Have we forgotten common courtesy?
A PREGNANT woman has criticised Islanders’ lack of courtesy after being made to stand on a number of full-to-capacity bus journeys.
Amy Williams, who is expecting her first baby and regularly travels by bus, has said that she is shocked at the treatment she has received from fellow passengers who, more often than not, ignore her when there are no seats available – despite the fact she is clearly heavily pregnant.
Ms Williams’ frustration was further exasperated by how LibertyBus responded to a suggestion she made to an employee last week. She asked the company to consider including an image of a pregnant woman to the existing on-board signs which ask passengers to consider offering their seats to the elderly or those with limited mobility.
She said: ‘Very often, whenever there are no seats on the bus, people ignore me, leaving me to stand, despite the fact that I am very obviously pregnant. What is most upsetting is that I am ignored by able-bodied middle-aged men and women.
‘It’s happened to me at least five times in the last two months and I have only been offered a seat once on the bus since I became pregnant. If it has been raining outside the bus floor can be very slippery and I worry about falling.
‘I felt that the response I got back from LibertyBus [about amending the sticker] was so rude – I was really taken aback. An employee rang me the day after I first gave my feedback and told me that LibertyBus had no intention of changing their signage as they simply could not “force people” to give up their seats for pregnant women even if they were in priority seats. They said it must be left to the “good nature” of the passengers travelling at that time.’
She went on to say that it was her concern for the safety of her baby, as well as other pregnant women in Jersey, that prompted her to say something.
Amy added that she felt the company’s reaction was ‘very disappointing and worrying for all current and expectant mothers’ who chose to use the bus in Jersey.
‘I thought that I would be treated with some kindness.’
LibertyBus director Kevin Hart responded by describing the matter as an ‘isolated incident’, adding that LibertyBus receives more complaints from elderly pensioners about younger people refusing to offer their seats.
He said: ‘It is sad in this day and age that people would not give up their seat to a pregnant woman and makes you wonder how some people were raised at home. But our drivers would only get involved if someone in a wheelchair was trying to get in and passengers were blocking the way. ‘If we force anything, it could be seen as discrimination.
‘We have no plans to change our signs for now, as they comply with current legislation. If we update the signs we would have to update 90 vehicles, which involves a cost. But if legislation was passed, making it mandatory, we would of course comply.’