Yesterday we wrote about how a tech company were trialling a new app that could alert commuters if a pregnant lady needs a seat.
The idea being that it would not only eliminate the awkwardness of having to assess whether they thought someone was pregnant but also help those head-down, blinkers-on commuters to notice that someone really needs that seat they’re hogging.
It’s not that they don’t care about that pregnant lady, who’s desperately trying not to vom as she’s squished under someone’s armpit. It’s just that they haven’t noticed her on account of the fact that they’re mind-deep in their Insta feed.
Or maybe they just don’t care, but that’s a whole other feature!
So, in theory the Babee on board app seems like what we’ve all been waiting for. The future of commuting, right? Only that’s not how everyone sees it.
Critics aren’t so much against the app itself, more the fact that we need it in the first place. Have we really become so absorbed in our tiny, digital screens that we can’t bear to look up for a couple of seconds to see if anyone around us needs a seat? Or has that same technology robbed us of the ability to interact with our fellow passengers. To show compassion, empathy and support to others a little more needy than us?
Science suggests it might. A recent survey by Joosr revealed that 17 per cent of commuters said they hated making eye contact with their fellow passengers while 16 per cent did not enjoy having to talk to other commuters.
And I witnessed that first hand this morning on my own commute. About five stops into my tube journey an elderly lady got on. She hovered near the entrance to the seats and looked around hopefully. But nada. Not one person noticed her. None of the 14 people sitting down even looked in her direction, so absorbed were they in their own daily lives.
And I can’t say I blame them. I myself didn’t have a seat otherwise I would have offered it up. But I’ve been those other passengers – engrossed in a whatsapp convo, frantically scribbling today’s to-do list, or just switching off for a minute and closing my eyes. It doesn’t make us bad people, it’s just kind of the way things have become.
Which is exactly why the Babee on Board app is a good idea. Yes, it’s a little sad that there is a need for it in the first place, but there’s no denying it does offer a solution to a pretty common problem.
I’ve no idea whether the folks behind the app have plans to roll the idea out to include other people in need of a seat, Grannies on board for example, but maybe get in the future they might.
In the meantime let’s all make a collective effort to try to be a little less ‘me’ and a little more ‘everyone else’ shall we?
Later on my same journey a kindly man helpfully hooked my massive suitcase up two flights of stairs without me even having to ask/use pleading eyes. So you know us commuters aren’t all bad!