I would like to share some observations as a senior citizen in his eighties and as someone who uses state transport daily. I note that passengers on buses and trains readily offer a seat to a religious dignitary, an expectant mother, someone carrying a child, or a disabled person.
But senior citizens, most of whom are retired persons, are usually ignored by the young and the middle-aged passengers, whether in trains, buses or elsewhere.
The state has issued Senior Citizens Identity Cards to persons over 60 years. Officially, holders of these cards are entitled to priority treatment from health institutions, transport services, post offices, banks, police stations, legal institutions and government offices.
However, none of these state institutions seems to be aware of the government directive on behalf of the elderly. None has put up any notices informing senior citizens and other members of the public about this matter.
Our youth and our middle-aged citizens are not in the habit of offering seats to the elderly, old people who may be physically disabled or weak. The social, religious and cultural values of this country are gradually decaying. Respect to parents, teachers and the elderly is fast disappearing.
State and private transport agencies should take note and display notices prominently inside buses and trains, requesting passengers to offer their seats to senior citizens.
I. Lekamwasam Leanage, Ambalangoda