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MTA rolls out ‘Baby on Board’ buttons to encourage courtesy among strangers

The agency also unveiled “Please offer me a seat” buttons for seniors and disabled New Yorkers.
The MTA is offering free courtesy buttons for pregnant, senior and disabled riders.
The MTA is offering free courtesy buttons for pregnant, senior and disabled riders. (MTA)

You’ve surely seen “Baby on Board” signs on countless cars over the years, but a button version may be coming soon to a New York subway train near you.

The MTA is releasing the free button, as well as one that says, “Please offer me a seat,” as a pilot program of its “Courtesy Counts” initiative. 

The buttons aim to encourage straphangers to offer their seats to fellow travelers who may be pregnant, disabled or a senior citizen  — something you would would hope most New Yorkers would do anyway, but sadly many do not.

The program kicked off on Sunday and will continue through Labor Day. It is thought to be the first of its kind in the U.S. and was modeled after an initiative rolled out in London in 2005, where about 130,000 buttons are distributed there annually. 

“Pregnant riders, seniors and those with disabilities often need seats more than others, but their condition may not always be visible,” Ronnie Hakim, interim executive director of the MTA, 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.”

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."

HOW DO I APPLY FOR AN MTA COURTESY BUTTON?

Right now, New Yorkers can only obtain one of the courtesy buttons at nymta.civicconnect.com/courtesy, and one pin is available per address. Pins will take about two to three weeks to arrive, the MTA said.

The agency said it is “accepting feedback on other distribution methods.”

DO THE BUTTONS EXPIRE?

Since the program is voluntary, unenforced and based on the honor system, straphangers are encouraged to only sport the button while they’re needed, but they have no designated expiration date.

For more information, visit, nymta.civicconnect.com

 
 
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