Let’s applaud the London Underground for getting on the ‘hidden disabilities’ bandwagon

The six-week trial is believed to be the first of its kind in Europe [Image: Transport for London].

The six-week trial is believed to be the first of its kind in Europe [Image: Transport for London].


Here’s an excellent idea being piloted by Transport for London: badges for people with hidden disabilities, allowing them to claim a seat on the Tube.

Is it possible that the architects of this scheme have visited one of the Asda superstores that have signs to show that people with hidden disabilities are entitled to use toilet facilities for the disabled?

This Writer’s only doubt refers to the company “recruiting” people to start wearing the badges from a particular date.

That smacks of “tokenism” – doing something for people with disabilities in order to be able to say something is being done.

There are plenty of people with disabilities living in London who read This Blog, so I’d like to appeal for them to let me know how well the scheme works.

People with hidden health conditions are being offered “Please offer me a seat” badges in a bid to help ease their suffering on London transport.

The Transport for London (TfL) trial follows the success of its “Baby on board” badge for pregnant women.

TfL is recruiting 1,000 people to start wearing the blue badges from 12 September.

Source: Tube ‘Please offer me a seat’ badges for hidden disabilities – BBC News

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7 thoughts on “Let’s applaud the London Underground for getting on the ‘hidden disabilities’ bandwagon

  1. Stu

    Although this seems to be a step forward, it greatly concerns me when the disabled are not only given a social label but an actual physical one (The yellow stars worn by Jews in Germany springs to mind)
    So yes, it is simply tokenism for the purposes of achieving a positive corporate image the tell is the way that it’s publicised.

    Surely educating the masses about the existence of invisible disabilities is a far better option than putting a big label on a lapel which leaves the wearer open to abuse by Right -Wing judgemental onlookers.

    A badge simply serves to identify a scrounger in their eyes whilst absobing the vile anti-disabled bile in their free Daily Heil (Metro).

  2. casalealex

    Not sure about this. Bad enough with the recent increase in disability hate crimes, to actually label oneself, looks like a red rag to a bull?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Excellent point. There is a big difference between a label on a door and a label on a person. Your argument is persuasive and I can feel another article coming on.

  3. David Woods

    Well at least not being made to wear ‘arm bands’ to delineate themselves, but can you picture the ‘persecution’ by some of our lovely train travelling folk!

    Surely supplying enough seats for their customers should be a more important choice, given how much they are charged to use the tube!

  4. Florence

    All well and good to get a seat on the train, but another red rag to those who already target those with visible disabilities for insults and abuse.

  5. Zippi

    Is potential abuse a reason not to wear a badge, if it means that, on the cattle truck, you can get a seat? I have bilateral tendon tears in my shoulders, which means that, if I can’t get a seat, I have to lean against something, usually the doors, which, in turn, means that I have no chance, whatsoever, of getting a seat, because I cannot stand near to them, because I cannot hold the grab rails, due to my injuries. I have often felt like asking people to give up their seat for me, however, because it looks like there is nothing wrong with me, I am deterred. Furthermore, when a seat does become available and I make a mad dash for it, either I am thwarted and feel unable to explain that my need may be greater than that of the person who acquired it, or else am frowned upon, for allegedly taking a seat from somebody who, apparently, needed it more than I; even when I offer an explanation [How dare I not offer the seat to the woman who fought me for it]. The alternative, is to wait for what seems aeons, for a train that has space, which is not practical, or else endure an uncomfortable, often painful journey, pain which will continue long after I have left the train.
    The annoying thing is that, in rush hour, most of the people who occupy the seats will be sitting, or will have been seated for much of the day, anyway. There is an attitude within the tube network, one, of every man for himself and of isolation, insular behaviour and lack of community, of ignorance and lack of willingness to engage; if I hide behind my paper, I can pretend that I didn’t see. How many people who sit in seats that are already designated for people who have trouble standing, readily surrender them? I was forced to stand when I was on crutches and had to enter a train, on which I was not travelling, to effectively bully people out of their seats, so that my mother could sit. If a badge highlights an issue and raises awareness, so much the better, in my opinion. What is needed is a change of attitude and that won’t happen without discourse and engagement. Bring on the badges, I say and aye, I’d like one.

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