18 January, 2014

Giving up seats on buses

I travel into work and back on the bus three days a week, so am very used to observing people’s behaviour when travelling on public transport.

As a girl I was brought up to believe that, on a crowded bus, it was the right thing to give my seat up to those less able to stand than myself, i.e. elderly people, pregnant women, people coping with young children, etc., etc. And I still adhere to that belief, even though I am now middle aged (although still, of course, perfectly able to stand on a bus).

It appears, however, that the majority of young people nowadays have not been brought up that way. I have often observed someone elderly and frail board the bus, and not a single young  person has offered their seat, even though they are often taking up spaces at the front of the bus that are expressly labelled as being for the less able or infirm. Usually it falls to someone older (like me) to accommodate.

This morning, a lady made her way to the back of the bus, announcing that she was pregnant and asking whether anyone would like to give up their seat. Someone immediately did.

When I was pregnant with my two children, I travelled to and from work every day on the bus. On the occasions when there were no free seats, I don’t recall anyone offering theirs to me. I certainly  wouldn’t have asked, and, to be honest, I was perfectly fit during both my pregnancies and able to stand fine, even at full term.

It seems a shame, though, that things have changed so much since my childhood and that these kinds of small courtesies have disappeared amongst the young. People are so absorbed in their ipods and themselves that they are apparently oblivious to the world around them. Or perhaps that’s just a convenient excuse...

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