Today I took a Metrobus to work. It as usual was very crowded — and as usual mainly with young people. A young man got up and offered me his seat. I accepted and thanked him.
This brings me to my observations. I don’t take the bus every day — maybe once a week. Before last year, no one ever gave me a seat on the bus — no one. But last year and so far this year, every time I take a bus, I get offered a seat. Last year, I was one year older than I was the year before. Did that one year make such a difference in my persona that fellow bus riders felt guilty about sitting when une dame d’un certain age was standing? Or was there a cultural shift in that year that made bus riders more polite?
I started keeping mental track of the general demographics of the “take my seat” group. Here are my results that are pretty accurate for the 50-plus bus rides. By far, the group that jumps to give up their seats are young white females, followed by young Hispanic males, followed by young African-American males. In a year and a quarter, not one young white male nor one African-American female has given up his or her seat, even though they’re about equally represented in the ridership.
I don’t have an explanation for this demographic breakdown, nor for my now getting seats on the bus. But it is surprising — and interesting, I think, especially on a Friday afternoon.