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Author Topic: Who’ll stand up for the hassled mother on buses and trains?  (Read 2973 times)
grahame
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« on: January 09, 2020, 04:39:32 am »

From the Conservative Woman - a wider look at pushchairs and children on public transport by Priscilla Pollara

Quote
I have a smaller gripe, but one that is shared by many others: Travelling with young children on public transport is a wholly unpleasant experience. For something else that never improves are the manners of fellow passengers and, worse, public transport employees.

In London, where I live, hassled mothers with children suffer the equivalent of being passed round like a hot potato as commuters’ eyes dart to the floor to avoid having to lend a hand. During one recent journey into central London and back with my children (one of whom was in a pushchair), I was booted off a bus between stops because another buggy was parked awkwardly, taking up both available spaces.

I wasn’t allowed to make my case, and was asked to leave, having got on and, of course, paid. Later, a second bus driver shut the doors prematurely, breaking the link between my hand and my young daughter’s while I was alighting by stepping backwards on to the pavement, my other hand negotiating a child-carrying pram.

Quote
Years ago, TfL introduced the now-ubiquitous ‘Baby on Board’ badge that expectant mothers can wear to encourage others to offer them a seat. I have never approved of these – I refused one during my pregnancies – but sadly, they do seem to get the message across to our corpse-like, mute fellow commuters, and work.

A glaring irony here is that once these women have had their baby, and really need preferential treatment, they often become invisible again.

[snip]

So popular has the whole exercise been, that in April 2017, TfL launched another badge which requests: ‘Please Offer Me A Seat’. It was created for ‘customers who struggled to get a seat because their need was not obvious’. More specifically, the badges are apparently designed for ‘disabled people and those with invisible impairments, conditions or illnesses’.

Not a word was said about busy mothers, you’ll notice. But, aside from that, laughably, TfL has made it surprisingly easy to obtain one of these badges, regardless of your status. Anyone can order one online – no questions asked – in a sense undermining the entire point of the badge.

Quote
It is a sad day when anyone has to use a badge to label themselves enough to be able to communicate a message to others. Whatever happened to inbuilt compassion, kindness, or even, conversation? It is worse when a mother’s options narrow to not using public transport at all. TfL’s slogan is ‘Every Journey Matters.’ It seems this isn’t strictly true.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2020, 10:59:34 am »

[Devil's advocate on]
One could argue that mothers are responsible for their travel arrangements, and asking commuters for assistance while using public transport (commuters, so that's in the rush hour, right?), along with priority over said commuters, is too much. Sorry, mums are like any other passenger - travel in quit(er) times or arrange your life such that you've got your help with you. Another is expecting commuters to assist in lifting their pushchair up the steps at tube stations that aren't fully accessible. Some looks you get when declining.....

What next? Tourists asking commuters for help lifting their over-wight suitcases up stairs on the tube, or expecting additional space on buses for their luggage? THis is already happening too...

Maybe mothers-to-be need to think about their child(ren)'s transport before having them? Or at least travelling in quieter periods. There isn#'t sufficient capacity as it is in the peaks, and these prams are getting ever bigger

Something is necessary, but the expectation needs to be managed first....

[devil's advocate off]
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Celestial
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2020, 11:23:14 am »

In the old days, buses had no space for prams/pushchairs, and so they had to be collapsed before getting on (don't I remember it!). 

Now, there are mandatory spaces for wheelchair passengers, but with relatively few such passengers, parents have taken to use them as a suitable parking space for an uncollapsed pushchair.  So an expectation, wholly unreasonable in my mind, has been built up in the minds of people that they have a right to bring their pram/buggy/whateveryouwanttocallit  on all the time.

I'm waiting for the first complaint that someone can't drive their mobility scooter onto a bus.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2020, 11:24:52 am »

In the quoted text, the actions of the staff could amount to discrimination. Pregnant women, and those with babies up to six months old, are afforded protection from discrimination by the Equalities Act 2010.

There's no protection from the the actions, or lack of assistance, from the general public however.

You'll never find me failing to offer help if I see a mother struggling on public transport. It's the decent thing to do. And I'll continue to offer help to others even after being told curtly, "I can manage, thanks!" as once happened to me on a train.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2020, 11:26:18 am »

I'm waiting for the first complaint that someone can't drive their mobility scooter onto a bus.

Ahh, the old days. Glad I don't live in them anymore.

https://www.transportforall.org.uk/news/new-regulations-on-scooters-on-buses
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2020, 11:50:41 am »

Ahh, the old days. Glad I don't live in them anymore.
When my son (now 15) was a toddler, we lived in Poland. Most of the buses were old – made in the '80s, based on (or under licence from) an older French design – and had quite steep steps, three of them. Taking a push chair up those steps was difficult. A pram would have been impossible and as for a wheelchair, I doubt anyone thought they ever would use a bus. Even an old person with a walking stick could have trouble, but that was just "accepted". Now almost all the buses there are completely flat floored and aligned with the kerbs. It's easier for everyone to get on and off the bus. And, because there's no stairwell (stepwell?), there's actually more space inside the buses.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2020, 03:29:17 pm »

[Devil's advocate on]
One could argue that mothers are responsible for their travel arrangements, and asking commuters for assistance while using public transport (commuters, so that's in the rush hour, right?), along with priority over said commuters, is too much. ...

[devil's advocate off]

The Conditions of Travel (technically) confirm that ...

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23.2. You will normally need to be able to manage your luggage without additional help; however, if you have a disability and require assistance, you can book this in advance of your journey. Please see Condition 21 for more information.

and

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23.1. You may take up to three items of luggage into the passenger
accommodation of a train unless:
23.1.1. your luggage is such that it may cause injury, inconvenience or a nuisance or it may cause damage to property;
23.1.2. there is not enough room for it;
23.1.3. your luggage would obstruct doorways, gangways or corridors;
23.1.4. the loading or unloading may cause delay to trains;
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2020, 09:39:04 pm »

...commuters, so that's in the rush hour, right?

Commuter
noun
Term used by lazy journos with a metropolitan bias to refer to all rail passengers, even those travelling from Barnstaple to Umberleigh on a wet Thursday afternoon to meet their mates for a pint in the Rising Sun.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2020, 10:25:58 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged
Trowres
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2020, 11:49:34 pm »

there isn't sufficient capacity as it is in the peaks, and these prams are getting ever bigger

Road capacity and a codeword for cars?
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GBM
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2020, 06:28:52 am »

In the old days, buses had no space for prams/pushchairs, and so they had to be collapsed before getting on (don't I remember it!). 

Now, there are mandatory spaces for wheelchair passengers, but with relatively few such passengers, parents have taken to use them as a suitable parking space for an uncollapsed pushchair.  So an expectation, wholly unreasonable in my mind, has been built up in the minds of people that they have a right to bring their pram/buggy/whateveryouwanttocallit  on all the time.

I'm waiting for the first complaint that someone can't drive their mobility scooter onto a bus.
Oh there have been!
In the local papers in Cornwall mostly over the last few years.
Drivers who (correctly) decline travel without the permit find themselves pilloried by the local press.
Other drivers who are afraid of the press reports take said scooter which doesn't have the permit (& owner refuses to get the permit as it's 'discrimination').
Out of County visitors who, on being carried without a card are advised they need a permit when exiting at their stop then kick off claiming discrimination.
Many drivers been there, done that.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2020, 07:07:29 am »

The universal problem that we have too much stuff, cars don't fit into parking spaces, luggage doesn't fit into Voyagers, etc.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2020, 10:29:15 am »

Probably not allowed now, but at 4/5 my mother used to put me on Sothampton's No 1 route bus at Bittterne to Woolston,  in the care of the conductor, and my gandfather would meet me at the Radstock Road stop.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2020, 05:19:35 pm »

Probably not allowed now, but at 4/5 my mother used to put me on Sothampton's No 1 route bus at Bittterne to Woolston,  in the care of the conductor, and my gandfather would meet me at the Radstock Road stop.
Someone who knows the regulations will be along in a minute, but I'll just comment that at age 5 my son was put on a plane all by himself from India to Heathrow.

(Yes, this is probably easier than taking a bus, and yes he had an assigned crew member to take him through passport at each end, as well as a parent at each end, and in fact I don't think he was even the only unaccompanied child on that particular flight: but hey, it sounds dramatic!)
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broadgage
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2020, 11:56:30 am »

Does "standing up for the hassled mother" include expecting me to stand from London to Taunton, having paid the full first class fare, in order that a mother and young child could have two seats for one ticket ?
Little sympathy in that case.

On one journey the train manager asked me to give up my seat for this reason. My request for a refund was initially refused, though I did get it after a protracted argument.

On another trip I was made to feel guilty for evicting a child from my reserved seat "surely you cant expect a child to stand"

If you expect a seat for a child, then pay for a ticket, which is a bargain at half price for a whole seat.
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It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
ChrisB
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2020, 03:19:55 pm »

Hah!

When I was a kid, we were expected to stand up so that our seniors could have a seat. So when & why has that changed?
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