I got this text today from my daughter:
“My bus driver just had to make an announcement over the intercom demanding that a seated passenger stand up for a woman holding a small child. And no one is doing it. Unbelievable!”
That reminded me of a CBS Chicago story I tweeted on Saturday: CTA To Urge Riders To Yield Seats For Pregnant Women.
The story says:
A new mom says it’s time to give women who are pregnant a break aboard CTA trains and buses. The CTA agrees.
Credit new mom Erin Fowler with bringing it to the attention of the CTA’s board. She told them she recently had a difficult pregnancy and knows other women who have, too. She said all have one thing in common — no one yielded a seat to them aboard trains or buses.
“Oftentimes, the first five or first six months of pregnancy, when you’re the most weak and the most tired, you’re not showing very much,” she said. “People are reluctant to assume that you’re pregnant.
Fowler asked the board to change announcements and signage, asking riders to yield seats to pregnant women as well as to the elderly and the handicapped. The CTA’s board is not known for making snap decisions, but CTA President Forrest Claypool said the agency will do it.
“Common courtesy tells you to give up a seat for a pregnant woman, and I’d hope we’d see more of that civility on our system, but you can’t legislate civility,” he said.
Yes, unfortunately, you can’t force ignorant people to do the right thing. Not that the CTA hasn’t tried. Well, I don’t mean they have tried to force people to be courteous. But they already have pushed the issue to do the right thing.
The CTA joined the RTA campaign last year to provide clear and consistent signage on trains and buses about priority seating for passengers with disabilities and senior citizens.
As I noted in that post, I’ve never been shy about finding seats, especially for pregnant women. “Just a few weeks I asked loudly of three able-bodies men staring at their phones: ‘Which of you gentlemen will give the young lady a seat?’ They looked up innocently and then one finally got up.”
In my experience, the two demographic groups most likely to willingly offer a seat to passengers with disabilities and seniors are women in their 30s to 50s, and young African American men.
I laud Fowler for trying to breathe some life into this old campaign.
She suggested issuing expectant moms buttons so they are easy to identify.
I guess it’s worth a try. But my prediction is that self-centered, ignorant people will ignore them too and keep staring at their phones.