After London, New York launches badges for public transport

Representative Image
Representative Image

NEW YORK: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York has begun issuing blue and yellow “Baby on Board” buttons as a part of the agency’s courtesy counts campaigns to encourage strap-hangers to be polite to their fellow riders. Lady passengers, who are pregnant, can choose from “Baby on Board” button or a “Please Offer Me a Seat” button. The second button can also be worn by senior citizens or people with disabilities.

“Pregnant riders, seniors and those with disabilities often need seats more than others but their condition may not always be visible,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim.” We hope this campaign will help their fellow riders to be more willing to offer them a seat without having to ask a personal question first.”

According to New York transit officials, “As with London’s system and many other MTA ‘Courtesy Counts’ messages (such as ‘Don’t Be a Pole Hog’ and ‘Stop the Spread’), this awareness campaign will be self-enforced and not linked to any penalties.” Riders can order a free button online, and it should be available to them in about three weeks. The MTA is also encouraging passengers to spread awareness of the campaign by posting selfies with the hashtags #BabyOnBoard and #CourtesyCounts.

Transport for London (TfL) also launched a badge (blue colored) in the month of April in 2017on “Please offer me a seat”. The blue badge is available to disabled passengers and those with hidden conditions, illnesses and injuries, to help them find a seat on public transport.The badge and the accompanying card have been created following requests from customers who can struggle to get a seat as their need is not immediately obvious. A six week trial with 1,200 people was held in autumn last year to test the new badge and card. More than 72 per cent of journeys were found to be easier as a result of the badge, and 98 per cent of people taking part in the trial said they would recommend it to somebody who needed it.

Also a badge for pregnant ladies was launched by TfL in 2005. The TfL’s ‘Baby on Board’ badge, to help pregnant women get a seat on public transport, is now issued in large numbers-around 1,30,000 badges a year. Sadiq Khan, London Mayor said: “These blue badges will make a real difference to passengers who need a seat but just haven’t felt confident enough to ask for one. I’ve no doubt they’ll soon become as recognisable across the capital as our popular Baby on Board badges.”

In other countries, people are asking their government for introducing the same kind of badges.Ayoung mother has urged Australian government to introduce badges for pregnant women travelling on public transport for their own safety.