Travelling by train with children

(97 Posts)
Bgsh Mon 31-Dec-12 11:05:20

Apologies if this topic is an old chestnut but a quick search does not show it's one that has been discussed. Travelling by train, I am happy to offer my seat to anyone who needs it more, especially anyone who is pregnant, travelling with a small child etc. What do other parents feel is courteous? My daughter, travelling wi her 9 month old daughter on a busy train did find a seat but was distressed to see others carrying babies having to stand while parents with tiny children took a seat each. As a grandma, I am aware that what is acceptable changes over time but I would be grateful to know how modern mums see this dilemma.

manicbmc Mon 31-Dec-12 11:09:12

People are dicks. I saw a man carrying a year old child and commandeering his 4 year old to their reserved seats which others had sat in and they argued like hell because there were no reservation tickets because there had been a printer problem. I felt really sorry for him. The people did move eventually. But they should have done so anyway.

kim147 Mon 31-Dec-12 11:10:44

I can't believe parents with babies or young children have to stand. DS and I were on a busy train yesterday. He sat on my lap as it was busy - no effort to me or him.

And if someone who was struggling was there, I would expect both of us to stand.

My friend and I were left standing on a train over the summer.

She was on a set of crutches, I had a walking stick, and my 5yo was with us.

Everyone just pretended not to notice. People can be idiots on public transport.

atthewelles Mon 31-Dec-12 11:19:19

I think people have got very rude about not offering seats on public transport - particularly school children who never ever seem to stand up for elderly or pregnant people. It also really annoys me when parents won't take a small child on their lap so that someone else can have a seat. Sometimes you see parents with two small children who could free up two seats for elderly people standing but just don't bother to do so. Very rude and inconsiderate.

manicbmc Mon 31-Dec-12 11:20:56

The worst ones, I find, are those in their 20s-40s who take up a seat with their handbag and then ignore anyone if the bus/train is full. Mainly women do this.

TotallyBS Mon 31-Dec-12 11:21:20

The 'norm' where I live (North London) is that seats get given up for pregnant women, women with babies or toddlers and senior citizens. The whole carriage doesn't exactly leap up to offer their seat but someone inevitably does.

Having said that, baby holding moms usually travel with a push chair and rather than fold/unfold they stick close to the door.

HollyBerryBush Mon 31-Dec-12 11:24:18

A price to be paid for 'equality' - I (female) have been snarled at for offering an apparently pregnant woman a seat on the tube. I've seen men have their heads bitten off when being chivalrous and offering a lady a sea on a packed train.

Common courtesy would dictate you offer a seat to someone in need, male or female, young or elderly - but I can fully understand why people don't. Manners are very much lacking today

Svrider Mon 31-Dec-12 11:25:27

It can work the other way too
I was blush when a young disabled chap, in obvious pain insisted on standing for my 4yo, who can easily stand

EmpressOfThePuddle Mon 31-Dec-12 11:26:11

I ask people with bags on seats / people sitting in aisle seats with the window seat free if I can sit.

They might glare at me but they've never said no.

FestiveElement Mon 31-Dec-12 11:28:43

I think this is a really difficult one because there are many legitimate reasons that someone might not offer a seat that cannot be seen easily.

Of course it would be nice if people were more considerate towards people who are obviously struggling, and if people don't have a genuine reason for needing their seat then they should give it up to someone who does need it. The problem comes when we leave people to decide what their genuine reasons are.

To some, a genuine reason may be that they have been at work all day and are knackered.

I think train companies need to put their priority seating stickers on more than one or two seats per carriage so that the rules are clear as to who is more entitled to a seat.

Binkybix Mon 31-Dec-12 11:29:03

I always ask someone whose bag is taking up a seat to move it!

I thought I would balance this by saying that we were on a v busy train, sitting on a group of 4 around a table, opposite some teenage boys in a larger group. The second one of them saw an elderly couple walking past and standing further along, and he went out of his way to follow him and give up his seat, and ensure his friends did too. He called him 'sir' too. Made me well up in my crazy or moral pregnant state.

Later, more people got on and more of the boys (and my DH) gave up seats, so they're not all bad.

noblegiraffe Mon 31-Dec-12 11:33:49

I was ignored by a trainful of passengers when I was pregnant and carrying a toddler. So I sat in First Class for free, where there was plenty of room.

RugBugsWearingLittleSantaHats Mon 31-Dec-12 11:37:46

I travel between London and a NW city quite often and I never travel without seat reservations for all of us.
DD is two but she's always had a seat purchased for her, if the train is hideously busy the buggy/luggage is piled onto it.
Our last journey earlier this month a young couple got the hump when we asked them to move from our reserved seat, we had three across a table and they wanted us to give up one of our reservations for them.

I've never had one single person give up a priority seat on a southern train, I invariable have to stand with the buggy/sleeping baby in the door area and get in everyone else's way

LadyKinbote Mon 31-Dec-12 11:47:46

I think most people are decent and offer a seat if it's fairly obvious you need one but occasionally I've asked politely "could I have a seat please?" and have only once been refused. I ask on other people's behalf as well.

LadyKinbote Mon 31-Dec-12 11:48:55

Just realised I'm talking about the tube rather than the train which may have different etiquette!

I'm always shock. at this. once when pregnant on a bus, an elderly man asked a young lad to give his seat for me- the boy remarked quite nastily- 'she got her self knocked up- its not mine, not my problem mate', the older man then rose to give me his own seat, hitting the lad over the head with his walking stick, accidentally of coursesmile , the remaining passengers applaudedgrin it was very amusing all in all. (the young lad got off at the next stop, so why he made such a fuss is beyond me)

ItsALongWayToPickAWilly Mon 31-Dec-12 11:54:19

On most of our local trains there is no space to leave a pushchair safely so me and DS always end up stood out in the boarding bit.
If we manage to get a train with space to leave the pushchair then I will normally give him a seat to himself. If its busy he sits on my knee.

This is why I've been too scared to take DS on any long train journeys. I'd pay for a seat for him, but if the train got busy i'd feel I had to put him on my knee. This would be fine for about three minutes, but I suspect the meltdown that would follow would have the whole carriage wishing i'd just left him in his seat!

manicinsomniac Mon 31-Dec-12 11:58:39

I don't live in London but go there quite often and rarely see anyone in need not being given a seat. I think most people are decent.

It can be difficult and embarrassing though. I often an elderly lady my seat on the tube on Saturday and she looked very upset and said, 'it's ok dear, I'm not too old to stand yet.' I don't know who was more embarrassed, her or me.

So maybe the fear of making a wrong judgement call keeps healthy people in their seats too often, I don't know.

Startail Mon 31-Dec-12 12:04:53

Offering seats can be very nearly impossible.

DDs and I know that our train tends to be on the platform early and DD2 tends to have reached shopping tolerance.

When you look up and there are 8 people standing in the doorway, you can hardly walk the length of the carriage and say,

"Hi you look a bit old or a bit pregnant would you like my seat" I think they would be mortified.

Yes if you are in the seat by the door and someone is obviously uncomfortable, but otherwise it's really difficult.

Also, I'd much rather have stood than put DD2 on my knee (she climbed about and fidggited), but no one wants to sit next to someone else's toddler.

MissPricklePants Mon 31-Dec-12 12:06:01

I have travelled from south yorks to south wales often with dd, when she was approx 18 months I had to stand the entire way even though I had reserved seats as there was nowhere to put the pushchair and my luggage! I was fuming! I always book a seat for dd (she is 3.7) as I refuse to stand up for 6 hours on a train again!!

Startail Mon 31-Dec-12 12:07:03

Appologies to DD2 she can sit nicely it was her sister who wanted to stand on the table.

whois Mon 31-Dec-12 12:07:19

If you want a seat on a national rail service, then book a seat.

If you need a seat then just ask for one!! It shouldn't be up to the person sitting down to decide how pregnant/elderly/disabled you are, you need to come out and ask for a seat. Also pg in london should wear the 'baby on board' badge on the tube. Really helps with the should I/shouldn't I is she just fat dilemma.

Some women are fucking horrible tho, I saw a man get snarled at for offering his seat (the priority one) to what looked like a pg lady last week. And I was walking with a male friend through some doors which he held open for me and then paused to hold the door for the woman behind and she gave him a look of hatred and bitched "I am capable of opening they myself you know" oh righ, so he should have just let it swing shut in your face? Cow. Doesn't cost much to smile...

mellowcat Mon 31-Dec-12 12:09:26

I was (standing) on a busy overcrowded train the other day. A group of women in their twenties got on and immediately started saying loudly how disgusting it was that nobody offered their friend who was pregnant a seat. The girl was not noticeably pregnant and they got really aggressive towards one bloke in particular (I think he must have commented). Another guy gave the girl his seat and it became noticeable that the guy had a disability. When the train cleared a little, the pregnant woman's friends legged it to the free seats but guess what...did not offer any of their seats to the guy who gave his up.

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