Wednesday 22 August 2018

'He just looked at me and answered that he was there first’ - Pregnant woman who can't get a seat on bus or train

An Independent.ie reader, who is seven months pregnant, writes about how passengers on the DART and bus have refused to give up their seats for her.

(DART Stock picture)
(DART Stock picture)
Dublin Bus. Stock picture

Name with editor

I’m seven months pregnant, as such I’m in the advanced stages of my pregnancy, and my bump is big and visible for everyone to see.

There is no doubt, even to perfect strangers, that I’m carrying a little human being inside.

Every single day I use public transport to get to work. I travel on the bus, and sometimes the Dart, from Blanchardstown into the city centre. And every single day, the same. No reaction from people to give me their seat.

They just look at me and when I look for some free seat, and when our eyes meet, they just turn away, pretending that they haven’t seen anything.

There are special seats for pregnant women, elderly people and disabled people on public transport. But most of the time, I see young people sitting in them with their noses in their phones.

Nearly every day, it’s the same situation. I have to directly ask them to give me the seat that is a priority seat for pregnant women, senior citizens, or disabled people.

But even when I ask in a nice way for them to give up the seat, I don’t always get it.

Just a few weeks ago, on the morning Dart I asked a young man, probably in his early 20s, who was sitting in a priority seat to give me place because I was pregnant.

He just looked at me and answered that he was there first.

I tried to explain to him, showing him the signs on the wall, that it’s a priority seat. But the effect was still the same, a really rude answer that he was there first.

And the most surprising thing happened all around me. Anyone who could hear this just looked on like it was some big news, but nobody reacted. I had to travel standing up, trying to keep my balance and look after my baby, and not hurt myself.

I’ve contacted Dublin Bus to suggest that they install bigger information signs, but just got back a response of thanks and that they will look at this.

People have to understand that it’s not because pregnant women just want to be comfortable. We need a seat to protect our babies in case the driver has to suddenly break or the bus is involved in an accident.

Independent.ie asked CIE and Dublin Bus to respond.

Dublin Bus said: "There is signage on-board all fleet from 2012 onwards, located at the priority seating area, requesting customers to give up their seat for pregnant women."

"Dublin Bus run an always on awareness campaign entitled  ‘Be an Upstanding Commuter’ asking customers to give up their seats to people who are disabled, pregnant or less able to stand. This campaign is promoted through posters at bus stop information carousels and on-board."

A spokesperson for CIE said: "We are sorry that your reader has not had a positive experience of fellow passengers offering her a seat during her pregnancy."

"Before Christmas of this year, we introduced Baby on Board badges for our pregnant customers. We have had a very positive response from all our customers to this, and would urge the customer to get in touch and we will send her out a badge. The email address is babybadges@irishrail.ie"

Online Editors

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Editors Choice

Also in Life