Will You Stand Up For Me?

Faculty and Staff

You may not realize it, but someone may need a seat on Shuttle-UM more than you. 

Not all disabilities can be discerned by a person’s use of assistive equipment, such as a wheelchair, crutches, cane or walker.  A study published in 2000 by The University of California Disability Statistics Center indicated that 6.8 million community-resident Americans use assistive devices to help them with mobility. At the time of this study, the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) reported that 26 million Americans (almost 1 in 10) were living with a severe disability. This means that 74% of Americans living with a severe disability did not use assistive devices.  

What is an invisible disability?

The Invisible Disabilities Association defines an invisible disability as  “a physical, mental or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker…[It] refers to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments.”

If a person is substantially affected by such symptoms as those listed above, they live with an invisible disability. This is regardless of whether or not that person uses an assistive device, such as a walker, cane, crutches or wheelchair.

Riding Transit With an Invisible Disability

Because symptoms are not always apparent, riding transit poses unique challenges for individuals living with invisible disabilities. Passengers may not realize that another rider may need to sit. Sometimes, asking for a seat can feel uncomfortable.  

By standing up for someone who asks to sit, you stand up for those with disabilities.

Go ahead—ask for a seat

We want to encourage those with invisible disabilities to express their needs. No one knows you need a seat unless you ask. If you need to sit, don’t be shy!  Ask a passenger if they could please let you sit. An explanation of why is not required.


If someone asks for your seat on the bus, it’s possible they are living with a disability. We ask that you graciously let them sit if you are able and without an explanation. We also encourage you to practice integrity when assessing your need to sit if asked to stand. If you truly need your seat, politely decline.

Show that you stand up for individuals with disabilities

Are you willing to offer up your seat on Shuttle-UM? Stop by the DOTS Office in Regents Drive Garage to claim an “Ask Me For My Seat” pin! Pins will be available by April 8, 2019. 

We have transportation resources for individuals with disabilities

DOTS aims to foster an inclusive environment at the university. We offer transportation resources for the many individuals with disabilities who traverse our campus.

  • Accessible campus parking, which is available in most campus lots.

  • Paratransit, which is a curb-to-curb, on-demand shuttle service available to all students, faculty, staff and visitors with disabilities.

  • Preferred seating for individuals with disabilities on our Shuttle-UM transit buses (pictured below). These seats are located at the front of the bus, under the window. We recommend that able-bodied individuals avoid using this seating unless there are no other options.