UK's Southern Railways Tests Priority Seating Card Scheme
09/06/2009 | 0 comments
If you cannot manage the train journey standing up from Gatwick Airport to Central London, the recently introduced Priority Seating Card is for you.
Southern Railways hopes that by issuing a pass card to older persons, pregnant women, those with a disability and with less visible difficulties, fellow passengers will more readily give up priority seats to those who need them.
Priority seats can be used by anyone, but they should be given up if they’re needed more by people with disabilities, expectant mothers, elderly passengers or those carrying infants. Someone’s need for a seat may not be obvious, for example they may have a hidden disability or be in the early stages of pregnancy, it takes courage to ask someone to give up their seat so when asked, please allow someone to sit down.
Southern Railways explains: "Not everyone is comfortable with asking fellow passengers to give up a priority seat and explaining why this is necessary".
Southern is therefore trialling a priority seat card which is designed to avoid any embarrassment in this situation. "We’re doing this in response to the issue being raised at some of our meet the manager sessions, from feedback we’ve received at our Customer Services centre and comments made directly to our Accessibility Manager", explains the the Southern Railways Public Relations office.
Priority seating labels have been improved to make it easier to spot the priority seating onboard the train. Priority seating is usually located close to the exit doors for ease of use.
There are three signs provided near to the priority seats. One is placed on the back of the chair in front of the priority seat (where applicable), one is on the window nearest the priority seating to enable passengers to see the location of priority seats from the outside and inside of the carriage and the other is placed on the inside of the carriage showing their intended use in pictograms.
All the stickers will have the blue triangle enclosing a P, which will also be on the Priority Seat cards so passengers can refer to this when presenting the card. The priority seats are also highlighted from the outside by a blue triangle with a ‘P’ in it, showing the location in the carriage of the seats.
The new Priority Seating card is available upon application, and anyone who qualifies for a card can use it on any Southern service.
About Southern Railways
Southern provides services in South London and between central London and the South Coast, through East and West Sussex and Surrey, and parts of Kent and Hampshire.
In June 2008, Gatwick Express became part of Southern and in December 2008, the Gatwick Express service was extended to run from and to Brighton at peak times.
In 2008 Southern carried around 120 million passengers. Southern and Gatwick Express have a combined staff complement of 4,000 people.
Southern manages 167 stations, 113 of which have Secure Station accreditation, and operates and maintains a fleet of almost 300 new and refurbished trains, seven days a week and up to 24 hours a day.
More information about the Priority Seating Card scheme is available at the Southern Railways "Accessibility" webpage.