Lonely Planet Writer

A new scheme hopes to help those with hidden disabilities on London transport

A new initiative is being trialled in London from next Monday to examine whether the introduction of badges will help those in genuine need of a seat on the Tube, trains or buses. We all know the frustration of trying to get a seat on packed public transport and it can be even more problematic for those who already have difficulties travelling due to a disability, illness or injury. This particularly occurs if the condition is not immediately obvious to bystanders, which can cause embarrassment to those who are forced to explain why they genuinely need a seat.

A new scheme is being trialled on London transport to help make it easier for people with hidden disabilities to access seats. Image: Transport for London
A new scheme is being trialled on London transport to help make it easier for people with hidden disabilities to access seats. Image: Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) has recruited 1,000 people for the month-long trial, and they will wear blue-and-white badges that say, “Please offer me a seat.” Passengers who are able to stand are requested to give up their seat to people wearing the badge. The idea is aimed at making transport in the English capital more accessible and comfortable for everyone and it follows in the success of the “Baby on Board” scheme, which sees badges being given to pregnant women to help make their journeys better.

A new scheme is being trialled on London transport to help make it easier for people with hidden disabilities to access seats. Image: Image: Westend61/Getty Images
A new scheme is being trialled on London transport to help make it easier for people with disabilities to access seats. Image: Transport for London: Image: Westend61/Getty Images

If the trial proves successful, the blue badges will become more widely available later this year. Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner, said if the scheme works, TfL will work closely with older and disabled people’s organisations to develop the final product. Commenting on the introduction, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “ I want Londoners to embrace our new trial and help these blue badges become instantly recognisable, giving confidence to those wearing them on public transport across London.”

A new scheme is being trialled on London transport to help make it easier for people with hidden disabilities to access seats. Image: Transport for London
A new scheme is being trialled on London transport to help make it easier for people with hidden disabilities to access seats. Image: Transport for London

Alice Mitchell-Pye of Leonard Cheshire Disability also welcomed the new scheme. “This small act of consideration from Londoners could make a huge difference to disabled people getting around the city and being fully involved in all London has to offer,” she explained.

A new scheme is being trialled on London transport to help make it easier for people with hidden disabilities to access seats, similar to th existing "Baby on Board" scheme. Image: Transport for London
A new scheme is being trialled on London transport to help make it easier for people with hidden disabilities to access seats, similar to the existing “Baby on Board” scheme. Image: Transport for London