guarantee the passengers behind you will be thanking us later. 

Don’t be scared to ask for help

There’s nothing wrong with doing things the good old-fashioned way and asking for some help. If you need help carrying your pram, or are lost or confused, we can guarantee other passengers will always be more than willing to help a new mama out.

Check for child fares

The good news is that if you’re taking your baby on public transport, you usually won’t have to pay for their ticket. This means one less opal card to worry about—yay! Make sure you check whether the service you will be on has child fares and what the cut-off age is. 

Once it’s time to hop on board 

Will I survive taking a pram on the bus?

If you’ve got a baby, pram or no pram, travelling on a bus with a little one in tow ain’t always easy. Depending on the bus, some can lower at the door so they are closer to the kerb or have an access ramp. If you’re lucky enough to get an accessible bus, there’s a special area for baby prams and wheelchairs near the front for you to park up. All you have to do is make sure the baby and pram are secured, with the pram brake on and attach the restraining device that’s on the bus through the pram handle.

Sometimes, you may be asked to fold and store your baby pram in the luggage rack if there’s not enough space. If this is the case, we suggest waiting for the next bus to save the hassle! If you don’t have a pram, you and your baby are allowed in the accessible seats at the front of the bus and all you have to do is keep your little one in your lap, a baby carrier or wrapped in a swaddle for the ride. 

How do I travel on a train with a baby?

If you’re taking your baby on public transport via train, there are a few little things to keep in mind. If it’s just a short, inter-city trip, you can sit wherever you like, as long as your baby is with you (however, Transport NSW recommends boarding the train near the guard’s compartment for extra safety.)

If you’re going on a regional trip, you may need to fold up your baby’s pram and store it in the luggage section. And if your baby happens to drop a poonami while you’re in transit, there are fold-down change tables on board! Crisis averted. 

Will my baby enjoy a ferry ride as much as I do?

One of the best tips for travelling with a baby is to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, which is why travelling by ferry is ideal if you’re lucky enough to live in the harbourside city. Ferries are pram accessible, just ensure you put the brake on—chasing a runaway pram doesn’t really fit the ‘enjoyable’ brief.

If you are travelling without a pram, hold your little one close and remain seated the entire journey as the ferry can get a bit bumpy. 

How do I travel on the light rail with a baby?

With not many seats and lots of space, it’s super easy to park up your pram wherever you want on the light rail. But, if it’s packed, it’s best to wait for the next one so you can find space. This is also a good idea if you’re travelling with just your baby, prams not included, so you don’t have to stand up. And FYI, Transport NSW suggests you don’t enter the rear or front single doors with a pram. 

If you want some extra info… 

We’ve given you the highlights reel, but if you’re keen to read more about public transport in-depth, Transport NSW has loads of information on travelling with prams and young children

If you’re looking for travel advice more specific to your region, head to these websites for all your transport info needs:

All that’s left to do now is enjoy being a confident mama-about-town, at least until your little one is old enough to run away from you.

Read next: How to travel with your baby

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