Mayor delivers for mums-to-be

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has launched a Baby On Board badge for mums-to-be on the move.

The badge identifies pregnant women on public transport so fellow passengers can choose to offer them a seat - without awkward questions.

TfWM, the transport arm of West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) introduced the scheme after a pregnant woman raised the issue in a letter to the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street.

(l-r) Mrs Mary Van-Roy came along to thank Kerry Meredith of TfWM and Mayor Andy Street for introducing the Baby On Board badge.
(l-r) Mrs Mary Van-Roy came along to thank Kerry Meredith of TfWM and Mayor Andy Street for introducing the Baby On Board badge.

A trial of 1000 badges is under way – and TfWM’s customer services team has already reported that demand is high.

Mary Van-Roy contacted the Mayor when she was in the early stages of pregnancy.

She said: “I was finding pregnancy difficult and I was quite worried about how I’d cope on the train.

“In earlier stages of pregnancy it’s not very obvious if you are pregnant or if that’s your body shape and I thought the introduction of a badge could remove a barrier for somebody who might be willing to give up their seat but not want to cause offence.”

TfWM’s ticketing team developed the badge offer along the lines of similar schemes previously operated in London and Newcastle.   

The Mayor said: “I’m grateful to Mary for highlighting this issue - I can see how there could be an awkward situation.

“It isn’t always obvious that someone is expecting and it’s embarrassing to have to ask – so this cuts out any confusion.

“The badge doesn’t guarantee mothers-to-be a seat but we know that most of the travelling public here in the West Midlands are very considerate and happy to give up their place for someone in greater need.”

Mrs Van-Roy said she was delighted with the rapid response from the Mayor and TfWM.

She said: “The badge arrived at a similar time to me looking obviously pregnant. But I’m finding I am offered a seat on busy train journeys during morning rush hour.

“I’m impressed with the speed at which the WMCA has been able to move with the badges, only a few months from suggestion to launch is amazing considering how much time it can take to get approval to just investigate the possibility.

“Andy was great, even with his tight schedule he took the time to speak to me about a range of things.

“It’s easy to assume that high profile politicians aren’t that interested in the people they are responsible for but he seems to really care about doing his best for the people of the West Midlands.” 

Birmingham Women’s Hospital is also backing the badge scheme – promoting it as part of the Bump programme.

Badges are available on the Network West Midlands website and local travel centres.