In an effort to make commuting easier for pregnant people, people with disabilities, and seniors, the New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is launching a campaign to issue courtesy buttons that will indicate to other riders that they are seeking a seat.
From now until Labor Day, the MTA is running their pilot program, which will encourage subway riders to give up their seats to those who may need it.
MTA riders can order the buttons online, selecting from options including a "Baby on Board" button and one that simply says "Please offer me a seat." According to the MTA's website, buttons will be mailed within approximately three weeks.
"Pregnant riders, seniors and those with disabilities often need seats more than others but their condition may not always be visible," Ronnie Hakim, MTA interim executive director, said in a statement. "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."
While a button might not do much to sway a selfish rider who wouldn't normally "notice" a heavily pregnant person standing in front of them, it does shut down anyone who tries to argue that they can't tell if a person is pregnant, and that they would feel rude asking.
The MTA's new move is similar to Transport for London's "Baby on Board" buttons, though it is the first of its kind in the United States. Hopefully, the MTA's campaign will become an ongoing effort, instead of a pilot program that lasts only until Labor Day.
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