Helping Hand assistance scheme

A passenger stands at the front of the bus holding their Helping Hands pass up to the camera

Helping Hand is an award-winning scheme that empowers passengers to tell bus and train drivers and other public transport workers if they need extra help.

Passengers simply show a bright yellow card when they board which discreetly says what help they may need, without them having to say anything.

For example, one card says ‘please wait until seated’, another says ‘please face me, I lip read’. People can choose the words that appear on their cards and there’s space for emergency contact details on the back.

Excitingly, the card is now being developed into a smartphone app and used in other situations too.

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus attribute much of the scheme’s success to the fact the card was designed by users. The bus company worked closely with local community groups including Guide Dogs, Action on Hearing Loss, the Grace Eyre Foundation and Possability People to make sure the card was practical, and met the needs of users, including those with non-visible impairments.

Helping Hand has now been extended to all bus operators in the Go-Ahead Group and adopted by taxi operators and local councils. Rail operators in the South East are currently considering using it. The card is also being used in other settings, like shops and entertainment venues.

Helping Hand is endorsed nationally by the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

It makes going out and about possible for someone like me and that’s a lifeline. It gives me independence and dignity.

Helping Hand user, Graeme Oulton

Find out more about Helping Hand.