Tyne and Wear Metro is encouraging passengers to get on board with its 'I Need a Seat' initiative.
Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, initially launched the scheme in 2017 to make travelling on the Metro a little bit easier for people less able to stand.
The aim of the initiative is to promote etiquette on Metro and raise awareness of those who need a seat, including people with a disability or injury, elderly people and people with hidden disabilities and conditions.
The 'I need a seat' badges are designed to overcome the awkwardness often felt by people in having to ask someone to give up their seat on the Metro.
Metro also have a ‘Baby on Board’ badge for pregnant women to ensure that everyone has a safe and comfortable journey.
The badges are free and are available from all Nexus TravelShops and Nexus House.
Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: “We want all our passengers to have a safe and comfortable journey, especially mums-to-be, the elderly and those with both disabilities and health conditions.
“We hope people will embrace the I Need a Seat initiative, choose to wear the badge and that they find travelling on the Metro even easier as a result.
“We appreciate not all disabilities and health conditions are visible, so commuters might not always notice straight away if someone nearby needs a seat. And we’ve all been in that situation where we’re too nervous to ask whether someone needs a seat, in fear that we might be wrong and cause offence.
“The I Need a Seat badge is designed to help people who are less able to stand feel more confident on the Metro and to make journeys less awkward for them and fellow passengers alike. We’re delighted to have Newcastle Disability Forum backing the initiative and we hope its members will benefit from the scheme and be able to become even more independent.”
Alison Blackburn, Chair of Newcastle Disability Forum, said: “Newcastle Disability Forum are supporting the I Need a Seat campaign as we understand the message behind it and for someone with a visible or hidden disability, knowing they are more likely to be given a seat will help them be more comfortable using the Metro and help their independence, health and wellbeing.
“Wearing an I Need a Seat badge perhaps makes people aware that there are those who may need a little extra time or a bit of a hand when boarding or leaving a Metro, as well as an actual seat. This scheme demonstrates Nexus’ ongoing commitment to supporting the communities it serves.”
All Metro trains already have a number of designated priority seats intended for those passengers in greatest need of a seat, such as people with a disability, elderly passengers, expectant mothers or people less able to stand. A priority seat can be used by any passenger, but wherever possible they should be given up to someone with greater need.