World

Pregnant and looking for a seat on Tokyo subway? Use this app

TOKYO: Pregnant women struggling to bag a seat on the famously packed Tokyo subway could find their salvation in a new app connecting them with nearby passengers willing to give theirs up.

The digital match-making app being trialled this week allows a pregnant woman to send a message when she wants a seat.

The app will then look for pre-registered users who have said they are willing to give up their seats.

If there is a match, the pregnant woman gets a seat map on her smartphone screen showing her partner's location.

The exchange can be made without giving personal information to each other.

Printing and IT company Dai Nippon Printing has been testing the service this week on one of the key subway lines in conjunction with Tokyo Metro and the Line messaging app.

"This may be particular to Japan but some people hesitate to speak to a person who may need a seat," said a spokesman at Dai Nippon Printing, which is involved in the project.

"Many people are also looking at smartphone screens and do not always realise quickly that someone in need is standing nearby," said the spokesman.

It has not been decided when the service will be rolled out, but the companies also hope to expand assistance to the elderly and disabled people. - AFP

WORLD