Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Groundbreaking new scheme launched to help those with hidden disabilities on the tube

tube seat.jpg

Spotting an empty seat on the tube in London is about as rare as seeing a unicorn galloping down the street blowing glitter through its nose. Wedge yourself onto the carriage of any given tube line at rush hour and you will be lucky to maintain any semblance of personal space, let alone bag an entire unoccupied seat to yourself.

And while this can be annoying on the best of days, it can be a genuine problem for those who have difficulties travelling on public transport due to a disability.

Now, Transport for London (TfL) are taking steps towards making the tube more accessible and comfortable for everyone, with the introduction of a new "please give me a seat" badge scheme aimed at helping those who have a hidden disability.

Finding a seat on the tube is a rarity

Finding a seat on the tube is a rarity

Thought to be the first scheme of its kind in Europe, TfL hopes the initiative will follow in the success of its "baby on board" scheme, which sees badges given to pregnant women to help make their journeys more comfortable.

The initiative will be rolled out across London on 12 September, with 1,000 people already recruited to start wearing the new blue-and-white badges. 

And giving a nod to the scheme, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, told BBC News he hoped they would "give confidence" to those who have problems standing on the tube.

The scheme should make travelling better for those with a hidden disability

The scheme should make travelling better for those with a hidden disability

In a city where talking to strangers is far from the norm, the badges should be a useful way of communicating if a person needs a seat.

James McNaught, 45, who used the tube to travel to chemotherapy appointments, told the BBC he was "really pleased" with the scheme after deciding to make his own "cancer on board" badges during his treatment. Having radiotherapy on his throat left him unable to talk while the morphine he was on made him appear drunk, so he had no other way of telling fellow passengers that he needed a seat.

"A badge and card could help make a real difference to the lives of people undergoing drug treatment or with longer term conditions or disabilities," he added.



How the Paralympics lead the way in sports equality


A lesson in diversity from one of the happiest places in the world


Wolf whistles could be recorded as hate crimes against women


See red in Koh Samui

Stylist heads to Thailand to experience one of the most spectacular swimming pools in the world

by The Stylist web team
17 Oct 2017

You're more likely to get better service on a plane if you sit here

We've got all the in-flight seating tips you could ever want

by Megan Murray
16 Oct 2017

Stay at The Malabar, Yorkshire Dales

12 Oct 2017

These are the 10 happiest places to live in the UK

Is it time for a change of scenery?

by Susan Devaney
11 Oct 2017

Discover a Costwolds bolthole with museum-worthy art

Stylist finds Artist Residence Oxfordshire more than lives up to its name

by Amy Adams
10 Oct 2017

The 10 dreamiest (and most expensive) streets to live on in the UK

We should have started saving about ten years ago

by Megan Murray
04 Oct 2017

Discover the real Rome that lies beyond the silver screen

Stylist goes behind the scenes at the living film set that is Rome

by The Stylist web team
03 Oct 2017

Seriously hip hotels you need to follow on Instagram

From a rock’n’roll hideaway in Texas to a futuristic glampsite in Devon

by Anna Hart
28 Sep 2017

Step between the scenes of Australia’s artsy second city…

Melbourne shuns beaches and boardwalks for coffee, culture and creativity, finds Stylist

by The Stylist web team
26 Sep 2017

This is how to book an NYC shopping trip with Sarah Jessica Parker

Sex and the City fans, this is not a drill

by Megan Murray
26 Sep 2017