I can't believe I even have to say this one, but these days there's no such thing as respect for the elderly, disabled, or pregnant on public transport. When I was pregnant at the end of last year there were several occasions when I had to stand most of the train ride home from the city. It's a 30 minute train ride at the best of times. It was hot. And people would just ignore me. It wasn't as though it wasn't obvious that I was preggers- I was absolutely huge. On one particular ride I was crammed in with other standing people (gotta love Connex an their filthy delays) being squished to the point where I didn't have to hold on to anything, I was being supported(and squashed) by the people I was standing with. At another point I was standing right in front of a woman in her late 20s/early 30s who ignored right up until the point where someone else noticed I was standing and offered me a seat. And then what happened? The woman who spent the train rid trying hard to ignore the basketball in her face said to me "you can sit here if you want to" with a sickly sweet smile on her face, as did the woman next to her. I just glared at them both and snapped "well it's too late NOW" and went and sat where the other person offered.
Anyway. It's really just common courtesy to offer seats to those who need it more than you. Here's what you can do:on a bus or tram, sit right at the front, or right near a door, so the minute you see an elderly person get on you can jump up and offer them a seat.
It's so, so simple, and yet hardly anyone does it any more! You know who the most polite people on public transport are? Men of Asian/Middle Eastern background. They're up the minute your bulging belly pops through the door. Do you know who the worst are? Women. In general. Young, 20s-30s, and 40s. They all think it's their god-given right to have a seat on public transport. They are rude and selfish. When it comes to public transport etiquette, men are the nicest.