I’ll keep this one short if not so sweet.
I have noticed whenever I’ve ridden BART to SF that inevitably the seats with the signs that clearly state; PLEASE MAKE THESE SEATS AVAILABLE TO SENIORS AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES are inhabited by those who are neither disabled or elderly.
I studied this in both directions Tuesday evening and saw a young woman stretched out across both seats with her bike resting atop her. One of these seats was not enough for her. Seated in the others were young people with earbuds in their ears who clearly paid no attention to who got on that train. They sat right down and leaned against those signs. As I looked around, the white haired people were sitting in the middle of the train, the young ones in the elderly seats. Then on the way back the seats were all occupied and my husband and I both stood while young people ignored us.
A middle- aged woman in a regular seat motioned to me that she would give up her seat and I said no thanks. I was concerned about my husband who actually qualifies for those seats but wouldn’t dream of asking anyone for anything. He preferred to think of it as a compliment that he didn’t look old enough. I have deeper feelings that it represents the basic lack of respect or concern for others which has become prevalent in society.
I checked on the BART blog and found heated discussions about this after a young man with M.S. vented his frustration. I don’t think it should be so difficult. If others seats are open, sit in them and leave the special seats available to those who really need them. If the car is full and you sit in them, keep your eyes open and give up your seat to someone who needs to sit more than you do.