Have you heard about the new TFL scheme ‘Please offer me a seat’?
If you haven’t, don’t feel bad, it’s been hidden amidst the usual complaints and strikes about the London underground!
The scheme is actually a pretty great idea to help those with unseen difficulties be able to get a seat on the underground by providing eligible disabled people with
a badge and card which they can use to help them request a seat from other passengers.
Similar to the ‘Baby on Board’ badges, these badges can help someone with a disability which may not be obvious to other people feel confident enough to ask for a seat when needed.
It ran for 6 weeks last year and I took part in it for my commuting to work- a fun experience in itself made more exciting when you have non epileptic seizures! For me, standing on trains is pretty much impossible, but you’d never know it to look at me. I walk fine and have no visible condition but standing on a moving train, especially when it’s hot and crowded knocks me out with more force than rush hour on the northern line.
As you can imagine, i’ve had some interesting experiences trying to get a seat. I find it extremely difficult to ask due to the anxiety of getting ridiculed and of causing other people inconvenience but the crux of it is that if I don’t ask, i’ll take a trip on the floor! Sometimes I get lucky and people are kind and let me have a disabled seat with no issue. Other times they pretend not to hear or tell me I don’t look disabled.
Wearing this badge had a hugely positive impact for me, some people actually asked me if i’d like a seat and one wonderful woman parted half the carriage telling people that I needed a seat. TFL’s surveys from the trial stated that ‘72% of journeys were said to be easier as a result of the badge’ and a brilliant ‘ 86% of journeys participants reported feeling more confident when asking for a seat’.
Please look out for people wearing the little blue badges on the underground- not all disabilities are visible and you could massively help someone out 🙂
If you’re disabled and travelling on TFL Apply for a badge here!
Thanks for reading! xo