No one stood for me on my long NYC subway commute until the day I hit 30 weeks pregnant, and then everyone did. But overall, I noticed a general trend: Women and older men were the most likely to hop up, while young men did not. Other people have other stories— some say men are kinder than women, some say the opposite.
But one problem that’s universally acknowledged is that in that middle period when pregnant straphangers may have less prominent “baby bumps,” people aren’t sure whether to offer a seat or not—because they don’t want to assume that everyone packing a little bit of paunch is preggers! Futhermore, during that awful first trimester when you’re nauseous and faint all the time, many riders wish they had a sign that said “I have morning sickness!” so they could get a bit of a break.
“The yellow and blue buttons, complete with an official M.T.A. logo, are the latest part of the agency’s campaign to encourage New Yorkers to be polite to the riders crammed next to them on the train. It follows the popular crusade to eliminate “manspreading” — the practice of spreading one’s legs across multiple seats, which has raised the ire of female riders.
Riders can order a free button online, and it should arrive in about three weeks, officials said. A separate button that says “Please Offer Me a Seat” is also available for older people and riders with disabilities.”
While these buttons are hardly a fix-all, and they’re even a bit cheesy, they will at least remind the rest of us commuters staring deep into our smartphones to look around and see if anyone needs a place to sit.