Badges from mystery source encouraging passengers to talk elicit calls for ‘do not disturb’ signs – but not everyone is against.
The perception of the London commuter as an unfriendly curmudgeon has been bolstered by the mixed reaction to a mystery campaign to encourage tube passengers to chat.
Badges emblazoned with the question “Tube chat?” have been distributed on theLondon Underground network, to the horror of some regular users.
Transport for London (TfL) said it was not behind the badges, which are identical in font and design to the official “Baby on board” pins given to expectant mothers.
Commuters were quick to express their disdain for the idea, for which no individual or group has claimed responsibility.
The badges come attached to a small piece of card, which reads: “Have a chat with your fellow travellers. Wear this badge to let others know you’re interested. You’ll benefit from a daily chat. Start using it today!”
But some commuters did react warmly to the badges:
A TfL spokeswoman said: “It’s definitely not something we have created. We are trying to get in touch with the people behind them as we never allow people to use our branding unless they have our permission.
“This sort of stuff is quite dangerous; we don’t want people to get confused.
“While it is an interesting idea, we don’t want people using our branding.”
“Baby on board” badges can be ordered from TfL to help mothers-to-be secure a seat without embarrassment.
Badges for people with disabilities or who are less able to stand, saying “Please offer me a seat”, are also being trialled.