Seat children first to ensure bus safety

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 July, 2013, 1:39am

Chris Stubbs' letter has truly saddened me ("Mannerless generation in motion", June 30).

When did adults start prioritising their own comfort above the real safety of a young child?

I am a regular user of the buses mentioned by Mr Stubbs and I have two daughters, aged three and seven.

Mr Stubbs, I am doing everything in my power (like most parents in Hong Kong) to raise well-mannered and respectful children.

The issue of Discovery Bay buses is not one of manners (if only it were that simple), it is actually a serious safety concern. The buses are regularly filled to maximum capacity and people are frequently forced to stand.

This is extremely dangerous for so many reasons - the most obvious being that if the bus driver suddenly has to slam on its brakes (which I've seen happen), the poor people who are standing may be thrown forward. Sadly, there have been a number of bus accidents.

There was a dreadful bus accident on July 1 near the airport ("Bus driver killed, 37 injured in Lantau crash", July 2).

There was another bus accident the week before last at Disneyland. There was also an accident involving a Discovery Bay bus on the way to Sunny Bay about six months ago.

Children under the age of about 10 do not have the same balance or co-ordination skills as an adult and they are also lacking the arm strength to hold on as well as most adults can. Sadly, fortunately infrequently, nobody offers my seven-year-old a seat and I watch her struggling to hold on and keep her balance.

In fact, I have seen a few instances where children standing on Discovery Bay buses have literally fallen down the aisles when a bus has had to make a sudden stop.

Therefore, Mr Stubbs, children under the age of 10 must be seated, not because they are lacking in manners, but because their lives are at risk if they are standing.

Elderly, frail and pregnant passengers also need seats.

Surely it is up to all of the fit and healthy adults and older children (that is, anyone from the age of about 12 through until about 50) to stand up and offer their seat to these other passengers?

What kind of world are we in where adults prioritise the comfort of a seat for themselves above and beyond the safety of a child?

Mr Stubbs, I desperately hope that no young child is ever injured on these buses because somebody like you has failed to stand up and offer their seat.

Veronica Bennett, Discovery Bay