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Mother denied access to bus over stroller

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local mother of two newborn babies is outraged with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority after she said a driver would not allow her to get on the bus with her children still in the stroller Monday afternoon.

According to JTA's rules, all passengers with strollers must fold the cargo and hold children on their lap. But Sharon Burden, the mother of twins is angry because she said that's not the safest way to transport children.

"If someone hits the bus on the back or if the bus stops on the brake or even if the bus accidentally hits someone, my arms aren't secure enough to keep them from flying out my arms and who's going to replace my children?" Burden said.

Burden said she used the bus twice earlier in the day, and those drivers allowed her to sit in the wheelchair accessible section while the twins remained in the stroller. But she said on her last leg home, the third bus driver and his supervisor told her that was against the company's policy to do so.

"Knowing that my kids head can (bend forward), that's why I have these things here to secure their head. That's why I have this strapped on for them, so that if something happens this could be in place, and I wouldn't be at risk for losing my two children, but I worked, it took a long time for these kids to come," said Burden.

News4Jax spoke to JTA who said both the operator and supervisor followed the company's transit patron code of conduct. Number 22 in the code of conduct states that "infant strollers and similar articles must be folded prior to boarding a JTA vehicle." JTA also said that rule is in place to secure their highest priority, which is the safety of their passengers.

But Burden said that way is not the safest and wants the company to consider revising its current rules.

"People who have multiple children, how do you make it so they can utilize your bus? They made it for the wheelchair people. Are you discriminating against me because I have more than one child? Because that's how I felt," she said.

Burden said she won't be taking the bus any time soon, and she will be making recommendations to JTA when the company's annual survey comes out.