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A brand new Priority Seat card scheme has been launched on Southern trains.

Under the scheme, those who are disabled, pregnant, elderly or carrying small children, will be able to apply for the special card. They will then be able to present it to other passengers if they need to sit down on a crowded Southern train.

Southern, whose trains run through Shepherd's Bush, say they hope passengers will respond positively to the scheme and will cooperate if asked by a cardholder to give up their seat.

"The person making the request using the card will have a genuine need," Southern say.

"Someone’s need for a seat may not be obvious as 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 and not everyone is comfortable doing it, especially when an explanation of why is sometimes needed."

They say the Priority Seat card, which is being introduced in response to demand from passengers, will help "avoid the embarrassment of explaining why".

The card will be available upon application, and anyone who qualifies for it can use it on any Southern service.

Information about the scheme is contained on posters and in leaflets at stations, and on Southern’s website at www.southernrailway.com/priority 

3 April 2009