Small ideas can make Metro greater.

More direct priority seating signs

While traveling in Portland and Seattle last year I noticed that the priority seatings signs used much stronger language than those on Metro. Portland MaxRail says you are "required" to give up your seat for someone who needs it.

I see a lot of people on trains and buses unwilling to get up from their seat for someone who is elderly, pregnant or could otherwise use a seat.

Submitted by: Mathew F., Washington, DC


Add a comment »

I totally agree. I am legally blind. I usually use Metro Access, because so often when I'd ride Metro, younger, able-bodied people were so rude about remaining seated, chatting with their friends or on their phones, pretending not to notice me (I have some residual vision, so I could see them.) It's humiliating enough that I'm now blind & older & don't have good balance. I've had embarrassing experiences trying to remain standing holding onto the pole, & falling into someone's lap on a crowded train as it swerves. But I still can't bring myself to ask someone to get up if they're clearly not initiating it themselves. So I just started sitting down on the floor. Sometimes, someone else disabled, in one of the priority seats, or someone in a middle seat, would ask someone able-bodied to get up from the priority seat so I could sit, or someone in a non-priority seat would even offer their seat, which was nice of them, but it was still very embarrassing. Easier just not to ride Metro.

I also traveled in Portland, OR. On their signs back in 2011, they didn't refer to seniors & disabled; they called us "honored citizens". Much more polite, but I'm not suggesting that for here, because people are so focused on their own rights rather than social responsibilities that they'd all consider themselves honored, & it would just be a joke. Apparently it didn't work in Portland either.

by Edee F on Jun 30, 2016 9:32 pm • linkreport

PS I forgot to mention that I travel using a white cane, so there's no excuse for lack of ID as a disabled rider.

by Edee F on Jun 30, 2016 9:35 pm • linkreport

...Just like my other comments on these same/related topics MY IDEA:MeYouSitGoShare...could be a starting point of discussion to find a long-term solution in assisting and protecting our most vulnerable patron-commuters.
...I've also proposed a short distance stop-over option for travelers to reach their nearby transfer point less time it would take in waiting at a crowded station. ACabPedalLets-SitUsIn...the FARE-REST WeALL..TNTICL(s) and TaGiSCI are just a few integrated trandport options for the elderly or disabled.

by Jame Tillman on Jul 21, 2016 10:00 pm • linkreport

The priority seating signs already read:
"Federal law requires that these seats be available to persons with disabilities and seniors."
That's already fairly strong wording. I don't believe a slight change in wording would change behaviors.

There could be other ways to change behaviors; greater enforcement and fines, or a public "share the seat" campgaign, but neither would likely have a lasting effect.

How about a design-oriented solution? Consider making the seats bright red or bright blue (markedly different than the other seats) with a large wheelchair + seniors icon directly on the fabric. I believe bright seat covers could be much more visible and effective at generating long-lasting results than reprinted signs.

I know the comments section is not the venue to propose new ideas, but I mention these to say that I don't believe printing new signs is the most effective or transformative MetroGreater pilot project.

by Pat R on Aug 15, 2016 1:08 pm • linkreport

There are many tourists that use the METRO system and are just unaware of priority seating protocol. Having better signage has to help. The system also needs better/more frequent way finding for ease of locating elevators within the system.

by Rosemary Ciotti on Aug 25, 2016 10:51 am • linkreport

I do like the idea of a design solution such as making those seats a different color.

by Rosemary Ciotti on Aug 25, 2016 10:53 am • linkreport

Just as you can't fix stupid, you can't legislate good manners -- or cause good manners to happen with signs. (If it were only that simple!)

by Dairy Maid on Aug 25, 2016 11:22 am • linkreport

I like Pat R's idea about the designs on the seats.

by Susan on Aug 26, 2016 3:24 pm • linkreport

Re PatR: The priority seating signs already read:
"Federal law requires that these seats be available to persons with disabilities and seniors."
That's already fairly strong wording. I don't believe a slight change in wording would change behaviors.

By and large, I do like the other ideas you offer, though I disagree with the initial premise that this change of wording wouldn't help. I see "federal law requires that you etc etc" and I think of the FBI warnings on videotapes: just a load of unenforced blah. "You are required" sends a much more direct message to the reader and would hopefully generate more social pressure.

I don't know, I feel like the best solution here might be a mix of improved signage with more direct wording, and brightly colored seats as you suggested. I'm not sure about adding a "wheelchair + seniors icon" onto the seats, mainly because that could reinforce stereotypes about what constitutes a disability.

by John on Aug 31, 2016 7:28 am • linkreport

Add a Comment

We are switching over to our new website. Commenting on the old site is now disabled. Thank you for your patience and pardon our dust!