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29th Sep 2016

Londoners go into meltdown over badge encouragaging them to talk to each other

Talk to strangers? On public transport? Not a chance.

Rich Cooper

The rules of London’s Tube are clear: head down, eyes forward, and no talking to strangers.

It’s true that Londoners have a something of a reputation for not being receptive to chit-chatting with their fellow passengers, but it turns out that they’re even less receptive to crusades encouraging them to do just that.

A new campaign “#tube_chat” has been supplying commuters with badges that ask other passengers if they fancy a “Tube chat?”

Regular Tube users will be familiar with Transport for London’s ‘Baby on Board’ badges available to pregnant women, and may have seen some of the new ‘Please offer me a seat’ badges for customers who are less able to stand, but the non-TfL #tube_chat badge is a little different.

Everyone can see the benefit in offering pregnant women and less-abled people a seat on the train, but asking commuters to break their vow of silence? Not a chance.

Naturally, Londoners weren’t having any of it.

On the surface, it seems like #tube_chat isn’t going to fly, but maybe there’s a deeper meaning at work. Maybe the people behind the campaign wanted to create something everyone would rail against, something everyone would talk about.

Hey, wait a minute…