Author Topic: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats  (Read 6322 times)

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TurtleDove

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Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« on: November 06, 2012, 10:27:28 AM »
I haven't seen this addressed here before.  I generally take a bus about a mile into work to save parking costs.  The route is along a busy street that runs from Uptown to Downtown with a lot of stops and a lot of people who do the same thing I do.  This means that the portion of the route I am on is often standing room only for a portion of the trip. The bus starts to clear as we hit downtown a few stops after I get on and is generally emptying after my stop toward the other end of downtown.

Today, as is typical, the bus was full when I got on so I was standing in a packed standing room only bus.  Within a few stops, people were getting off in chunks.  Bafflingly, at least to me, there were quite a few seats left open as people who had been standing continued to stand.  Once I realized the people closest to the empty seats were not going to sit I said, "If no one is going to take those seats, I will," and moved toward the seat where I sat down.  After I did this, other people did the same. 

I got the sense some people thought I was borderline rude for not simply continuing to stand while there were empty seats.  I do not agree at all, especially because there was nothing rude in my speech or actions, and no one else was making any move to sit in the seats.  Thoughts?  If it matters, I appear quite fit, and am quite fit, but standing in heels on a moving bus with my purse is not comfortable for me because I also have relatively severe hip bursitis I am in physical therapy for.  It's far easier for me to run 8 miles than it is to stand for 15 minutes on a moving bus.

MariaE

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 10:37:34 AM »
Not rude at all. Those closest didn't want them for whatever reason, that shouldn't stop anybody else.
 
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Dorrie78

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 10:41:44 AM »
I sometimes will continue to stand if I only have one or two more stops to go. You certainly weren't rude to sit down, if I were in the same situation, I might do the same. But I don't think it was really necessary to announce your intentions. If there are empty seats and no one is moving towards one, just sit down. People may have thought it was odd that you made the announcement before you sat down - almost like they were doing something wrong by *not* sitting down.

WillyNilly

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2012, 10:42:04 AM »
Once a seat opens its free for whomever can get their tush in it first.  Usually by default its the people nearest the seat, but someone from across the bus (or train) can certainly head over and say "excuse me' to those standing by it and sit.  There are stops on the NYC subway where if you pay attention you see a few stander's are scoping the train "who's body language indicates they are leaving next stop?" ready to pounce even from half a car away.  Meanwhile some people are settled into standing or whatever and have no issue with continuing to do so.

IMO if a bus or train is reasonably crowded its annoying for too many people to stand leaving empty seats, just because it wastes space.  If more people sat there would be more elbow room for those standing.  So not only do I think you were fine, I think you were more polite by sitting then continuing to stand if there were seats available and you wanted to sit.

NyaChan

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 10:42:16 AM »
Not rude.    You broke the seal, so to speak, for sitting in those empty seats and I suspect that "sense" you got, was others who also wanted the seat but were uncomfortable taking them for the same reason that you were.

Yvaine

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2012, 10:50:36 AM »
You weren't rude, and I also doubt they thought you were rude. NyaChan is right, you "broke the seal" and they no longer felt awkward about taking the seats.

TurtleDove

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2012, 10:51:17 AM »
I sometimes will continue to stand if I only have one or two more stops to go. You certainly weren't rude to sit down, if I were in the same situation, I might do the same. But I don't think it was really necessary to announce your intentions. If there are empty seats and no one is moving towards one, just sit down. People may have thought it was odd that you made the announcement before you sat down - almost like they were doing something wrong by *not* sitting down.

I said something because there were no empty seats near me and I would have to pass several standing people to get to the open seats.  I could see 5 open seats within three feet of me, but there were people standing between me and the seats in the aisle.

TamJamB

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2012, 10:56:17 AM »
You weren't remotely rude. Why did you think they thought you were?  I suspect you were misreading them.

TurtleDove

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2012, 10:58:04 AM »
Not rude.    You broke the seal, so to speak, for sitting in those empty seats and I suspect that "sense" you got, was others who also wanted the seat but were uncomfortable taking them for the same reason that you were.

This makes sense.  I just wonder what would have happened had I not started the trend - there had to have been ten empty seats overall and NO ONE was moving to sit in them until I did!  I think some of the people who were standing and made no move to sit wished they would have sat.  We were already moving and they made no move though so I did.

sourwolf

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2012, 10:58:58 AM »
You weren't remotely rude. Why did you think they thought you were?  I suspect you were misreading them.

I agree.  I can't fathom why you think anyone would care if you took a seat when there were many that were unoccupied. I'm sure they were all to lost in the "on the way to work haze" to take any notice of you and what you were doing.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 11:02:04 AM by sourwolf »

amylouky

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2012, 11:00:47 AM »
I think you were fine. I might have asked the person directly next to the seat I wanted if they planned to sit or minded if I did, rather than making a general announcement, but I don't think you were rude for doing so.
I can see why you felt strange, it does seem like the person closest to the open seat would have "dibs", but really imo they're fair game. Not that you should shove people out of the way to get to a seat but if no one is looking like they are going to sit in it when it opens up, I think it's up for grabs.

Yvaine

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2012, 11:01:33 AM »
You weren't remotely rude. Why did you think they thought you were?  I suspect you were misreading them.

I agree.  I can't fathom why you think anyone would care if you took a seat when there were many that were unoccupied. I'm sure they were all so lost in the "on the way to work haze" to take any notice of you and what you were doing.

I'm going to agree with this too. The people who didn't sit probably just (a) preferred to stand anyway or (b) were in outer space. I zone out during my commute and I think a lot of other people do too. They stayed standing because they were already standing and weren't really monitoring the seat situation.

TurtleDove

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2012, 11:10:08 AM »
It seemed as though the people closest to the seats were irritated that I asked them to move and let me through to the seats if they were not going to sit, and also some of them did sit down after I did.  It was like everyone thought it was polite to leave the seats open, which as other posters pointed out, I don't agree with.  It wasn't a general announcement exactly but more a statement of, "I am going to be moving down this crowded aisle to get to those seats right in front of you several people if you several people are not going to sit down.  After I sat, the other four empty seats in my general area were filled, and I am pretty sure two of them were filled by people who were closest to the seats to begin with. 

I just got the sense people thought I was being overly forward in leading the charge, as it were. I don't agree with that, and I wouldn't likely change my behavior unless there was some consensus I should have left the seats open.  But it seems that is not the case.

Yvaine

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2012, 11:12:58 AM »
It seemed as though the people closest to the seats were irritated that I asked them to move and let me through to the seats if they were not going to sit

Eh, they may have just been annoyed at having to move, rather than giving a rat's behind about whether someone sat in the seats. But just because someone is annoyed doesn't make an action rude. Life is annoying. Public transport is inherently annoying, I think.

TootsNYC

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Re: Standing Room Only - Who Gets the Seats
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2012, 11:23:14 AM »
I sometimes will continue to stand if I only have one or two more stops to go. You certainly weren't rude to sit down, if I were in the same situation, I might do the same. But I don't think it was really necessary to announce your intentions. If there are empty seats and no one is moving towards one, just sit down. People may have thought it was odd that you made the announcement before you sat down - almost like they were doing something wrong by *not* sitting down.

In my opinion, the people who get first dibs on the seats are the people who need them. Or who might benefit the most from them.

Of course, it's not really clear who qualifies for that. For me, sometimes the only thing that I know for *sure* is that *I* don't need the seat. So I don't take it.

(as for "benefit the most"--I think people who are getting off last will get the most benefit from them, as will those who are sort of tired, or have a minor hernia, or whatever. They know who they are, and I expect them to look out for themselves.)

And I hope that those people who either need them or will benefit from them will go ahead and sit down.

I think you were in the mildest group--those whose benefit from getting a seat is that they'd prefer to. And you waited as well, much the way I would. But once no one was indicating that their need was greater (they'd communicate this to you all by taking a seat, for heaven's sake, instead of waiting around), your actions were right on the money.

In fact, by mentioning that you were going to take the seat, you gave permission for everybody else to do so. Sort of like, I "serve the world" by being willing to go first in the buffet line if people are hesitant to start. What you did was be a leader, and other people sometimes disparage that. But that doesn't make it wrong.

And those people who were irritated--pah. Who cares? They were rude to express their irritation. If they didn't want to move, they could have slid over.