Why don’t people give up their seats on public transport?
Why don’t people give up their seats on public transport? Psychologist says we pretend to be asleep or listen to music because we are ‘scared’ of wrongly assuming people are pregnant or old
- Dr Oliver Scott Curry, of Oxford University, says some are simply inattentive
- Other people ignore their fellow commuters because they are selfish
- He recommends remaining vigilant for fellow commuters who may need a seat
People refuse to hand over their seats to pregnant or disabled people on packed commuter trains because they’re ‘scared of getting it wrong’.
That’s according to a prominent psychologist, who says many of us avoid doing the right thing for fear of causing offence.
Dr Oliver Scott Curry, of the University of Oxford, says inattention can also play a role, as well as an assumption that other commuters in the same carriage will pickup the responsibility for you.
He recommends remaining vigilant for fellow commuters who may need a seat, and argues the benefits of helping someone outweigh any potential offence caused.
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Mother-of-two Kate Hitchens, from Essex, went viral this week after she described her fury at being denied a seat on a packed commuter train while breastfeeding her son. One researcher believes many people don’t give up their seat as they are ‘scared of getting it wrong’
Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Curry said: ‘Most people do the right thing most of the time, but people vary.
‘Some are more selfish than others, while others are less attentive, and so may not have realised someone needed a seat.
‘And even if everyone would like to help, sometimes they are waiting for someone else to go first.
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‘In this case it seems like the mother was unlucky in her choice of carriage.’
Dr Curry said sometimes people fear offending someone by offering them a seat.
‘There’s a fear of getting it wrong, of seeming patronising or thinking someone is a charity case,’ he told BBC News.
A discussion on offering seats to others was sparked this week when a mother-of-two from Essex posted a furious rant about her experience online.
Kate Hitchens, 32, went viral after she shared a post describing her fury at being denied a seat on a packed train while breastfeeding her son.
She said she felt ‘uncomfortable and embarrassed’ while standing for the half-hour journey, and claims fellow commuters noticed her but did not offer a seat.
Dr Curry said commuters should always remain alert for passengers who may need to sit down for their journey.
Dr Oliver Curry, from the University of Oxford, says inattention also plays a part, as well as an assumption other commuters will pick up the responsibility for you (stock image)
He told MailOnline: ‘Keep on the lookout for opportunities to help. Don’t be afraid to offer – the benefits of helping outweigh the occasional costs of offending.
‘And, if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask!’
One woman put commuters to the test in July when she donned a fake baby bump to find out how many London Underground commuters offered her a seat.
Just four out of ten passengers handed their spot to the 36-year-old, while a fifth person agreed to let Anna sit down after she asked him directly.
The mother-of-two was shocked by their attitudes and admitted she felt like an ‘encumbrance’ on her fellow commuters.
Anna said: ‘I felt that perhaps I had to make a big deal out of being pregnant.
‘I had to really put it on, rub the bump and, failing that, actually asking [for a seat], which makes you feel very uncomfortable.
‘People are just not connected to what’s going on around them.’
Blind father was reduced to tears when not a SINGLE London train commuter gives up their seat for him and his guide dog
A blind former doctor was reduced to tears on a train in March after passengers ignored his pleas for a seat.
The man said his guide dog slid around the carriage in distress.
Amit Patel, who lost his sight five years ago from a haemorrhage behind his eyes, took to Twitter to reveal his ‘humiliation’.
Patel said despite struggling to find something to hold inside the packed train, commuters repeatedly blanked his calls for help.
Amit Patel, 37, lost his sight five years ago, and uses his Guide Dog Kika to get around. He was reduced to tears in March after boarding a train and being ignored by other passengers
The 37-year-old man had walked with guide dog Kika to the end of the platform to board a Southeastern train to Waterloo in the designated disabled section.
But he was left feeling hurt and humiliated when nobody moved to allow him sit down.
‘People can be so selfish, they pretend they can’t see or hear when I ask if there’s a seat available,’ he wrote in the emotional social media post.
‘It’s so humiliating when I struggle to find something to hold onto and keep Kika safe at the same time, this is when you’ll see a tear running down my face.
‘Life is difficult enough.’
His fellow commuters stayed seated around him as he struggled to find something to hold on to and Kika slid across the wet floor (pictured) even having her tail trodden on
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