I'm Still Standing! Study on the buses.

Have you noticed how fickle people can be on public transport, especially buses? If the bus is half empty be wary of taking a front seat ie: those marked for the elderly... why? Because buses have a habit of filling up and once this happens you have 2 choices:

1) To sit comfortably whilst feeling guilty as the less able board
2) Give up your seat and practice counter-balancing skills instead for the duration of the journey.

It is so interesting to watch the way people behave when a lack of seats occurs. Very often a person will volunteer to give up their seat, usually whilst fully seated rather than by standing up first, to an elderly person who clearly has overdosed on the ‘yes I can’ attitude and declines, preferring to grip on to the pole for dear life and pretend they are quite comfortable doing so. The sensible ones accept politely!

The next category we will observe is very interesting, the ‘mortally offended vocal group’ who believe they are entitled to THAT SEAT! There are 2 easily recognizable species.

1) Those who want a seat, will not ask anyone to give theirs up but will complain about the lack of one in a very loud voice, discussing it with their friend. ‘ Oh no, we’ve got 10 stops to go on this bus and I am so tired after doing all this shopping and there’s not even one spare seat. I hope someone gets off in a minute before my legs give way...’ No-one will be entitled to any peace as long as they’re on their feet!

2) Direct attack! Oh yes, nothing subtle here. Straight to the jugular; ‘can’t you see that this old lady needs a seat? What’s wrong with you, you’re half her age. You should be ashamed of yourself just sitting there and expecting my friend to stand up.’ Sometimes the poor ‘offender’ is beaten into submission.

Whereas it is a matter of courtesy and common kindness to stand up for people who clearly are more in need of a seat than you, occasionally people’s needs are not obvious. The problem here occurs when the accuser does not know anything about the accused, who could be exhausted if in the early stages of pregnancy, suffering with a long term illness or injury and be in equal need of that seat.

Finally we have the buggy/wheelchair situation. I have noticed that young mums no longer close their buggy on the odd occasion when there is no more room to push it into the allocated slot and some seem to prefer to wait for another bus ... interesting! Even lively children are so often kept in their buggies.

Times change and our expectations change, some things for the better and some for the worse. Overall, whatever the general trend I believe that we should still have regard for others and be prepared to make minor sacrifices if called for.

Jaz McKenzie