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MTA’s new seat campaign stands on practice of common courtesy

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Sunday, May 14,

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Sunday, May 14, 2017, launched an awareness campaign to encourage passengers to offer a seat to pregnant riders, seniors and those with disabilities. The pilot program runs through Labor Day. Credit: MTA

The MTA is calling on its passengers to practice common courtesy with a new campaign, according to a news release.

Senior citizens, pregnant or disabled passengers can request MTA-issued buttons, signaling to other riders that they’re seeking a seat, according to the release. Riders can choose from a “Baby on Board” button or another that reads “Please Offer Me a Seat.”

The pilot program begins Sunday, Mother’s Day, and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 4, according to the release.

“Pregnant riders, seniors and those with disabilities often need seats more than others, but their condition may not always be visible,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim said in the 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.”

Riders are already required to relinquish seats to disabled passengers in designated “priority seating” areas. The courtesy buttons are meant to help riders “better identify” which passengers need seats and encourage people to give up their seats to seniors and pregnant or disabled riders as a “matter of courtesy,” the release states.

Customers can fill out an online form requesting a free button, which will be mailed in about three weeks.

A similar program has been used in the London Tube since 2005. About 130,000 of the courtesy badges are distributed every year, according to the release.

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