Would you let someone sit next to you on a bus or train?

I was on a bus yesterday and a lady asked me to move my bag so that she could sit down. I did but I didn’t feel comfortable having her there and was relieved when she got off. What would you do in this situation (though I know not everyone feels comfortable using public transplant yet)?

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This is so difficult isn’t it. I’ve had this discussion with my husband as he travels in the tube. I think the worry is confrontation because you never quite know how somebody would react. I would probably do the same as you. However, I’m glad I don’t have to travel on public transport just yet, things like this would really stress me out!

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Very good dilemma @Franko, my upbringing and nature is to let the other person sit down, which is actually putting their needs above mine and my safety and but being polite. I would however face the window and definitely not feel comfortable.
I could get up and move myself, but knowing me I would be worried about their feelings, putting theirs above mine and my safety again.
I would like to be able to answer your dilemma that I would very politely say to the person that I would rather the person didn’t sit next to me because of my vulnerable health and if they would like the seat I would move. Is that sounding that they are contagious and still potentially putting their needs before mine if I move???
I am hoping if I was wearing my Blood Cancer UK mask and badge they would act as a deterrent.
I do worry about confrontation and the other persons response.
I haven’t gone on public transport yet but I think I would try and sit out of the way and make sure I could face away from other people.
It is always more difficult with a condition that cannot be seen. Perhaps they have a hidden condition too and need the seat??
I think I will just avoid public transport, but I am a walker!!!

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@Franko was there a shortage of seats, or was it the first available seat, and an elderly or disabled person required it? If there were other seats I would have got up and moved elsewhere, as I did when I was at hospital a few weeks ago. There were pairs of seats well spaced out in the corridor, with instructions that they were not to be moved, and blow me if a man chose to sit next to me. I got up and moved elsewhere, and he just stared at me the rest of the time he was there (thankfully it wasn’t too long)

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There were other seats available further back. I wasn’t sitting in a priority seat. The lady in question was with a friend who did the same thing to the person sitting in the double seat opposite me and the lady who sat next to me obviously wanted to sit with her friend but neither was prepared to move further back to where there would have been a set of two seats that they could have sat down in together. It was purely because my seat was by the door and they wanted less far to go to get off when they got to their stop.

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That is appalling. I think I would have asked her to get up and told her that I needed to stay at a safe distance because I value my health, even if she didn’t.

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I did have something similar occur to me but it was a few years back, long before Covid was invented.
I was on my second block of UKAL14 chemo on the day unit. Following my session my Hb was way below where it should be and the doctors decided I needed a couple of units of blood before I went home. I knew as soon as they said this I would be in trouble. Instead of getting out of London on a quiet afternoon train I would have to go on the evening commuter express. I was nervous as I walked from hospital to the mainline station. Predictably the train was rammed. All I could hear was people coughing and sneezing. My neutraphils were on the floor. I found the perfect empty bulkhead two man seat and parked my bag on the adjoining seat. Within minutes a man stood over the seat, when I did not react he asked me to move my bag. I explained I was on chemo and had an extremely low immune system. “That’s not my problem. You shouldn’t be out then” he retorted. “I can’t sit here with you next to me” “Please yourself” I got up, left my seat and travelled home standing in the corridor. I felt miserable and very alone.
This experience taught me a lesson about some people’s behaviour that I will never forget. It is the same pattern of behaviour that I have witnessed repeatedly through this current pandemic.

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Oh @Robson, what a horrible experience which has stayed with you, I also hate confrontation. If you are anything like me hospital appointments really mentally and physically exhaust me and then I expect that you were not feeling well and just wanted to be beamed home to then to have a confrontation and practical dilemma, must have felt like a miserable and lonely final straw.
How are you doing and feeling now?

That’s dreadful @Robson. Some people are just so wrapped up in themselves that they can’t see the problems they cause. When lockdown first started and there was all that community spirit I had some of my hope for the human race restored after all the Brexit horror. But it seems everyone has reverted to type as time has gone on and if anything people seem to be more selfish and self centred. Not everyone obviously but enough to make me very weary of this year. I do hope that you have a better experience for your next appointment.

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@Robson
We’re so sorry to hear of what you experienced Robson, and the huge impact it still has on you now. We do hope you have had support too, as an experience like that as you say, can really stay with you. Since then, how have things been for you- when you have been out? How comfortable do you feel?

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Trains are definitely worse this week. My husband has to move three or four times per journey. I’m glad he only has to do it twice a week. He did say more police officers were visual at stations today so let’s hope that carries on!

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I was on a bus yesterday and driver played a recorded message about ten times asking everyone to be seated and keep their distance from each other because a girl stood in the gangway right next to everyone taking no notice and not wearing a mask. Eventually he got out of his seat and yelled at her. Her response was “you mean me?”. She looked really affronted that she’d been forced to tear her attention away from her phone screen for 20 seconds. Unfortunately there are thousands around the country just like her who have zero interest in the rest of the human race and feel the rules are only for other people. It has nothing to do with anxiety or disability, it’s just selfishness and it makes me angry. We’re all going to pay the price for their stupidity one way or another.

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Are you having to go on public transport a lot @franko? It doesn’t sound as though you have very good experiences.

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