New York City MTA Introduces Courtesy Buttons for Passengers With Disabilities

New York City wants to help passengers with disabilities find a seat on public transportation. On Sunday, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) began a pilot program designed to help people with disabilities, senior citizens and pregnant women get a seat on the city’s buses and trains. The program, which runs through Labor Day, provides those who request them with pins reading, “Please offer me a seat. Courtesy Counts.”

Courtesy Counts Pin
“Pregnant riders, seniors and those with disabilities often need seats more than others but their condition may not always be visible,” MTA interim executive director Ronnie Hakim said in a press 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.

Currently, passengers with disabilities have access to priority seating, seats which are designated for those who are unable to stand for the duration of their journey. However, these seats are often used by non-disabled passengers.

The program follows two recently filed class action lawsuits against the MTA, claiming New York City’s public transportation is inaccessible to people who use mobility devices and those with disabilities that make it difficult to use the stairs. According to the lawsuits, less than 25 percent of subway stations (112 out of 472) have elevators, making New York City’s subway station the least accessible in the United States.

“While we continue to designate ‘priority seating’ for riders with disabilities, this is another way to expand the availability of seating for those who need it most,” Hakim added. “The MTA is committed to promoting access to our system for people with disabilities. Over the coming years, this will involve spending billions to make more of our system ADA-accessible through the addition of elevators at stations and focusing on ways we can improve the availability of our existing elevators.”

The awareness buttons are similar to the ones introduced last August by London’s department of transportation as part of a pilot program. In April, London began offering the pins on a permanent basis. The MTA says its program is the first of its kind in the U.S.

Those interested in receiving a pin can easily apply on the MTA’s website. Pins are mailed out within two to three weeks. 

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Disability

Woman drawing made of lotus petals.

Please Don't Feel Sorry About My Disability

Upon hearing the story of what happened to me at age 28 (getting sick; the beginnings of physical disability), most people look at me with pity in their eyes and sympathy stitched on their faces, and tell me how sorry they are. I understand this is a response born of compassion and of a desire [...]

Why My Mother Has Been My Greatest Ally as a Person With a Disability

My mother is a hardworking women. She is not perfect, as she often expresses, but to me she gets pretty damn close. I know that no matter what I do, she will always help me to the absolute best of her abilities. More than anything, she is always there for me when I need her. [...]
Doctor with stethoscope.

What the Medicaid Fight Means to Me as Someone With a Disability

Congressional Republicans, spearheaded by Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence, are under deep pressure to pass legislation which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — the groundbreaking health care legislation passed in 2010 under President Barack Obama. Under the AHCA, Medicaid funding would be drastically cut – with such severe restructuring that [...]
Speechless promo image featuring the DiMeo family

ABC's 'Speechless' Renewed for a Second Season

Good news, “Speechless” fans. ABC’s hit show about the DiMeo family has been renewed for a second season. Minnie Driver, who plays Maya DiMeo, the family matriarch, tweeted the news on Friday. Well, @Speechless_ABC has officially been picked up for a second season. ???????? — Minnie Driver (@driverminnie) May 12, 2017 The show stars Micah Fowler as [...]