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TfL’s badge for disabled passengers to be rolled out permanently

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that its blue badge for disabled passengers less able to stand on public transport will be introduced on a permanent basis early next year.

The ‘Please offer me a seat’ badge, and accompanying card, were trialled for six weeks in September and October of this year in response to passenger feedback and TfL research which found that those with hidden disabilities and conditions often had trouble finding seats when they needed one.

More than 1,200 people tested the new badges, with 72% of journeys said to be easier as a result of the badge. Passengers reported feeling more confident when asking for a seat on 86% of journeys and 98% said they would recommend the badge to somebody who would benefit from it.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m proud that Londoners embraced this innovative trial and that Londoners wearing the badges found travelling around our capital easier as a result.

“It’s great news that next year we will be able to offer them to all those with hidden disabilities and conditions, and I’m really looking forward to the blue badges becoming as recognisable on public transport as our hugely successful ‘Baby on board’ ones.”

TfL’s announcement makes it the first integrated transport provider in Europe to recognise and support invisible impairments in such a way on its network.

The badge is the latest of TfL’s initiatives to help disabled passengers, building on the success of its ‘Baby on board’ badge, which was launched in 2005 to help pregnant women gain a seat on public transport, and its Travel Support card which helps disabled and older customers communicate with staff. 

Mike Brown MVO, London’s transport commissioner, said that the badge and card will be launched permanently next year once TfL has conducted a thorough review of the findings of the trial.

“This trial has made a real difference to people with invisible impairments, conditions and injuries who find it difficult to get a seat when they need one,” added Brown.

While the success of the badge trial has been welcomed, campaigners have argued that there is still more that TfL can do as part of its commitment to improve its network for all its passengers.

Alan Benson, chair of Transport for All, a charity which provides information and advice for disabled transport users in London, highlighted that some passengers will not want to display their condition so visibly but should also be accommodated by TfL. 

“Transport for All are pleased to hear the ‘Please offer me a seat’ trial was successful and TfL and the mayor will be launching it next year,” Benson said.

“While this will help many customers, there will be those who don’t want to use a badge and card. We want to see those people supported too, and for everyone to get a seat who needs one.”

Readers can find out when TfL’s ‘Please give me a seat’ badge and card will be going live by following @TfLAccess on Twitter in the New Year.

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