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Monday, March 07, 2005

Baby on Board

Badges so mums-to-be can get a Tube seat

Personally I think it's a great shame when some people think they need to wear badges in order to be given a seat on the Tube when they're pregnant. But that's where we are from an item in today's Metro and this evening's
Standard.

I am genuinely amazed when people don't offer their seat to pregnant women. I know that sometimes you can get carried away with your book or paper or you just end up staring into space and don't notice. But if you're not going to notice someone's large stomach in your face, how are you going to notice a tiny white badge with "Baby on board!" and the tube roundel logo?

According to a recent Tube poll the vast majority of people (92%) think that seated people should offer seats to pregnant women without being asked. However, a similarly large amount of people (85%) said that a woman should ask if she needs a seat. Not sure how those statistics quite tally, specially when you then throw in a confusing 78% of pregnant women who say they never asked when they needed to sit down.

Someone from London Underground said that "although people feel seats should be offered to pregnant women, no one is communicating. Therefore creating a visual prompt could help. Offering a badge gives pregnant women the option to identify themselves to other customers as someone who may require a seat. This eliminates potentially embarrassing situations."

If someone offers me a seat I must admit I never take offence, I just take the seat. If I was fat perhaps I might take offence as they may think I'm pregnant. But that's not a crime, is it?

Sometimes I offer seats to clearly pregnant women and they say no. I then spend about 15 seconds thinking "bollox to you then", but then I get on with my life. It's not the most embarrassing thing in the world.

My mate did a piece for BBC London News last year to flog her Tube book and she stuffed a cushion up her jumper and was filmed trying to get a seat. Just to make it even more obvious that she was "pregnant", she carried a Dr Spock baby book and huffed and puffed a lot, and still sometimes didn't get a seat. If LU think the badge may make a big difference that's great. The byline for the picture of the badge says "Wear the badge in a visible place and you'll get a seat". Don't count on it!

The spokesperson also said "We want to find out if pregnant women will find these badges empowering, encouraging them to ask for the seat they need. We also want to find out how their fellow Tube passengers will react when they see the badges, encouraging them to offer a seat when they know it will be appreciated". A final decision on distribution of the "Baby on Board" badges will be taken once reaction to the trial has been gauged.

Priority seat stickers on Tokyo subway


Perhaps they should bring out badges for the elderly saying "Oldie on board", or people with crutches "Broken leg on board".


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