How to Give Up Your Seat on Muni Gracefully

Waiting in an empty bus
Photo by jm3

Once again we’ve received an etiquette complaint in our inbox. A reader wrote about someone who wouldn’t give up his seat to a disabled passenger and his partner:

This morning between around 9:00 a.m., this bigot (embracing the word f**got) wouldn’t move
his precious cargo for a disabled senior and his partner. The driver didn’t even tell this moron
to move his bags while he continued to belittle a disabled senior citizen.

Ok so this is not the graceful way to give up your seat on Muni. We’ve got some suggestions from our inbox on this matter.

For instance, recognize handicapped passengers, even those on crutches. And don’t take up three seats with your newspaper and manliness. Just a simple “Would you like to sit down” is nice, right? I’d say that elderly, handicapped, and pregnant women obviously qualify for the seats, but it’s still up for debate whether you should give up a seat for kids (and what size).

What’s your tip on giving up your seat?


  • I saw a man try to give up his seat to a woman, only to see another dude sit down. When confronted, dude said he just thought the man was getting off at the next stop and so took his seat.

    Yeah right.

    That said, sometimes it’s a bit difficult. Sometimes I see a woman who is somewhere between 50 and 65 (I’m awful with age), but I don’t want to insult her if she turns out to be much younger. Same thing with women who I might think are pregnant, who are just a little round around the tummy.

    • Meg

      I think that’s why the question “Would you like to sit?” is a good rule of thumb. No assumptions are being about age or ability.

  • Jenny

    I give up my seat if I’m sitting near the front but it’s hard when you’re on a bus that’s super crowded.

  • Jennifer

    How bout just not sitting in designated seating???

    Also, pregnancy is not a disability.

    • Wendy

      Complicated pregnancies are a disability. Also, center of gravity is different when you’re pregnant. Falls onto a pregnant belly can be dangerous for the baby, the mother and anyone she accidentally lands on. Why even debate this? Should everyone with limited standing capacity get a doctors note to satisfy you?

  • A Vuncular

    About three decades ago, the insides of Muni vehicles often carried signs (in the unsold advertising spaces) that said: “Young enough to ride for free? Young enough to ride on your knee.”

  • Ronnie Williams

    @Jennifer – Seriously? Pregnancy not a disability? Either your overweight and have serious self-worth issues because others have assumed your pregnant with your extra weight.. or you have never been pregnant. Fatty.

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