Riders can choose from a "Baby on Board" button or another that reads "Please Offer Me a Seat". The MTA writes, "While riders are required to relinquish seats in those areas under federal regulations and MTA rules of conduct, the new courtesy buttons can help riders better identify which customers need seats".
Interim MTA Director Ronnie Hakim says the blueprint to improve services includes reorganizing the agency's leadership structure. "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".
The campaign is similar to one launched in London in 2005. About 130,000 buttons are handed out on the London transit system every year, officials said.
New York's free buttons can be ordered online and will take about three weeks to arrive.
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Hakim said the MTA would "continue to designate "priority seating" for riders with disabilities", but "this is another way to expand the availability of seating for those who need it most". The pin was popularized by-who else?-the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, when she wore one on the Tube in 2013. Some mothers-to-be report that they are still ignored.
Many pregnant women have complained that straphangers don't offer them seats.
The program appropriately began on Mother's Day and runs through Labor Day.
For the tired pregnant rider, the situation has offered a vexing choice: Do you explain your situation and ask for a seat, possibly eliciting a backlash, or wait it out until you get to your stop? And now she has the clout of the MTA behind her.
According to the Daily Beast's Brandy Zadrozny, who chronicled her experiences commuting while carrying a child, men tend to be worse about showing pregnant people courtesy than women do, but ultimately, subway commuters of all genders have equal potential for asshole behavior.