The app was developed to prompt passengers to offer their seat to any pregnant commuters on board. The new app sends a notification to travelers when they are in the vicinity of a pregnant passenger who does not have a seat.
The app which has been named Babee on Board, enables pregnant women travelling in London, to send a message notification to nearby commuters alerting them to the situation – all without the need for mobile phone reception.
The Chief executive of 10x (a London based company) Hew Leith, was inspired to develop the idea after failing to give up his own seat for a pregnant lady, due to being tied up on a call.
“A year ago an 80-year-old woman who sat next to me on a busy Tube got up and offered her seat to a heavily pregnant woman,” said Leith. “I was mortified: I had been too engrossed on my smartphone to notice anything.”
10x identified an issue with this during a survey of 100 pregnant women, noticing that as many as 39 per cent have to stand when commuting on the Tube, on a regular basis, due to people being “too busy on their phones to look up”.
The issue specifically affects women in the early stages of pregnancy, who are not showing as yet.
“It’s much easier to get a seat when you have a big obvious bump, but it’s actually in the early stages of pregnancy that a seat is needed the most,” said Sally Davies, a London commuter who is six months pregnant. “That’s when you are feeling most nauseous and everything aches but you feel self-conscious asking for a seat because you don’t have a visible bump.”
Alerts can only be received by other users who have a sister app called Babee on Board: Offer a Seat, downloaded on their device. This is a clear stumbling block but as long as both parties have the app/sister app (which costs £3.99, the sister app being free of charge) a message can be sent to everyone within 15 feet, via bluetooth.
Those who have downloaded the sister app will see a message that says, “Heads up! There’s a pregnant person nearby who might need a seat”.
10x currently donates all monies received for the app to the Healthy Children Charity. The company hopes that in the future it can collaborate with the likes of Google, Apple, Citymapper and Uber in a bid to cut out the need for a sister app to be downloaded in order for the pilot to be successful.
The app is being trialed in London at the moment and hopes to expand country-wide in the future.