No matter where you are in Australia there are a number of designated seats on public transport for pregnant, disabled, elderly and injured people.
But in many cases, rude commuters avoid eye contact with these people and refuse to give up their seats.
This was the case for nursing student, Jemma Shaddock, who was wearing a moon boot – and later a post operative shoe – to get to University three days a week.
This was the case for nursing student Jemma Shaddock (pictured) who was wearing a moon boot – and later a post operative shoe – to get to University three days a week
The 20-year-old from Gippsland, Victoria, shattered a bone in her foot while hiking overseas and has been dealing with a lack of empathy on public transport ever since.
‘I had surgery four weeks ago to remove the whole shattered bone and am currently recovering,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘I commute to university three days a week on public transport which is a two hour commute each way.
‘Before my surgery, I was in a moon boot for 10 weeks. In that time, I was offered a seat on every vline train I took into Melbourne and back.
‘However when I got on the busy metro trains I was more commonly ignored than offered a seat.
‘Once, I had another woman who was in a moon boot like me, ask the man who was sitting next to her if he could please move so I could sit down. I would say people offered me a seat once every four trips.’
‘I had surgery four weeks ago to remove the whole shattered bone and am currently recovering,’ she told FEMAIL (pictured in her post operative boot with crutches)
‘Before my surgery, I was in a moon boot for 10 weeks. In that time, I was offered a seat on every vline train I took into Melbourne and back,’ she said
She described the way people would try and glance away when she got onto a train with crutches, while others would ‘pull out their phone as a way to break eye contact’.
Despite the injustice of the situation, Jemma is yet to ask someone to give up their seat for her.
‘I find it quite uncomfortable having to ask someone to move. It makes me feel like I am being rude and demanding,’ she explained.
‘In the city my train is only two stops from when I board the metro train so I am quite happy just to stand for the short amount of time in the last part of my commute.
‘I do however worry for other people who may travel for longer periods of time and are forced to stand when that may be difficult for them.’
But Jemma believes that it shouldn’t be up to her, or anyone with a very obvious need to sit, to ask for a commuter’s kindness.
‘I believe that if you see someone who is in need of a seat, like a pregnant woman, elderly person, or injured people, you should offer them a seat rather than expect them to ask for it,’ she said
‘I believe that if you see someone who is in need of a seat, like a pregnant woman, elderly person, or injured people, you should offer them a seat rather than expect them to ask for it,’ she said.
‘Especially when there are priority seats available for these disadvantaged individuals: These seats are often occupied by people who refuse to acknowledge there is someone in need of that seat around them.
‘I have seen heavily pregnant woman being forced to stand too and you can see sometimes that they are uncomfortable but unsure how to ask for a seat.’
Posting her plight to Facebook, Jemma received a host of interesting replies.
Posting her plight to Facebook, Jemma (right) received a host of interesting replies (pictured with her crutches)
‘There has been a variety of opinions on what myself and others should do in this situation,’ she said.
‘Many have stated they think myself and other people struggling with obvious health issues should not have to ask for a seat, and that it should be offered up to me.
‘Other people have suggested I should be the one to ask for a seat and that I should not expect other people to move.
‘A lot of people believe Melbournians should take a leaf out of Londoners books: People jump in immediately to give disadvantaged people a seat.
‘Even bus drivers and other public transport officers speak into the microphones reminding commuters to make way for those who may be in need of a seat.’