Is it hard to show courtesy to others these days?

An actually clean back of a muni bus
Photo by Flickr user moppet65535

Originally written on Wednesday, September 10, 2008. From the Muni Diaries submissions inbox:

It seems like every time I am on the bus and it becomes crowded, I notice this one thing: Everyone expects for someone else to do what they’re told to do, rather than being initiators and following suit with orders. Recently, the buses have been installed with “new” bus announcements, telling people to “move to the back of the bus for others’ convenience” and also to “clear the front seats for seniors and disabled persons.” I know the bus drivers are able to press these buttons when they need to, because I hear these announcements only when the situations arise.

But unfortunately, nobody else seems to pay attention to them. People stand in the doorways, in the front of the bus, trying to ignore the announcements about moving to the rear of the bus so others could board. Is it so hard to show courtesy? Does it make THAT much of a difference of where you are standing?

It’s annoying for me to watch while I am seated; whenever I do end up being one of the people standing up, I do try my best to move to the back of the bus, even if it’s not entirely necessary. There’s no point in bunching up at the front when it’s inevitable that the bus would get crowded. But it seems that rarely does anyone think the same way as I do about this. I’m not saying that I’m the only one who pays attention, but, really, if you could observe the situation on the bus, you would notice that rarely anyone actually does what they’re supposed to do–because they expect for someone else to do it.

I’ve seen people trying to gently nudge their neighbor to move to the back of the bus, but the neighbor just stands stubbornly, hanging onto “their” spot. It’s really unnecessary, and it’s no wonder that the bus drivers feel so frustrated sometimes.

To add on, when it comes to the front seats being reserved for elderly and disabled, it truly angers me to see young people sitting there when there are obviously others who need the seats more. In turn, these young people won’t move unless they’re forced to, even with the bus announcement blaring off. I don’t feel sorry for these young people when an elderly citizen yells at them to move, because I feel they have the right to do so–young people should give up their seats for the elderly, since young people are very capable of standing up and using their leg muscles.

Granted, there are some senior citizens who refuse to go with that title of “elderly,” who refuse to admit that they are “old” and need the front seats. Those are few and far between though–most of the time I do see elderly people, no matter how fit they look, take the front seats when available. They’ve lived long lives, so they deserve to sit where they are given the privilege.

In the end, people are just selfish.

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