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A bumpy ride: Londoners reluctant to give up their seats for pregnant women on the tube

Posted at 8:00 am, April 17, 2014 in Transport
Georgina Kotjan

You see a pregnant woman standing on the tube. You’re comfortably resting your bum on a luridly patterned seat cushion. She’s awkwardly hoisting a bellyful of baby. Do you give up your seat? Probably not, according to a study by University of Westminster student Georgina Kotjan, who recently spent ten hours standing on the tube wearing a fake bump and ‘baby on board’ badge to see how many people let her sit down.

If she was invited to sit, she handed the person a card saying ‘Congratulations! You’ve offered your seat to a pregnant woman.’And if someone maintained eye contact but shifted nary a buttock, they got ‘You didn’t pass the test.’‘Some people got really embarrassed when I gave them a card saying they hadn’t passed,’ says Kotjan. ‘They started trying to offer me their seat, but I had to explain that I didn’t actually need it, I just wanted to see what they did.’ Out of the 100 people who noticed that Kotjan had knocked herself up, only 20 stood up, although in a survey she’d done beforehand of 100 people at tube stations, every single one of them said they would give up their seat.Those who kept their word were almost entirely women.

‘There were some nice moments,’says Kotjan. ‘The first girl who offered me her seat was almost embarrassed about being kind, and when I gave her a card saying she’d passed the test, she was so shy and sat straight back down, smiling. She was very sweet.’ Come on, Londoners. Let’s all try and be that nice to ladies with babies. We might not remember it, but we’ve all been there…

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