What is Courtesy Seating?
Courtesy seating is seating made available for passengers with disabilities if they need to use it. Signs should clearly indicate which seats on a vehicle are courtesy seats. They are most often closest to the door, unless the seats nearest to the door are not accessible.
Non-disabled passengers may sit in courtesy seats if they are empty. If a non-disabled passenger is using a courtesy seat when a passenger with a disability boards a vehicle and needs to use the seat, the non-disabled passenger should offer the seat to the passenger with the disability. Signage should alert all passengers to this system. However, some passengers with disabilities may prefer not to use a courtesy seat. They may be able to sit or stand elsewhere in the vehicle. Each passenger with a disability will know whether or not a courtesy seat is useful for them.
Other Types of Courtesy Seating
Other passengers, such as seniors, expectant mothers, or families with small children, may also benefit from courtesy or priority seating. However, the courtesy seating that the Transportation Standard mandates is only for passengers with disabilities. Transportation providers may offer more designated seating for other passengers if they wish and use signs to show which seating is for which group. Likewise, providers that already offer courtesy seating for other groups can continue to do so, but they must also provide courtesy seats for passengers with disabilities.
Transportation providers must also have strategies in place to let the public know that courtesy seats are available on their vehicles. Communication will help to alert any passengers who might like to use the seating but who cannot read signs. In addition, communication should help the public become more aware of the purpose behind courtesy seating. Finally, communication about courtesy seating should remind everyone that people with disabilities are travelling every day.