TfL launches new priority seating to enhance accessibility on buses

Posted: 25 April 2023 | | No comments yet

The Priority Seating Week campaign aims to raise awareness of priority seating across TfL’s public transport network, as well as encourage more Londoners to offer their seats to those who need it most.

TfL priority seating

Credit: Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that it has launched its Priority Seating Week to make bus travel in the capital more inclusive, accessible and attractive to all. The initiative will help people with visible and non-visible conditions who require seats while travelling on public transport. 

As part of the initiative, TfL has installed new priority seating across the bus network, featuring an eye-catching moquette in distinctive colours with a clear message indicating that it is a priority seat. More than 300 TfL buses now have more prominent priority seating designs, serving as a helpful reminder to fellow passengers that there may be customers with a greater need of a seat. Half of TfL-owned buses where the new priority seat moquette has been installed are on routes serving outer London, making it easier for people to get a seat for longer journeys.

Since the campaign had first been launched in 2017, more than 100,000 ‘Please Offer me a Seat’ badges have been issued to disabled people and those with non-visible conditions. New priority seating has also been introduced to London Overground and selected London Underground trains to encourage everyone to think about others who have a greater need.

Preliminary research undertaken by TfL on refurbished New Routemaster buses has found that the new priority seat moquette design has improved the quality of journeys for customers. All priority seat users can now easily recognise them, and more than half of all passengers said that their journey experience has improved as a result of the priority seat moquette. Furthermore, three in five non-users of priority seating on refurbished buses said that they are able to recognise the benefits and importance of the new moquette for others who require them.

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With the improvements, customers travelling on the refurbished buses have also been found to be the most satisfied with their journeys, with 95% saying that they would use that bus again.

Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “Buses are already our most accessible mode of public transport. This roll-out will provide even more priority seating on buses and we hope encourage everyone to think about their fellow passengers, helping us to build a better, fairer London for everyone. Not all disabilities are visible so, starting with Priority Seating Week, we’re asking all Londoners to be aware of this when travelling, and offer their seat to those who may need it more than them.”

In total, 28% of the new priority seat moquette has been installed on TfL’s New Routemaster buses, and the remainder of the fleet will be completed by the end of 2025. Other proposed accessibility and safety improvements on buses include enhancing bus ramps by adding upstands to both edges of the ramp as part of new bus safety standard to better guide ramp users onto and off the bus. 

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