Prioritised seating arrangement on public transport: A focus on the disadvantaged group

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - subway/metro, policy - sustainable, policy - equity, ridership - attitudes, ridership - disadvantage


Prioritised seating, Public transportation, Older adults, Disadvantaged group, Social sustainability


Sustainability has emerged in the last 30 years or so as an essential concept, spreading to almost every sphere of human endeavours. Public transportation (PT) for instance is one sector where sustainability is given much importance. Studies on sustainable transportation have therefore become widespread especially on topics of economic and environmental sustainability. However, achieving sustainable transportation requires more than these. It is also essential to adequately integrate social sustainability in every sustainable transport policy. In contributing to this discourse therefore, this work benefitted from a questionnaire survey conducted on the Ankara metro line that runs from Koru to OSB-Torekent as a case in point to investigate the plight of a certain category of PT users referred to in this work as the ‘disadvantaged group’ (DG) which includes persons with disability, older adults, expectant and/or nursing mothers in accessing seats on PT vehicles such as the metro trains. The natural dispositions of people in the DG put them at a disadvantage in competing for seats with other users, hence a lack of equitable access for this group is observed in this regard. Even though various studies have identified seating to be a major influence on user satisfaction on PT and therefore enhancing social sustainability, the lack of equitable access for the DG portends to work against achieving sustainable transportation. Priority in seating for this category of users can be said to be given importance as evident in the placement of visual signages and some public announcements in and around public transport facilities and vehicles in Turkish cities. However, empirical evidence suggests that these notices are largely unheeded. Inspired by equity as a subcategory of social sustainability, the work therefore investigated the general attitudes of people in inhibiting the advancement of equitable access for people disadvantaged by their circumstances. From this, policy recommendations in ensuring equitable access by the DG have been provided.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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