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Children first on public transport

(54 Posts)
Vintageclock Tue 24-Sep-13 14:14:23

A friend of a colleague is just back from one of the Scandinavian countries -Denmark, I think - and apparently the norm there is for people with children to go to the top of the queue, and for passengers to get off the bus if someone with children wants to get on and there is no room.

Anyone know if this is true? And if so, aibu to think it's completely daft and a totally ott attempt at being 'family friendly'?

lainiekazan Tue 24-Sep-13 14:51:03

There was a thread a while ago started by someone who felt entitled to go to the front of the taxi queue at, I can't remember, Waterloo or somewhere because they had children.

I think the consensus was that she was BVVVU !!

enderwoman Tue 24-Sep-13 14:58:40

Sounds crazy.
I let people with prams, wriggly pre-schoolers or multiple young children cut in front of me when it comes to the bus queue but I wouldn't be getting off or consider them higher priority than a wheelchair user, someone elderly or someone with an obvious disability like using crutches.

Hegsy Tue 24-Sep-13 15:03:08

I'd give up my seat for a mum and baby/wriggly toddler and stand or let them nip in front of me if there was only us in the queue but I wouldn't get off the bus.....seems a bit OTT

Tailtwister Tue 24-Sep-13 15:04:00

I've never heard of this, but the Scandinavian countries are very child orientated in lots of other ways, so it wouldn't surprise me. I always let people with children sit down before me, but I wouldn't expect to have to get off a bus for them!

CoffeeTea103 Tue 24-Sep-13 15:07:14

Unreasonable, ridiculous and time wasting. Who decides who should get off the bus?

Vintageclock Tue 24-Sep-13 15:19:06

It's not just the getting off the bus. But if I had been standing in the freezing cold for twenty minutes waiting for a bus and a parent and a young child arrived at the stop just as the bus drew up and there was only room for a couple of passengers I would be furious if I was expected to stand back and let them on while I continued to wait.

DidoTheDodo Tue 24-Sep-13 15:20:33

I must be old. In my day, children stood back to let adults on the bus first. And stood up for adults if there were no seats.

(Goes off to eat a bag of Werther's originals)

redexpat Tue 24-Sep-13 15:43:40

I've not experienced anything like that in 6 years in Denmark. I had to tell my danish Girl Guides very firmly to shift their arses out of the priority seats on the bus for the man with the pram when we visited Copenhagen. Showing consideration for others on public transport was a totally new concept for them. I have people falling over themselves to help when I'm in the UK. I've never had anyone offer so much as to hold the door open in Denmark.

I miss the UK sometimes.

DidoTheDodo Tue 24-Sep-13 15:44:50

redexpat That is very heartening to hear.

UptheChimney Tue 24-Sep-13 16:03:40

* must be old. In my day, children stood back to let adults on the bus first. And stood up for adults if there were no seats. (Goes off to eat a bag of Werther's originals)*

On another public transport thread, we're making badges for the Old Fogies club. I remember being the child with a bus pass who HAD to give up my seat for any full-fare paying adult.

And of course I was taught to give up my seat from an early age. I still do give up my seat for elderly women. Even on the Tube. And I'm old enough to be a grandmother when my DS stops gallivanting around the world

BinarySolo Tue 24-Sep-13 16:08:53

Maybe they have a far more reliable and frequent bus service. It's still madness tho.

froken Tue 24-Sep-13 16:12:56

haven't heard of a kids go first rule on buses in Stockholm but then I have never been on a full bus, tge public transport is amazing here so it's rare that demand is greater than supply.

Parents with pushchairs get free bus travel.

There are 2 pushchair spots on a bus and one wheelchair spot, a pushchair would not be expected to move out of a pushchair spot if the wheelchair was already occupied by another wheelchair and a 2nd wheelchair wanted to get on ( but obviously would be expected to move if they were in the wheelchair spot)

The only times I have been given the choice to push in has been when boarding a plane and at passport control.

A child would nearly always be offered a seat on a bus or train, an old or disabled person would rarely be offered a seat.

BrandiBroke Tue 24-Sep-13 16:19:43

As a child I always, always had to give up my seat for an adult. I didn't mind, I used to be quite proud of myself for letting someone else sit down.

I don't have children of my own yet but when I've been out with nephews and nieces I've made them stand up for people or sit on my lap.

I left London about 9 years ago and every time I go back to visit there are fewer and fewer people who get up to offer seats to those in need. I find it really sad.

UptheChimney Tue 24-Sep-13 16:19:57

A child would nearly always be offered a seat on a bus or train, an old or disabled person would rarely be offered a seat

That seems very wrong to me.

Vintageclock Tue 24-Sep-13 16:53:45

A child would nearly always be offered a seat on a bus or train, an old or disabled person would rarely be offered a seat. [quote]

That is shocking. I wonder what kind of message that is sending to children.

5Foot5 Tue 24-Sep-13 17:04:47

That might explain something that happened to me at Heathrow when DD was a baby. I was travelling alone with her (to Sydney shock). It was a night flight and unfortunately there was a problem so, after sitting on the tarmac for a few hours, we were finally told in the wee small hours that we would have to get off, reclaim our bags, and then we would be taken by coach to airport hotels.

So anyway I was standing in a longish queue outside the terminal building in the middle of a chilly night in October with a baby in my arms. Suddenly this foreign lady (I though at the time she was German but maybe she was Scandinavian) grabbed hold of me and said "But you must go to the front and get on the next coach". I was a bit taken aback and all the English people in the queue were muttering things like "I say we are all queueing". But this lady was very forceful and insisted "No, no she has a baby".

Anyway, what could I do? grin She got me on to the next coach in front of everyone.

froken Tue 24-Sep-13 17:31:00

The lack of standing up for old/disabled people has really upset me in the past, I have spoken with some of my Swedish friends about it and they say that the reason people do not offer seats to elderly people or people with a disability is because it is seen as rude to assume that the person with a disability/older person is in need of a seat. The same with pregnant people, it is assumed that everyone is able to stand because to assume otherwise means you are judging that person and that is a big no no in Sweden. Everone is equal or so they like to believe

Children are pretty much the only memebers of society that are seen as vulnerable or needing special treatment, what would be called gentle or attachment parenting is just how the Swedes tend to parent, the right to choose is part of the pre school curriculum.

The children go out on outings at least once a week (on public transport because it is free) so you often see an entire class of 3/4 year old getting on a bus. I think that children under about 7 should be given a seat (older kids would not be offered a seat) because they don't have the same ballence or concentration as adults and also because kids are so small and it is pretty scary being at crotch height on a crowded bus/train.

The message that it is giving the children is that society is looking out for them.

FlapJackFlossie Tue 24-Sep-13 17:49:56

If you think arthritis pain and my dicky heart are going to give way to a fit, healthy 4 years old........you've got another think coming !!

Idespair Tue 24-Sep-13 17:53:45

Kind of odd to get off to let children on. People without kids have paid to use a service and once they are on, it seems disgraceful to chuck them off!

YouTheCat Tue 24-Sep-13 17:54:21

waves at other old fogies grin

BlackeyedSusan England Tue 24-Sep-13 17:58:25

copenhagen has a better rail system. there is lods of room for bikes, buggies, -prams, suitcases. the bus was very crowded and some of the passengers were lucky I did not vomit down them. I had terrible morning sickness.

froken Tue 24-Sep-13 18:07:48

The problem is that you don't know that someone has health issues just by looking at them and thinking they are over 65. When I really needed a seat late in pregnancy (once when I was feeling dizzy) I asked and was given a seat.

Many (if not most) older people in Swede are really really fit, whilst the working age people are at work the forrests are full of groups of pensioners walking jogging around the forrest, ice skating on lakes is also popular as is skiing, I met a 81 year old on the ski lift last year. The feeling is that to offer someone a seat who does 10km of ice skating every other day, walks for hours picking mushrooms, swims in the lakes and does black slopes on skis would be fairly rude.

I also found it strange when I first moved here that children were held in such high regard whilst older people, disabled people and pregnant people were not offered help but once you try to understnad the cultural expectations of people it is easier to understand.

Arabesque Wed 25-Sep-13 11:09:59

Fair enough Froken, but that doesn't really explain why people with children should be automatically entitled to get on a bus, even if it means other passengers getting off. (If indeed, that does happen. But I heard the same story from my SIL who had relatives living in Scandinavia). Why should a tired middle aged person who has been at work all day and is anxious to get home be expected to get off and wait in the cold so that a mum with a 5 year old can get on? It just doesn't make sense or sound fair.

Jellybeanz1 Wed 25-Sep-13 12:00:09

I don't believe the bit about being forced to get off for a small child. I have happily got off a stop earlier on the London buses to make a seat or room for an elder or baby. My dh is Danish and he doesn't recognise that behaviour.

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