Train bosses have launched their own baby on board badges to help pregnant women get a seat when they need it.
Nexus, which owns and manages the Metro rail system, is introducing the scheme to make travel on its services that little bit easier for expectant mums.
The badges are designed to overcome the awkwardness often felt by pregnant women in having to ask someone to give up their seat on the Metro.
Each badge bears the slogan Baby on Board and has the iconic Metro logo underneath in the firm's traditional yellow and black colour scheme.
Metro chiefs are also introducing an I Need a Seat badge for people less able to stand, including those with a disability, elderly people, injured people or people with hidden
disabilities and conditions.
The badges, which also come as key rings, are free and will be available from all Nexus Travel Shops from Wednesday, May 17, with midwives throughout Tyne and Wear also handing
out the Baby on Board badges to expectant mums.
The managing Director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “Commuters might not always notice straight away if someone nearby needs a seat, and we’ve all been in that situation where
we’re too nervous to ask whether someone needs a seat, in fear that we might be wrong and cause offence.
“The Baby on Board badge is designed to help women at all stages of pregnancy feel more confident on the Metro and to make journeys less awkward for pregnant women and fellow passengers alike.”
Sheila Ford, head of midwifery at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The badges will be particularly useful for those in early stage pregnancy who might not be
obviously pregnant and might be too embarrassed to ask a fellow passenger to give up their seat.
“It's much easier to get a seat when you have a visible, obvious bump, but in the early stages of pregnancy you are likely to start feeling nauseous, tired and lightheaded – not a good
combination when you’re in the middle of a busy commute - so being offered a seat makes travel safer as well as more comfortable."
Information about the scheme will be displayed on carriage cards on board Metro trains.
The scheme was first introduced on London Underground after a report revealed that pregnant passengers were made to stand for an average of five stops before being offered a seat.
All Metro trains already have a number of designated priority seats intended for those passengers in greatest need of a seat, such as people with a disability, elderly passengers,
expectant mothers or people less able to stand.
For more information on the Baby on Board and I Need a Seat schemes, visit www.nexus.org.uk/metro or visit your local Nexus TravelShop.