Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Pregnant women: forget getting a seat on transit

Jupiterimages/Getty Images/Brand X

Ever wonder how often people really give up their seats for pregnant women on public transit? About 80 per cent of the time, according to Brooklyn resident Elizabeth Carey Smith, who kept track of how often she was able to rest her weary feet during the last four months of her pregnancy.

Ms. Smith commutes daily to Manhattan and was curious about whether New Yorkers were as gruff and rude as we think. Her findings: they're actually quite polite. Being a graphic designer, she took her data, made a graphic and is now, quite literally, a poster girl for the issue.

Of 108 full trains, she was offered a seat 88 times. People offer seats more in the morning. On the most-full train she rides, men, not women were more likely to give up their seats. She also lists "alleyoops" to standing commuters who goad someone else into offering a seat. And the G train? The worst.

Story continues below advertisement

"New Yorkers aren't as rude as we like to think that we are, or as other people think that we are," she said in a phone interview with the Wall Street Journal, her daughter Francesca reportedly cooing in the background. "I was sure that I was going to find out that people were terrible."

Still, if you read the comments on that blog post, you might think a number of those polite folk were seething inside. Words like "entitled" and "brats" are peppered throughout. The general ethos: You got pregnant. Deal with it.

In related news, a New York City councilman is introducing a bill that takes the growing (sorry) trend of expectant-mother parking to the next level.

David Greenfield's bill would grant special parking rights to women who are having a difficult pregnancy, according to a report by CBS news. If the bill passes, pregnant women with a doctor's note saying they have physical or mobility challenges could break parking rules.

Do you offer your seat on the bus to obviously pregnant women? Should you? And what about perks for mothers-to-be who drive?

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.