Common Courtesy

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 Impact of Common Courtesy on Public Transit: Literature review

Common courtesy is likely seen as less and less of a social norm in public nowadays. With the hussle and bussle of city buses there is no exception for the lack of courtesy given in small moving transportation. Priority seating has become mandatory in some states in the US and more and more public transit representatives must stress the importance of common courtesy to all generations of public transit users. Common courtesy on public transit is seen as giving up one's seat for another in need, by doing so the one in need can safely use transit without the worry of having to stand on moving transportation which could result in injuries.

A Previous study shows that common courtesy on public transit seems unlikely which is shown in the following experiment; unless those in need request for it. An experiment done in 1975 by Dr. Stanley Milgram concluded that 68% of people willingly gave up their seat when asked. The other 22% either refused or automatically assumed something was wrong with the person and asked if they were "okay". This shows that many people are unwilling to give up their seat because they either believe in the phrase "first come first serve" or the individual asking for the seat must have a good reason for requesting it; common courtesy once seen as automatic, can be now seen as a request. Signs have been put up in buses for front seating to be used by those who are visually seen as "in need" of it, but those who do not have a visual problem may be rejected because their problem can not be seen. The first year graduate students that pariticpated in Dr. Milgram's experiment felt social pressure for asking for a seat on public transit. If the reason for asking for the seat wasn't visually seen the requesting passangers in this case first year graduate students felt ashamed. "It's something you can't really understand unless you've been there," said David Carraher, who is now senior scientist for a nonprofit group. The experiment was said to be traumatic for those who pariticpated. Seeing as common courtesy is no longer seen as being polite it is seen as only for those with a visual problem, as concluded in Dr. Milgram's experiment. More recent work has shown very different results in the past 6 years for those who reinacted the experiment Dr. Milgram began. Two reporters by the names of Anthony Ramirez and Jennifer Medina used the same approach by asking fellow passangers to give up their seat for them. They used the phrase "Excuse me. May I have your seat?". Their results concluded that 13 out of 15 people automatically gave up their seat when asked. The experiment was done August 31st, 2004 during the time of rush hour to get a well rounded group of people from all age groups at a busy time where seating is generally filled. They conducted the experiment percisely between 4:30 to 7:30 PM. The reporters asked a diverse group of people from all cultures and from all age groups categorizing them as "under 40" or "over 40" from ethnic groups such as black, caucasian, latino and asian. Many who gave up their seat "willingly" still had remarks about the request such as "Well, thats a first", seeing as those in need generally do not ask if their reason is not physically seen by the other passengers. Common courtesy on public transit as the reporters requested was filled with comments ending with "Are you kidding me?" or "What, for that?". Courtesy with backlash as one can see. The following work called "Manners Maketh Man" showed how simple common courtesy can aid in clinical practise with patients. This is in relation to the impact common courtesy has on public transit because it shows how common courtesy can aid those in need, which are generally the ones seeking priority seating on the bus. The article focused on one little girl in particular who was under developed for her age. The doctor took great concern...
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