London Underground staff are being issued with new red vests to be worn in stations from next week, so that they are more visible to passengers.

The red tabards are reversible, pairing the standard orange high visibility vest with a red vest featuring a ‘Here to Help’ message on the back.

(c) TfL

The vests have been purchased following recommendations from London TravelWatch on how London Underground could improve customer service now that the ticket offices are closed in most stations.

Although the closure of the ticket office usually means the staff are standing in the public areas, such as the ticket hall and platforms, there were concerns that they weren’t that easy to spot in the station since the single obvious contact point of the ticket office had been removed.

Janet Cooke, Chief Executive of London TravelWatch, commented: “We know that the London Underground staff provide an excellent service to passengers but they can’t always find them easily if they need assistance. These new bright red vests will help staff stand out from the crowd and provide passengers with the help and reassurance that they need when travelling around London.”

Staff will have the red side visible for customer service duties in ticket halls and around gatelines, while the orange side will be visible when dispatching trains, assisting on platforms and in emergencies.

(c) TfL

For their part, the RMT is unhappy — calling them a “pathetic and detrimental approach by the company to enhance visibility”. The RMT argues that the red vests are only being rolled out due to the “intentional lack of staff on our stations due to cost cutting exercises”.

They also argue that the vests make staff easier to spot — which is the point of them — but as targets for anti-social behaviour, which is not such a good outcome.

The RMT is also worried that the vests cause “overheating of staff”.

They are now in the process of staging a ballot for industrial action short of a strike, which would likely mean a refusal by RMT members to wear the tabard.

The red vests should be visible from next week.


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  1. JP says:

    These blummin things are so ubiquitous and completely style~less. Fine, they’re red which is at the moment the least numerous and of course fits nicely with danger/safety connotations but I find myself agreeing with the comrades of the RMT. Up to a point.
    Surely in this creative melting pot of a city, someone can come up with a better solution. Something less scruffy, demeaning, bib-like, plastic bag.

  2. Clive Penfold says:

    Potentially a good idea, but I think that the stylised “i” and the “Here to Help” are pointless. What would be much better would be a large LU roundel front and back to make it obvious that they are staff, and hence easily identifiable from a distance. Nothing more is needed

  3. John says:

    This is the definition of bureaucracy.

  4. Sean says:

    Saw them today at TCR and they were incredibly eye-catching, weirdly so in fact!

    Usually embarrassing shite from RMT.

  5. Goody says:

    Overheat from a hivi lol ffs

  6. John says:

    If they designed a visible uniform in the first place they wouldn’t need all these vests!
    Makes a mockery of wearing a uniform.

  7. Kirk says:

    Red shirts are infamous for one thing, in sci fi (eg, trek). Being expendable.
    Probably not very well thought through?

    • AC says:

      Lots of firms wear red shirts.

      Time Out
      Big Issue
      Charity Collectors

      Not very unique?

  8. CC says:

    Resembles something I’d dress my dog in on a rainy, night stroll.

  9. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Not bad design. Looks really good. What about new vests for staff working on the London Overground, Docklands Light Railway, TfL Rail (Elizabeth Line), Croydon Tramlink and River services.

  10. Daniel says:

    It’s money spent again,thought London underground where trying to save and not foolishly waste when needed elsewhere on the underground.

    • ChrisC says:

      Given the travelwatch reccomendation came in 2016 and it is now 2019 I’m going to suggest that the purchase and issue of these vests was pre planned and timed to the schedule when uniforms etc are replaced anyway and so no extra costs have been specifically incurred.

  11. Jeff says:

    Might have been pre-planned but a completer waste of money. If staff still wore hats then they would have stood out from the crowd. I seem to remember that some have issues with red as a colour. Do senior staff have the same or do they get a get out of jail card?

  12. tim says:

    I think this is a good idea and will at least help to identify staff who are there to help. However I saw some this morning. Maybe it was the lighting – but the red did not seem as vivid as the photos above and didn’t really stand out from the crowd.

  13. Iqbal Qayyum says:

    Will defintely be more visible than the purple ones used now.
    This is not a fashion shows – this will help travellers spot staff quicker.

  14. Chris Hodges says:

    Love this. “Here to Help”? They try anything they can NOT to help. TFL has become so unfriendly and unhelpful. The staff are always so bloody miserable

  15. Alf Weston says:

    Their blue uniforms fade into the background and these new things help them ‘stand out from the crowd’. About time TFL did something to help us customers.

  16. John Usher says:

    Gilet Rouge?

  17. Jg says:

    Striking over hi vi vests swap jobs with me i will wear one for 60k a year

  18. Elena says:

    They should really focus more on customer service and knowledge, most of the time they are rude and not giving informations properly!!

  19. drhhmb says:

    All that is needed now is the return of Garibaldi to lead them.

  20. AC says:

    1)The New Gilet Rougeare cheaply made. The red comes flooding out when you wash them.

    2)Dont get too close to a member of staff wearing their Gilet Rouge if you have an expensive fluffy coat. As your expensive coat will stick to the hi vis.

    3)The Hi Vis were made the wrong way round. The Orange bit should be where the red bit is and vice versa. The Velcro from the Hivis is tearing and ruining the rest of the uniform and causing skin irritation.

    4)Contrary to what JG states. Very few staff are on 60k who will be wearing these hi vis on the stations. More like half that.

  21. TfL Staff says:

    I am unfortunate enough to be a staff member who has to wear this rubbish. This is a poor attempt at trying to follow TravelWatch recommendations to become more visible. Instead of fixing many staff complaints of the uniform (e.g. not very warm, quality, etc) or brightening the colour (the blue was originally lighter until they darked it at the last moment), they’ve bought out these crappy vests which probably costed the earth. People already have sick notes from the awkward velcro positioning that rubs against peoples arms. It’s super thick and hot so comes off in summer. It has no pockets or loops of radios or name badges. But worst of all is it isn’t easier to see! I struggle to tell my own colleagues apart from the other side of the ticket hall unless they’re in the regular orange colour and I and others have commented that the red really doesn’t help with staff visibility to customers when it comes down to actually needing them. People still come up to me and ask if I’m staff too. This is an inadequate solution. It was originally meant to be optional but is now required but some stations refuse to wear them. I personally just wear my old but gold orange hi-vis vest instead.

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