London commuters are absolutely horrified by the new ‘Tube chat’ badges

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Kayleigh Dray
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There’s no point denying it; the commute into London is one of our least favourite things about working in the city.

From stifling hot trains, to being pressed up against a sweaty stranger’s armpit on the tube, to having people judge you for applying make-up or eating a sandwich (in public – the ultimate waking nightmare, apparently), there’s a lot to contend with.

The majority of London commuters crave nothing more than a few moments of solitude, read their book or newspaper, listen to their favourite song on their iPad, to catch up on emails, or to simply collect their thoughts for the day ahead.

So, when the new #Tube_Chat badges started appearing at stations and on lapels, many reacted with absolute horror.

Designed to look like Transport for London’s ‘Baby on board’ badges, which are offered to pregnant women to encourage other passengers to give up their seats, the badge (which was produced without TfL’s knowledge) reads simply: “Tube chat?”

Each one has an accompanying information card, which reads: “Have a chat with your fellow customers. Wear this badge to let others know you're interested. You’ll benefit from a daily chat. Start using it today!”

But, while there may be nothing but good intentions behind the scheme, reactions on social media have been less than positive…

Judging from the array of hilarious messages appearing on Twitter, Londoners – much as people from the countryside persist on telling them – aren’t prepared to sit and make small talk with strangers.

They’d much rather be left alone.

A few others, however, have admitted that there may be some instances when they’d be prepared to have a chat on the tube.

However, for rare moments such as these, they have designed their own pins.

Hear hear.

In short, the campaign has proved one thing: you can lead a horse to water (apparently, according to people who deal with horses), but, by God, you cannot lead a Londoner into social interaction on the Tube.


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.