Molly’s story: Pregnant and public transportation

mta 2The Metropolitan Transit Authority serves a population of 15.1 million people in the 5,000-square-mile area fanning out from New York City through Long Island, southeastern New York State, and Connecticut. The subway opened in 1904 and transports millions of passengers on a daily basis.  Most commuters use this way of traveling due to the limited amount of street parking in certain areas as well as not having to deal with traffic on the road and bridge tolls.

New York City is bustling with all types of people and personalities, but there are only a few ways to get them from point A to point B in mass numbers.  The Metropolitan Transit Authority consists of trains and buses that are responsible for the everyday commute of everyone from students to doctors. Pregnant women fall within the spectrum of commuters.

Although the subway is a great way to get around the five boroughs, it can be taxing at times.

For the many who ride the subway in New York City, nothing is more frustrating than being stuffed into a car like “sardines in a can”.  The endless shoving and pushing just so that one last person can get in the door before it closes may just be the last straw for some commuters.

Now, imagine being pregnant during rush hour and no one offers you a seat for multiple stops. This is what moms-to-be have to deal with during their day to day commute. Kindness has obviously missed some people these days and forget about compassion. The overwhelming thought that someone would have to bring a kid up in a world that is so self-absorbed is horrifying.FullSizeRender

Pregnant women are among those that are possibly the most overlooked riders. Could the issue be that many can’t tell the difference between a pregnant lady and someone who is not?  Does the everyday commuter even care whether she sits?

There are times when riders are nice and offer a seat. Gothamist followed a pregnant commuter who was offered a seat, from several people, as soon as she walked on the train.  For others who are not so fortunate, it is hard to watch.

The New York Times often run stories about the woes of pregnant women and transportation in the city. This is a mainstay for the newspaper, since so many moms are “on the go.”

Molly Donatelle, mom-to-be in three months, says “it is tough sometimes getting a seat when getting on the train,” she takes the Uptown B at the Park Slope stop. molly

The time she spends commuting to and from work amounts to a little over two hours,  which isn’t unusual for New Yorkers, but for pregnant women it could be stressful. Even more stressful when half the time you’re standing.

She usually boards the train within ten minutes of standing on the platform and if the train is packed it takes about the same amount of time to get a seat. Shocking when she is clearly pregnant.

As she leaves for work in the morning,  getting a seat can prove to be very difficult.  The a.m. crowd is not as willing to give up their spot. As the ones seated looked on, a very pregnant Molly stood for two stops. It was only when someone left the train was she able to get a seat. Although she didn’t get a seat right away, she did not seem to be upset.

On the other hand, the p.m. crowd seemed to be a little different.  Since it wasn’t as crowded she was able to get a seat right away with no shoving from others.

Molly had this to say about the difference in commute times, “It’s easier to get a seat in the evenings partly because of the route that I take. Partly I think that in the mornings, people are really in a big rush to get where they are going and don’t pay a lot of attention to what’s going on.”

 MTA posted “courtesy banners,” January 2015, to basically prompt everyone on how to conduct themselves on trains. Good manners slip the mind every so often, so why not print and post things like, “please give your seat to the elderly, disabled,  and women who are pregnant. ”  The placards doesn’t seem to be helping much, but hopefully with time people will get the point of common courtesy.pic--subway banner 2

The Cut ran a story, based on pregnant commuter, of which train line is the best to ride.  The article was basically a guide to pregnant commuters and a way to inform them of the lines that will be more sympathetic. The commuter stated the B/D line had the best record of people offering their seat to a pregnant woman.  Although Molly’s experience was different, who’s to say that it was not a rough morning for people.

Popsugar.com dedicates an entire section to moms and moms-to-be. The articles range from “pregnancy and public transportation” to “how to tell if your child is spoiled.”  Since so many people in New York City depend on public transportation, the chance to get a seat is slim to none, on a good day.

There are also other sites that cater to pregnant women by promoting unity within the circle of moms and even trips. This could include a weekend getaway or a soothing spa treatment. Other events also specialize in teaching moms how to deal with stress on a day-to-day basis.

Molly’s story is all to familiar with commuting mom’s-to-be in New York City.  The everyday hustle just to get around in NYC could be daunting for everyone, but being pregnant can add more stress than needed.  There’s nothing wrong, pregnant women, to ask for a seat if not offered.

Although some women, if offered, do not take the seat.  They politely smile and decline, given they only have a few stops to go or could be tired of sitting. The thought to ask will make them happy and hopefully make you feel good, it’s the little things that count.

Checkout Molly’s story of her commute to and from work on the B Train.

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