The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) launched the pilot program on Mother’s Day, the latest in a series of initiatives by the agency to encourage politeness on New York’s crammed public transportation system. The new yellow and blue buttons, which will be available through to Labor Day, aim to help riders identify customers who need seats, according to an MTA press release.
The idea is inspired by a similar program on London’s bus and subway system. Since 2005, Transport of London has distributed about 130,000 “Baby on Board” badges. Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, wore one when she was pregnant in 2013.
New York’s free buttons can be ordered online and will take about three weeks to arrive. There will also be separate badges, which say “Please Offer Me a Seat,” available for older riders and those with disabilities.
“Pregnant riders, seniors and those with disabilities often need seats more than others but their condition may not always be visible,” MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim said in a press release. “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.”