Investigate an alert system for priority seats on Transperth

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While many Transperth commuters are kind and lovely, using public transport when you are unwell or in need of a priority seat can feel like entering a jungle sometimes.

During my pregnancies I was surprised by how many people claim priority seats with no regard to what they are meant for. At the best of times, people in priority seats just ignored me and my baby bump. A few times I had abuse hurled at me after politely asking for a seat. This is at a time when you feel quite vulnerable and emotional anyway, and in front of a crowd.

I can only imagine how people feel whose disabilities or needs may not be immediately visible.

This is not about entitlement - it is about safety. It is simply unsafe for vulnerable people to be left standing, pushed and shoved on crowded trains and buses.

Cities around the world have taken steps to try and make things better. 

Busan City in Korea recently ran a trial where pregnant women were given Bluetooth beacons. When they approach a priority seat, a light flashes up, alerting able-bodied passengers that they need to vacate the seat.

This could be a useful model for Transperth. It would make things easier for people whose need may not be immediately visible, such as women in the early stages of pregnancy suffering from morning sickness. It would also make it obvious when passengers on priority seats are wilfully ignoring a person in need.

Even if a full implementation proves too expensive, a trial could raise awareness and bring attention to the daily incivility on crowded trains and buses. It could help reinforce the message that if you sit on a priority seat, you are meant to look up and around you and give up your seat if someone needs it.



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