I take exception to the disregard of notices which ask the commuter to be considerate from not putting feet on the seats to giving up priority seats when someone unable to stand enters a train carriage. Sometime ago on my ride to the office an elderly lady entered the train carriage I was in and had to struggle to support herself and find a seat in the middle of the carriage whilst the four ‘priority’ seats in the carriage were occupied by young-ish able bodied people. She took one step at a time and appeared rather gingerly. Her face showed distinct discomfort at having to brace herself on her walking stick on a moving train. These four people were sitting in the only four seats, in the carriage, designated as ‘priority seats’ – only four seats c’mon! Only four seats and they could not even allow one of the eligible passengers fitting the description on the notice to occupy one of those four seats designated in the carriage! Neither of the people seated in the ‘priority seat’ were disabled, pregnant, elderly or carrying a baby. I was really amazed at how brazen these commuters were in their total disregard for a sign that clearly says ‘priority seat’ and also specifies who could sit on these seats. One was texting away on her blackberry and had absolutely forgotten about the specially designated seat she occupied. The guy opposite her clutched his knapsack and sat there gazing into nothing , also forgot the designated seating he occupied. The fellow sat at the other end had his earphones blasting music that could wake the dead! He was oblivious to the other commuters – I sat 5 seats away from him but could hear the annoying music! He too occupied a ‘priority seat’ and the woman sat opposite him was no lady in my book! as she read in total oblivion to the fact that she sat in a designated seat meant for those who are unable to stand on their two feet on a moving train.
Who are these priority seats really for? I understand that these seats can be occupied by anyone at anytime until a person fitting the description given in the notice enters the carriage. Why did the four people not stand up when the elderly lady entered the carriage who was assisted by an elderly male who I presumed is her husband? She had a walking cane in one hand and struggled to grab hold of the metal support with her other hand as the train began to move away from that station. The knapsack-clutcher and the blackberry texter did nothing at all! I expected them to look up from whatever they were doing because the seats they occupied were free until someone who was unable to stand entered the carriage, such as the elderly lady.
I was thinking that perhaps because there were extra seats available, the ‘gang of four’ did not think it necessary to immediately give up the designated seat they were sat in? Could that have been the reason? Is the notice too small to read or was the message not clear enough? Or is it that some commuters don’t have good manners or is it just plain selfishness and disrespect!
Three suggestions for TFL:
- Make the lettering on the notice bigger just like some of the ads displayed inside the train carriages.
- Print the notice also on the glass divider in bold colours such as orange or green – a colour that can stand out.
- Just as the commuter is cautioned verbally to ‘mind the gap’ so should a similar announcement be made to make communters aware of who is entitled to the ‘priority’ seats in each carriage. For this last one, each individual needs to show a caring side and most do but the four highligted commuters on this particular day were morons!
Priority Seat: Why doesn’t it make sense to some! Have we become too individualistic that we can get away with irresponsibility as in this case. Me thinks it’s time to think again!