Transport for London are to trial badges for travellers with disabilities or hidden ailments to urge other passengers to give up their seat for them.
The new accessories, in the style of the current ‘Baby On Board’ badges issued to pregnant women, are being introduced as a result of complaints from those who commonly struggle to find a seat but really need to do so. The announcement comes just a week before the start of the 2016 Paralympics, which will also help reiterate the importance of understanding disability, whether it be hidden or visible.
The trial will launch this month and those who participate will be issued with a badge to wear as well as a card to show TfL staff. About 1,000 badges will be issued as part of the initial trial.
Cancer patient James McNaught made efforts last year to design his own ‘Cancer On Board’ badges when he was being treated for throat cancer, and said “When I was undergoing radiotherapy for throat cancer, it meant I couldn’t talk to ask for a seat and the morphine I was taking made me appear drunk. It was a real struggle to get people to understand why I needed to sit down. I’m really pleased TfL is doing this trial.”
The 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. 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.”
The current ‘Baby On Board’ badges are used by over 300,000 pregnant women a year, and were launched back in 2005. The badges can be ordered online and delivered to any address in Greater London or the South East of England. It’s thought that the new badges will be subject to a similar application process.
Do you think the badges are a good initiative, or too little too late? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo credit: TfL
Author Lex Barber