Please offer me a seat

Following the success of its ‘Baby on board’ badge for pregnant women, Transport for London are starting a new trial for passengers with disabilites, hidden health conditions, illnesses and injuries. They are looking for 1000 volunteers to trial a new blue badge and card system designed to encourage passengers to offer their seats to anyone who is less able to stand.

The badges say ‘Please offer me a seat’ and the hope is that a wearer can easily alert fellow passengers of their need for a seat without having to ask. The card elaborates a little further with the text ‘Remember not all disabilities and conditions are visible’.

The trial is to start on the 12th September and if successful the badges will be made more widely available later this year.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said:

We hope that these new blue badges can make a real difference to those who find it difficult to get a seat when they need one, particularly those with hidden disabilities. Everyone who travels around London knows about the success of the Baby on Board badges. I want Londoners to embrace our new trial and help these blue badges become as instantly-recognisable, giving confidence to those wearing them on public transport across London.

Anyone interested in taking part in the trial should contact research agency 2CV by emailing tfltrial@2cv.com

Having read around the subject today, it seems that a lot of London commuters are too busy staring at their mobile phones to even notice a pregnant women, let alone a small badge saying ‘Baby on board’ so I wonder how successful this new campaign will be. As I work from home, I very rarely use public transport, but when I do, I do notice that other commuters are very much focused on their screens and not on what is going on around them. So wearing a badge, which is meant to remove the need to ask for a seat, may very well be a waste of time.

The need to ask, then leads to the need to provide a reason and despite the fact that in their announcement Transport for London also noted that anyone wearing one of the badges shouldn’t feel pressure to explain why they’re wearing one, the pressure might still be there.

I wonder how well the trial will go and whether busy tired commuters, who have paid for their seat will give up their seats for badge wearers. What do you think? Would you wear one of the badges?

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