Ah, public transport. The place where you realise the disconnection in our society.
Every single day there will be groups of children during peak morning hours sitting down with groups of their school friends or using their bags as their passengers sitting next to them, while elderly and disabled people stand.
On the peak home time travel there will be business men and women with their laptop bags on the seats next to them, or lots of shopping bags filling up the aisles with no room to hold on.
There will be elderly standing, mothers and fathers holding onto their children while trying to hold on to the poles for support. There will be people standing in the disabled spot, as well as not making room for prams. The list goes on!
Overtime, I would be lying if I said it hasn’t begun to grind my gears.
I began speaking up.
I began asking people to move when I was standing near someone who required a seat and someone more than able would be sitting down mindlessly on their phone not caring for their surroundings.
Not only were the people sitting acting surprise, like they had not noticed the elderly folk surrounding them, but the elderly would be surprised that I mentioned anything. It’s that common for them to be ignored on public transport, they are chuffed when anyone shows any form of manners. It’s crazy.
I have heard stories where my mother would tell me of her journeys and no one would offer her a seat when they saw her standing and that would drive me bonkers. I hate the thought of her travelling when she isn’t in the best of health and no one cares to ask her if she would like to sit down.
The thing is, where is the harm in asking? The chances are, if they don’t need to sit down they will smile and say no thank you, but appreciate that you asked. Not only does that make them feel good, but it would make you feel good too for reaching out.
Now that I am nearing the end of my pregnancy, I could not be more annoyed at people who travel with me on public transport. I can count the amount of people who have actually offered their seat, and that is one person.
I travel twice a day, to and from work. Five days a week. Only asked once.
I look clear as day pregnant, mind you. Please spare me the excuse of “Well, how could I tell if she is just over weight or pregnant?”.
I have no alternative option to get to work, public transport is my only option.
I have merely weeks to go with my pregnancy, my body aches and my feet swell. I wouldn’t dare want to know what the world would be like if a man was pregnant, there would be all sorts of systems in place for these kinds of situations.
People forget to realise travelling while standing when you are pregnant is dangerous. I can’t fall over – not just because it would be significantly difficult to get back up but I need to ensure that I look after not only myself but my bub.
When I was in my first few weeks of pregnancy, my tram got into an accident and a lady fell on top of me. I was too nervous to ask anyone for a seat because I was clearly not showing during my pregnancy at that time, but the lady who fell on top of me clawed me and hurt my stomach. I still think that is why I was bleeding, because it must have done something. Luckily everything is okay, but this is why it’s so dangerous to be travelling while standing.
This is why they have signs for priority seats on public transport for:
The amount of people that do not pay attention to the signs on public transport is outstanding. Half of the people you see sitting in those priority seats are middle age business men in suits, young women on their phones or school children.
I was curious and Googled about people’s thoughts of people who travel needing seating, and the comments were appalling.
People believe it’s first in best served.
They believe that they pay for their way just as much as anyone else, and if they get a seat they’re entitled to it.
Some comments in relation to pregnancy was that they did not ask for you to be pregnant, so they shouldn’t have to sacrifice their seat for your choice, your decision.
The majority of people were saying that they shouldn’t be taking public transport.
These people are the kind that if they were elderly, disabled or pregnant they would be the first to complain.
These people would demand people to give up their seat if their parents needed seats, if they had friends who were disabled or if their wife or sister was pregnant. Yet, they would not do it for anyone themselves.
It may be hard for some people to speak out and ask for a seat.
These are just people. Keep in mind how hard it would be to approach a stranger and ask if they can sit down instead of you. Who knows how you may react, you could tell them to get lost for all they know. You may not even realise that they need a seat, I understand that. It is tricky to know.
If you see that your tram, bus, train or whatever you’re using is filling up maybe don’t take the last few seats.
Maybe choose to stand for a bit, until there are more seats. This saves the awkward struggle of not knowing if someone needs it.
Even now that I am pregnant, I will still offer my seat to elderly or the disabled. I don’t believe that I deserve a seat over them, no chance. As much as I need to sit, I truly believe that elderly and disabled need to be safe and sat down first over anyone else.
My main wish for the future is that people think about others.
I really truly hope that when my bub is older that the way of the society has changed, where manners and respect is brought back out to play. I know for sure in my heart I will be raising them to treat people how they wish to be treated.
Next time you are using public transport and you are more than able to stand, take a look around you and offer your seat!