Would you wear one of these badges on your morning commute?

A new badge encouraging Londoners to talk to each other on the commute has been released [Photo: Twitter]

Commute via tube? You know the drill. Squeeze into a spot, bury yourself in a book/the Metro/your phone, don’t make eye contact and under no circumstances whatsoever speak to your fellow passengers. It’s basically the law.

Us Londoners are an unsocial lot. A recent survey by Joosr revealed that almost a fifth (17%) of commuters hated making eye contact with their fellow passengers while 16% did not enjoy having to talk to other commuters.

But someone has decided to try and flip that by trying to encourage small talk on public transport. We know, bonkers right?

New badges have been handed out on the tube with the words ‘Tube chat?’ printed on them. An accompanying information card reveals that the badges have been created to get people interacting on the journey to work.

“Have a chat with your fellow customers,” the card reads. “Wear this badge to let others know you’re interested. You’ll benefit from a daily chat. Start using it today!”

[Photo: Twitter]

Designed in the style of the familiar ‘Baby on board’ badges and sporting the official London Underground logo, you’d be forgiven for thinking the badges are the brainchild of Transport for London, but a tweet from TFL revealed the scheme is not their doing.

“The ‪#tube_chat badge is not an official TfL badge,” it reads. “To find out more about our official badges & a new trial see here.”

So whose bright idea are they?

It was previously thought the badges were created by filmmaker Leo Leigh and artist Toby Leigh who tweeted they were going to be distributing them at stations earlier this week, but it has now been revealed that the man behind the idea is American Jonathan Dunne.

The scheme came about after Jonathan noticed just how uncomfortable us Londoners are with basic social interactions. After attempting to plan an event celebrating the Rio Olympics at work, the fact that no one really participated made the 42-year-old NHS administrator realise how isolating the city could be.

And he’s not wrong. Earlier this year, London was named the British capital of loneliness, with a 90% of over-55s saying that they had felt lonely. The survey of 2000 people by think tank Demos and retirement housebuilder McCarthy and Stone also revealed that less than half of Londoners felt there was good community spirit in their neighbourhoods.

The badges haven’t gone down well with London’s commuters [Photo: Getty]

But despite the good intentions behind the new badges, Londoners have reacted with predictable disdain to being forced to talk to one another.

“The worst thing about the #tube_chat badges is that they haven’t even CONSIDERED the rest of us, who’ll have to listen to it happening,” one woman tweeted.

“Just saw the ‪#tube_chat thing. You can lead a horse to water, but by God, you cannot lead a Londoner into social interaction on the Tube,” added another.

“What is this monstrosity?! This is too much. Make it stop. Say no to ‪#tube_chat,” anotether tweeter quipped.

But not everyone was against the badges.

“I think I may be the only one in the world who thinks that ‪#tube_chat is a good idea. I like talking to people. You might learn something…”

“Interesting point that folk happily talk at strangers on Twitter, but not with real peeps on the tube,” one woman wrote.

Speaking to BBC’s Newsbeat the badge creator revealed he was disappointed by the reaction.

"All I wanted to do was have a little bit of fun,” he said.

“I thought it would be a bit more fun. This wasn’t a massively thought-out plan.”

But he’s still planning to have another crack at getting London talking.

“I’ve ordered some more,” he says. “My wife sort of frowned on the first batch. She doesn’t know about the second batch.”

Good luck with that Jonathan.

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