Londoner creates 'priority seat' tube badge for disabled people

28 April 2016

Badge saying 'priority seat' with the London Underground logo belowDisabled people who can't stand for long periods of time could soon benefit from a 'priority seat' badge to wear on public transport in London.

Similar to the successful 'baby on board' badges for pregnant women, the priority seat badge would signal to other passengers a person's need to be offered a seat.

Alice sitting on a train wearing a black coat and white scarf Alice Ravenscroft came up with the idea. Following a serious injury a few years ago, she can’t walk or stand for longer than 20 minutes, and has to ask fellow commuters for a seat during her journeys to and from work.

She is now is working with Transport for London to roll out the 'Less Able to Stand' initiative.

London Loves Business recently spoke to Alice about the plans.

'My aim is not only to make my own day-to-day life easier but also to make London a more inclusive city.

'The fear of not being able to get a seat has been a barrier to my independence and employment opportunities.

'Although most people will give up their seat when I ask and explain about my disability, I have found it stressful to have to ask people on a daily basis, as people will occasionally react negatively.

'In my experience, people much prefer to give up their seat voluntarily than to be asked.' — Alice

Transport for London contacted Alice after she wrote about the idea in a blog post. TfL has told Alice they're moving the idea forwards and the next step would most likely be a trial of the badge.

'I also want to raise awareness about hidden disabilities, to create a more caring and considerate society.

'I think this could be a helpful side-effect of the badge: reminding Londoners that there is more to people than what meets the eye, and that the people you pass on the street all face their own struggles and deserve compassion.'


What a great idea. I can't stand for a long time I would be willing to wear a badge

Great idea. I'm disabled and asked for a badge that didn't exist it at the time. I find it very hard to stand in the tube. Just what the underground needs and i would need. With a hidden disability it's hard. Thank you. I would love to help with advice or comments to improve the service

I find it impossible to travel on the tube anymore as it's to far for me to walk.
From the barrier down to the tube. I was told that all passenger assistance will take he is to the barrier. I am losing out £30 each hospital appointment with taxi fares. Can we have passenger assistance from the train direct onto the tube.

Brilliant idea. How can I apply for one? It is not just the standing that can cause me pain, but the constant jolting and pain when having to correct my stance. Sadly, by then, I'm in pain for most of the day. Because I do not look like I have disabilities, I cannot bring myself to ask someone and then having to explain myself.

Great idea! This symbol could also be added to the Freedom Passes of disabled people (who have a disability that affects their mobility/ability to stand).

TfL needs to go further in saying that Priority seats *must* be vacated by those who can stand when someone who can't needs them though. It is infuriating when I walk around London with my walking stick that over 90% of people blatantly stare at it, but when people who aren't disabled sit in priority seats, over 90% pretend not to see it!

Sometimes it's more comfortable for me to stand and keep moving - offering your seat to someone who looks like they might need it doesn't always mean you'll actually have to stand. By doing so though, you make us feel much more confident travelling as we know that the Priority Seat will be given to us when we need it.

To everyone who doesn't pretend not to see people's mobility aids, heavily pregnant women or parents holding kids and offers us their seat: thanks a million-you rock!!

Giving your seat to someone who needs it more stops people suffering pain and distress and it makes you feel good about yourself too. Plus you burn some extra calories! We all win when we are kind to each other.

Great idea! I find it hard standing so I'd apply for one! How can I get one?

My wife has a heart condition - this would
Be helpful

This is a brilliant idea. "Priority Seat" wording is a great way of getting around any embarressment people may feel as its already a term used on TFL. I recently had back surgery & have part paralyses in my foot. I find standing on the bus/tube hard because of being unsteady on my feet I'm more likely to fall with the movement of the journey or from crowds. This is an invisible disability & based my experience in the past on crutches with a plaster cast on my foot people still turn a blind eye & don't offer a seat. A TFL more "official" signage like a badge may be the visual prompt some people need to do the right thing. The Baby Bump badges are a great success. People can chose if wearing a badge is right for them, you shouldn't require a badge to be offered a seat but equally it would be a helpful social aid.

Fantastic. I have a hidden disability which means I can't stand on the tube. I get so fed up with the pointed looks when I use a priority seat. This should also get round the problem of selective deafness that afflicts many tube users when asked to move/stand for someone who needs the seat more.

I have had two successful hip ops but one means I can only move in certain ways which makes life difficult and my spine is fused with two of the lower discs and I can't stand for more than five minutes and am 'wobbly' on a rocky bus! This is a brilliant idea but, as I am now a visitor to London rather than living there any more, I would appreciate this on all forms of transport, nationwide. Any ideas on how this could be achived.

TFL I'd be interested in taking part in a trial. I have an invisible disability which means I rarely am offered a seat and it's embarrassing to ask. Tough when I'm trying to hold down a job and commute to work is so much harder than for most able people.

I have pots and can only stand still for 10 mins then I pass out this would be brilliant X

Add new comment