Misuse of priority seating on buses a serious problem

“People just lack manners today, and are very selfish”

To ensure accessibility and a safe bus trip for all passengers, the GO GEORGE bus fleet was designed with a number of red-back priority seats on all buses, dedicated to passengers with special needs. In terms of accessibility regulations, all categories of special needs must be accommodated, including pregnant women, elderly people, disabled people and those with mobility problems, and people travelling with babies, baby strollers or small children.

Pregnant passengers making use of the GO GEORGE bus service seem to have had enough and are increasingly lodging complaints with the service about the non-compliance of other passengers who refuse to make the priority seats on the buses available to them.

According to some of the women, co-passengers are simply rude and refuse them a seat, “because they are also paying for their ticket”.

“‘It’s just common sense and manners,” one passenger said. “My parents never told me to give up any seat for a pregnant woman, you just know that’s what you do. It’s the same for elderly people and disabled people, but people just lack manners today and are very selfish.”

Despite continuous efforts and passenger behaviour campaigns to get cooperation from all passengers to respect and consider those with special needs, the problem of misuse of the priority seats remains unchanged.

“Disgruntled passengers seem to expect the bus driver to sort out inconsiderate and non-compliant passengers and get them to give up the priority seats,” said James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager. “Unfortunately, as the drivers are primarily required to operate the bus and handle ticket sales and validation, they are not allowed to leave their seat while the bus is operational. At this stage we cannot force anyone, but can only request their respectful cooperation. The rule about priority seating is part of our Conditions of Carriage, of which a copy has been applied inside every bus, and passengers are welcome to point that out to the culprits.”

A sticker depicting qualifying passengers is visible on the side of priority seats. Robb encourages passengers who qualify to approach whoever is sitting on a designated seat, and kindly request the use of the seat, provided it is not already occupied by a special needs passenger.

As one disenchanted passenger put it: “To all those pregnant women out there, I suggest you don’t assume the world is waiting for you to offer their seat to you. It just won’t happen. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It is that simple.”

CAPTION: The priority seats in the GO GEORGE buses are meant for passengers with special needs. These include pregnant women, elderly people, disabled people and those with mobility problems, as well as people travelling with babies, baby strollers or small children. This elderly lady with her injured and bandaged leg needs more space to enjoy a comfortable trip.


Wangebruik van prioriteitsitplekke op busse ’n groot problem

“Mense kort vandag net maniere; hulle is baie selfsugtig”

Om toeganklikheid en ’n veilige rit vir alle passasiers te verseker, is die GO GEORGE-busvloot ontwerp met ’n aantal rooirug-prioriteitsitplekke wat toegewys is aan passasiers met spesiale behoeftes. Volgens  toeganklikheidsregulasies moet alle kategorieë van spesiale behoeftes geakkommodeer word, wat swanger vroue en bejaardes insluit, asook gestremde mense en diegene met  beweeglikheidsprobleme, en mense wat met babas, stootwaentjies of klein kindertjies reis.

Swanger passasiers wat die busdiens gebruik, het klaarblyklik genoeg gehad en dien toenemend klagtes in oor ander passasiers wat nie die reisvoorwaardes nakom nie en weier om die prioriteitsitplekke vir hulle beskikbaar te stel.

Volgens sommige van dié vroue is medepassasiers gewoon onbeskof en weier om die sitplek af te gee, “want  hulle betaal mos ook vir die kaartjie”.

“Dit is net gesonde verstand en maniere,” sê een passasier. “My ouers het nooit nodig gehad om vir my te sê om op te staan vir ’n swanger vrou nie; jy het net geweet jy doen dit. Dis dieselfde vir oumense of gestremdes, maar mense kort vandag net maniere; hulle is baie selfsugtig.”

Ten spyte van voortgesette pogings en veldtogte om passasiersgedrag te verbeter, bly die probleem van wangebruik van die prioriteitsitplekke onveranderd. Daar is net nie samewerking ten opsigte van respek en bedagsaamheid teenoor mense met spesiale behoeftes nie.

“Dit lyk of ontevrede passasiers van die busbestuurder verwag om onbedagsame en onwillige passasiers aan te spreek en hulle so ver te kry om die prioriteitsitplekke af te gee,” sê James Robb, GO GEORGE-bestuurder. “Omdat die busbestuurders veronderstel is om die bus te hanteer en kaartjies te verkoop en te knip, mag hulle ongelukkig nie hul sitplekke verlaat terwyl die bus in diens is nie. In hierdie stadium kan ons niemand dwing nie, maar net hul respek en samewerking versoek. Die reël oor prioriteitsitplekke is deel van ons Reisvoorwaardes (Conditions of Carriage) waarvan ’n afdruk binne elke bus opgeplak is. Passasiers is welkom om dit aan oortreders uit te wys.”

’n Plakker wat aandui watter passasiers kwalifiseer, is aan die kant van die prioriteitsitplekke te sien. Robb moedig passasiers wat geregtig is op hierdie sitplekke aan om wie ook al daarop sit, te nader en vriendelik te versoek om die sitplek te gebruik, indien dit nie reeds deur ’n passasier met spesiale behoeftes beset word nie.

Soos een ontnugterde passasier dit stel: “Aan al daai swanger vroue daar buite, ek stel voor jy aanvaar nie die wêreld wag om hulle sitplek vir jou aan te bied nie. Dit gaan net nie gebeur nie. As jy dit nie vra nie, kry jy dit nie. Dis so eenvoudig soos dit.”

ONDERSKRIF: Die prioriteitsitplekke op die GO GEORGE-busse is bedoel vir passasiers met spesiale behoeftes, wat meer ruimte benodig. Dit sluit swanger vroue en bejaardes in, asook gestremde mense en diegene met beweeglikheidsprobleme, en mense wat met babas, stootwaentjies of klein kindertjies reis. Hierdie bejaarde dame met ’n beseerde en verbinde been het meer ruimte nodig om gemaklik te reis.

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