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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'?

Thymeout Wed 25-Sep-13 13:22:53

I'm amazed at the picture painted of this super-breed of Scandi elderly.

Most of my friends in their 60's are pretty healthy, tho' the heavier ones are beginning to have knee problems, some serious. But the ones in their 70's are definitely starting to show their age. Can't carry as much, walk as far, stand for long periods. And if they fall, their bones break.

All good reasons for offering them a seat on the bus. I certainly wouldn't be offended!

And I really hate seeing a row of children taking up seats on the tube, even toddlers with a seat of their own. It feels like bad manners, when we were always taught it was polite to offer adults a seat.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 25-Sep-13 13:27:58

"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."

I have to say that I try to understand varying cultural perspective and I do agree with treating children in high regard but I'd hate to be part of a culture that wouldn't offer a vulnerable adult help.

cory Wed 25-Sep-13 14:13:06

I travel regularly on public transport in Sweden and I certainly see youngsters regularly getting up to offer their seat to elderly/disabled people. My mum has been reporting this for years, even when she was a sprightly 65 yo.

Don't know what part of the country you're in, froken (did you say it was Stockholm? snooty lot up there grin)

As for the queue thing, I don't think it's about offering somebody to step up in the queue: more that Swedes don't have the queuing concept very clear in the first place. SO when the bus comes they will all be milling around it in a haphazard fashion- and if well brought up will fall back to let anyone who looks vulnerable get on first. To a visiting Brit that looks like somebody else has just lost their place in the queue- but the Swede in question probably never knew they had a place in the queue in the first place.

cory Wed 25-Sep-13 14:14:35

Would add that I and my brothers and all the other children I knew were certainly taught we had to offer our seat to anybody elderly or disabled or vulnerable looking- but not to a fit 30yo merely because they were grown up.

cathpip Wed 25-Sep-13 14:24:41

My mother always used to tell us about when she was pregnant with my twin sister and I and living in Germany, she was pushed to the front of every queue, and when we were babies she was always allowed to go first, even when she did not mind waiting her turn.

froken Wed 25-Sep-13 14:31:13

Vulnerable adults are supported much better in Swedenthan they are in the by the state. If someone needed a seat and they asked they would be given a seat. It isn't that people are mean or selfish regarding vulnerable people it is more that people don't think that it is there place to judge another person's needs.

I do live in Stockholm which I am told is very different to smaller towns.

My dp's grandparents are in their 80s and we took them over some mushrooms that we had picked, they said many thanks but we were out picking mushrooms 3 times last week. Mushroom picking is hard work, you have to walk a long way on uneven sloping ground, you also have to bend over or kneel to pick the mushrooms. It would be daft to offer them a seat when they are so fitand able.

I am not sure the child getting priority to get on a bus is actually true. If you have a pushchair you get on the bus in tge middle as you don't have to pay so in theory pushchairs do push to the front of the queue but as I said previously I have never seen a full bus, they are very regular and big so maybe there are just enough of them.

MrsMook Wed 25-Sep-13 14:31:45

I was brought up to sit on my mum's knee on a crowded train as my ticket was half price, so unreasonable to expect a full paying adult (or vulnerable person) to stand. That's the standard I'm happy to continue with my DCs. As I have a pram, I end up in the side facing seats to help control that (especially as the bus drivers have a nasty habit of pulling off before I can apply the brakes), so when there is plenty of space DS1 can sit on a normal seat as it's hard to hold on to him and the pram securely at the same time. When it's busy, I have him on my lap. He is too young to manage standing safely.

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans Wed 25-Sep-13 15:18:34

I can see the reasoning behind letting people ask for seats if they need them. I'd get up for a parent with a small child but I do hmm at under-6s having their own seats when adults are standing - DD would always go on a lap. I know there are times when that's not possible for some reason but I think when it can be done it's only fair.

manicinsomniac Wed 25-Sep-13 16:55:38

I think children should be last in the queue for seats personally. I make mine (both biologically mine and those I teach) stand for any adult, regardless of fitness, age or sex.

WestieMamma Wed 25-Sep-13 17:05:06

Priority to the front of the queue? Hahahaha.

My experience of 7 years of public transport in Goteborg is that it's survival of the fittest.

primarymonkeyhanger Wed 25-Sep-13 18:04:38

I was brought up to offer my seat to anykne who

primarymonkeyhanger Wed 25-Sep-13 18:11:25

Silly phone!

I was brought up to give my seat up to anyone who might need it and I do this happily but I have been caught out on occasion and felt terrible. A man one announced that I was rude not of offer his pg wide a seat. She was not showing at all and she actually told him off for saying what he did. On anogher occasion I took my y1 class on the train (quiet country service off peak) and was shouted at by a group of 4 older ladies for 'taking up all of the seats'. I dont think it is reasonable to ask 26 5 years olds to stand or split them up across 3 carriages. They were moaning because we had used the 4 seats with a table in the middle and they wanted it despite lots of seats at either end :-s

ToysRLuv Wed 25-Sep-13 20:01:51

Yes, I recognise what froken is saying. This is true for Finland, as well. In fact, you might be told off for offering a seat to an elderly person (not with visible difficulties) by the elderly person themselves, in a "do I look infirm to you?" manner.. Nevertheless, while in Finland, I try to gauge need from the way the person is walking. In the UK I would always get up for an elderly person, or someone heavily pregnant. DS (4) sits in my lap if the bus runs out of seats, as he is not steady enough to stand on the floor without falling over.

brightnearly Wed 25-Sep-13 20:16:59

I remember being run over by gigantic prams in Copenhagen when trying to get on or off the lovely trains. Gi-gan-tic! And looking very comfy indeed. I still wonder where there were stored at home. realises this is almost completely off-topic

ToysRLuv Wed 25-Sep-13 20:19:24

bright: Homes are (in general) a lot bigger there, with bigger entrance hallways for muddy clothes, etc..

bebanjo Wed 25-Sep-13 20:55:29

see i don't understand how anyone can think it safe for a child of 3,4,5 to stand on a moving bus.
i also don't understand how any healthy adult would be happy to get on a bus knowing a women with young child was left waiting in the cold and wet, i know i couldn't do it.

vintageclock Thu 26-Sep-13 10:58:44

But presumably the woman with the child is healthy as well. I really don't see why you should let them on first. Children don't melt in the rain any more than adults do. In fact it wasn't that long ago that children were expected to walk everywhere with their mums.

mrsfuzzy Thu 26-Sep-13 11:07:46

vintage clock you hit the nail on the head but remember some people would be as likely to bang on about their human rights to a bus seat. i give up my seat for older people, disabled and pregnant women

SHarri13 Thu 26-Sep-13 11:18:56

I totally get giving up a seat for anyone in need but cannot get the mentality of a child having to give their seat up for a healthy adult. Are children less deserving of a seat because they've spent less time in the world? It goes back to the whole respect your elders BS, surely everyone deserves respect regardless of age, race, gender etc.

edam Thu 26-Sep-13 11:23:12

I was brought up to give up my seat to grown ups. Small children can sit on their parent's lap.

edam Thu 26-Sep-13 11:23:52

as someone has already said, part of the reason is that children haven't paid full price for a ticket, and don't have a long day at work.

froken Thu 26-Sep-13 11:32:00

as someone has already said, part of the reason is that children haven't paid full price for a ticket, and don't have a long day at work.

This is just silly logic, old people and disabled people get free bus travel, should they give up their seat to a fully paying person (if the old/disabled person has no problem standing)

TheBigJessie Thu 26-Sep-13 11:42:03

I know this might come across as a bit pompous, but this thread is kind evolving into a disabled versus children thing, and I think we should remember that disabled children exist.

I've seen far too many end-of-tether posts on MN from parents of children with disabilities who'd just been verbally abused, whether on the bus for not giving up their seat, or for using their blue badge.

In real life, I've had to point out to people making nasty comments that a child was in a Maclaren Major.

Can we not go down this road?

Morgause Thu 26-Sep-13 11:43:50

I always used to stand for people I thought were less able to stand until 10 or so years ago.

I was travelling (sitting) on a bus with several standing passengers when the driver had to suddenly brake to avoid hitting a person who just stepped into the road.

Two of the standing passenger fell and one seemed to be badly injured. Both were taken away in ambulances and we remaining passengers had to give our names and addresses.

Since then I won't stand on a bus at all, for anyone. If a bus is full and the only room is standing room I wait for the next one. If someone gets on a bus, knowing they will have to stand, that's a chance they take.

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans Thu 26-Sep-13 11:44:29

Old and disabled people can't go on their parents' laps, though. Children can. I'd always give my seat up for a parent with a toddler but they only need one seat between them (unless parent is disabled and CAN'T have child on lap).

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