'Please offer me a seat' Tube badges rolled out on TfL

TfL's "Please offer me a seat badge" Image copyright Transport for London
Image caption The six-week trail was believed to be the first of its kind in Europe

Badges for people with hidden disabilities are to be rolled out across the Transport for London (TfL) network next year, following a successful trial.

The blue "Please offer me a seat" badge, and accompanying card, were trialled by 1,200 people in September.

The badge will join TfL's "Baby on board" badge for pregnant women as a permanent feature from spring 2017.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called the roll out "great news" for Londoners.

During the trial, 72% of journeys were said to be easier as a result of the badge, while in 86% of trips participants reported feeling more confident when asking for a seat.

There is no set definition of conditions that qualify for the badge and card, but TfL say the system will be based on trust - as with its "Baby on board" badge scheme.

Image copyright Transport for London

Twitter user @BlueTube2016, who blogged about her experience during the trial, said: "Before I had the badge, I was always really anxious about travelling on peak.

"Without something to see, I didn't want to risk being interrogated about my invisible disability, or have to justify my need for a seat, so I suffered in silence.

"Before I had the badge, I never had the confidence to ask for a seat unless I had a visible sign," she said.

While welcoming the scheme, Alan Benson, chair of Transport for All, warned that some customers "don't want to use a badge and card".

"We want to see those people supported too, and for everyone to get a seat who needs one."

When it is launched, TfL will become the first European transport provider to officially recognise hidden impairments in such a way, it is believed.

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