Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Make Way for the Grotesquely Pregnant Woman, Everyone

I've written before about the difficulties facing pregnant women riding public transportation — both in New York and the Bay Area. Few passengers give up their seats, and transit systems often don't provide specific guidance on the topic. (San Francisco's Muni only gives preference to "senior citizens and persons with disabilities.")

Traveling with small kids is another gray area. Should someone be offered a seat because she is carrying a baby? This question sparked a debate on the Muni Diaries site a few years ago.

So I was excited to see these "courtesy" signs on the Roosevelt Island Tram (I think they're new, or maybe I just didn't notice them before).

As you can see, both pregnant women AND women with young children get deference. (I have to think if you saw a person that freakishly pregnant, you would give them plenty of room anyway.)

I wonder about the gender breakdown, though. In each case, it's a man being courteous and — other than the elderly person — it's a woman on the receiving end.

Maybe dads already get preferential treatment, so there's less need to alert people to their plight.

When we lived in San Francisco, I used to take Elliot on the bus everyday to daycare. I may have looked like a barely competent dad, but people bent over backwards to help me. Once I had him in the Bjorn and I dropped my umbrella. The whole bus sprung into action to pick it up for me.

Kelly complained that she never got that kind of treatment herself. I guess it pays to be bumbling.