Transport for London (TFL) have been issuing their Please Offer me a seat Badge since 2017 and in those 5 years have helped to increase ease of access for rail travel for up to 100,000 disabled people and those with invisible conditions. This week marks the launch of their initiative; Priority seating week, which aims to spread the proactive message and encourage more people to try and support the needs of their fellow travellers, as part of TFL’s work to improve accessibility across their network.
Since the end of Covid-19 restrictions within the UK, train travel has seen a boost in overall numbers of those utilising the services available. This can be seen through tube systems in London regaining over two thirds of their pre-pandemic levels of travel. While these numbers are not quite back to the levels required, many initiatives can and should be implemented nationwide, in order to help nudge people to return to their former routines.
The ‘Travel Kind’ campaign from the TFL acts as a shining example of initiatives that could represent a major change in the attitudes and habits of the citizens within the UK. By doing so, people across the nation will be encouraged to participate in rail travel again as it will encourage a feeling of safety and community within the platform, something that has been seen greatly amongst UK citizens since the start of the pandemic.
These sorts of campaigns can seek to capitalise on an already existing undercurrent of post pandemic community values, where citizens had to work together wherever possible. Encouraging the support and aiding of these types of campaigns can influence an overall increase to rail travel, not just in London, but nationwide.
Implementing change can be seen, not just in support of campaigns such as ‘Please Offer me a Badge’, but also in the advancement of structural improvements to trains and their stations.
Statistics show that 52% of the TFL’s rail networks are now step free, with the number of step free tube stations now reaching a total of 91, equating to one third of London’s entire tube network.
These changes are helping to advance the opportunities available to certain members of the public, who have often been forgotten regarding their travel needs, whether it be for work or leisure. In championing these changes within the rail systems, it is not just the rights of individuals that are benefitting, but also the profits and overall usage of the rail industry across the UK.
By allowing and encouraging more avenues for people with disabilities, the industry will naturally see a spike in overall use of its services, thus increasing the overall profit for the companies involved.