Let's change those "priority seat" signs on public transport.

They should say “priority seats for those who can get to them the quickest.” Because that’s what they really are.

The wording isn’t quite right - any suggestions? I am genuinely considering getting some stickers made and putting them under the real ones, because then people might actually notice, even if only for a week.

The reason is that commuting for me is like I’m being punished for mistakes in past lives, even more than anyone else who uses the central line or London buses at rush hour, and they must have all been absolute despots before too. I don’t look disabled at a glance, but I do look disabled if you see me walk or try to hold something, so occasionally I do get offered a seat.

The problem is that on tubes i often can’t get near enough to a seat to be offered one. I can’t hold the bars, so the only alternative for me is to lean against the wall at one end of the carriage. I have a bump on the back of my head due to pressure against the carriage doors.

A couple of times someone has got up to offer me a seat and, by the time I’ve hobbled over, all grateful smiles, some other bastard has nipped in there. This happened yesterday and the woman who’d taken the seat was so immersed in her headphones that she couldn’t hear the bloke who’d got up for me, or another woman, asking her to move.

The worst is the bus. They wobble more than trains, so it’s really fucking hard to keep balance. And, unlike the tube, you can always see me lurching around.

To clarify: I have rheumatoid arthritis in all my joints below my neck. My feet, arms, hands, shoulders and hips are particularly swollen and immobile. Every step hurts and I can’t raise my arms above my shoulder height and all my limbs are tender and visibly huge and hard, like I have an infection. I have no grip in my right hand, and some in my left but there the wrist is worse, and I’m right-handed.

Being pressed against the glass of the tube carriage wall yesterday was particularly fun. Oh, yay, now every single part of my swollen body is being squished! Imagine that you have a sprained ankle and someone is pushing on it, but for the whole body.

I’m just venting, really, except for the sticker idea, which would be fun.

To a certain extent the tube passengers at rush hour can’t be blamed because I can’t get close enough to their seats for them to pretend not to see me. Bus passengers, however, don’t have that excuse.

I’m just so pissed off and tired and in pain from commuting that I’m not sure I can work at all any more. The last two times I got a bus, I fell off it because my legs couldn’t cope any more and the gap between bus and road was so deep. This is a bus that covers what would have previously been a 7-minute walk from the tube.

Note: please don’t suggest that I get a cane. I can’t hold one. Any kind of cane. Even the one your friend with osteoarthritis in the legs uses. Even this special sort of cane that you hold in a different way. Even this magic cane you read about on the Internet. My hands look like rubber gloves filled with water and I can’t hold a bloody cane.

Does your job offer telecommuting?

I like the sticker idea.

This is not something you should have to do, but have you tried asking for a seat instead of waiting for someone to offer one? When I needed those seats, no one ever offered one, but if I asked someone who was currently in one of the seats, they would almost always move.

Please note that asking the general audience “Would anyone please give me a seat?” would result in sudden general deafness, while asking a specific person “Would you please give me a seat?” got good results.

When I sprained my knee back in July, I had no qualms about asking people to move out of a priority seat. I would think someone in your predicament would be even more proactive for herself and just tell people to move for you. People aren’t paying attention on public transit, you have to snap them out of it.

Station atttendants can also help you out. Try going to the booth and telling the attendant you need assistance getting to the platform and a seat on the train. I would think they would treat you like they do a wheelchair. Take you to the first car where the wheelchair ramp is, so the train operator can be signaled by the station attendant that there’s a passenger who needs assistance. The attendant will then help you on, clearing a seat if needed, and the train operator knows to wait until the attendant signals all OK to close up and leave the station. Over time the regular attendants will get to know you and will look out for you. At least that’s how it works for the two people I know who use wheelchairs on the Chicago El.

My last job was telecommuting only, but I just can’t manage that volume of typing. Some days I can’t even, to my own distress, use my phone. No word games. :frowning:

My usual job does sort of offer telecommuting. I’m looking into it.

I know I should start asking for a seat, but apart from my own horrible embarrassment about this - having to do it every day knowing that a lot of people will think I’m faking - on a packed tube I simply can’t get close enough to the seats to ask anyone for one because all the standing parts near the seats require holding on to something, usually above your head. Shouting from the corner would be the only way, and I’m horrified by the idea of starting and ending every work day by literally shouting out my disability to everyone.

Oh, also the buses. Do you have “kneeling” buses? The driver should lower the bus for you whenever you ask. I also had this come up when my knee was sprained. I had to tell the driver as he/she was approaching the stop, that I needed them to snug up to the curb and lower the bus for my injury. They always did it, no problem. If I forgot and the bus stopped too far away, I would just tell the driver so he/she could pull up closer and they did it. Yes I felt like I was being a pain, but I was also in pain, and didn’t want to be in more pain by re-injuring myself, and it would be my own fault for not speaking up for myself. They’re not psychic and couldn’t tell from looking at me that I had a problem, until they saw me crawl off the step backwards and hobble away.

So everyone is supposed to assume on sight that you are disabled and entitled to a seat?

How the hell did you get that out of the OP and subsequent posts? You’re an idiot.

I’m a fellow arthritis sufferer, but it sounds like I have it about 100 times less than you. I wish I could say something to help, but I can’t think of anything, apart from… you have my sympathy :frowning:

What the fuck is wrong with you?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly the type of person in those seats and not giving them up. Bravo Jay, you just set us all back 200 years.

200 years? You’re an idiot. Arthritis didn’t exist back then.

I suggest you simply tell people you are disabled and need a seat. See, that was easy.

No, it’s the assumption in the message. He wants people to see that he’s disabled and therefore give him the seat.

He should just speak up for himself.

No it’s not. It’s a perfectly reasonable question.

Can you tell if someone is disabled all the time just by looking at them? No. Sometimes a disabled person must simply ask. This is not a big deal.

Your post was particularly stupid and mean by equating him with someone who wouldn’t give up the seat.

What the fuck is wrong with YOU?

It’s a perfectly reasonable question.

I know plenty of people with disabilities whose disability is not easily seen. Nothing wrong with pointing that out. It’s quite possible that is the case with SciFiSam.

Aww, thanks lance. You noticed. And yes, I can tell disabled people just by looking at them. That’s cute how you ran to his defense like he was a damsel in distress. Keep fighting’ the good fight, pumpkin.

I don’t expect people to just assume I have a disability unless they see the way I walk and move, when it’s obvious. I did say this in my OP. People aren’t telepathic, but they do have eyes (and if they don’t, hell, they do need the priority seat).

Asking for a seat is excruciatingly embarrassing, but in any case on the tube it sometimes just wouldn’t work because I can’t get close enough to the seats to ask. I’m just not sure what to do about that. I’m not sure there is anything to be done.

On the bus priority seats I often literally see people running to get to them - this is the start of the route near the tube; if any of these people had mobility problems I would notice - so those actually do mostly go to those who are least likely to fit the supposed criteria. And then they sit there facing the door, where it is again impossible for them not to see the oldies and crips wobbling in, and they stay put. I’m not expecting them to be telepathic, just empethatic.

On the bus, you can try asking the driver to be sure you have a seat. If you take the same route all the time, the driver might start to recognize you. Most drivers are really helpful, in my experience.

I swear I DID read the OP, and I DID see that you can’t use a cane, so this isn’t meant to be annoying, but can you use a walker? I’m not sure that would even help your walking that much, but it might be easier to get noticed. And they are more lean-y than grabby.

Imagine that.

I’m not sure I understand. Aren’t the priority seats right by the doors in the trains and buses?