A new website, Able Road launched this week. AbleRoad gives people with disabilities a place to post accessibility reviews of businesses and other public places. The site also provides Yelp reviews, so even if there are no accessibility reviews of a location, visitors can at least get an idea of what the place is like.
Users can review locations for accessibility issues related to mobility, hearing, sight, and cognitive disabilities. The review process is simple. Each type of accessibility issue is broken down into several categories, which you can rate from one start to five stars.
- Under "mobility", you can rate categories like parking, entrances, restrooms, and counters.
- Under "hearing", you can rate categories like captioning on TVs, ASL interpreter, and assisted listening system.
- Under "sight", the categories include announcements, website accessibility, and service animals.
- Under "cognitive", categories include oral information, illustrative communication, and respectful and knowledgeable staff.
You can search by a business name, or filter by location category, like restaurants, night life, shopping, hotels, or religious organizations. You can search for businesses in a specific street or city, or just leave the location field blank to use your current location. (You may have to click a prompt to allow location sharing.)
In addition to the website, there are also apps for iOS and Android, so you can review that hot new restaurant while you're waiting for the check.
AbleRoad is brand new, so there are not many accessibility reviews yet, but with the support of people with disabilities and advocates, a tool this useful is sure to grow.
Eiffel Tower gets wheelchair access in revamp
Wheelchair users will be able to get to the first floor of the Eiffel Tower for the first time, thanks to an upgrade of access facilities at the tourist attraction -- part of a raft of new features designed to add more appeal and better accessibility to the iconic structure. For more see the video.
Now available 24/7; 365 days a year. No reservations necessary but readily accepted. Wheelchair-accessible taxis respond to trips originating in Manhattan and ending anywhere in New York City's five boroughs. No extra costs to passengers. Passengers pay the regular metered taxi fare in New York City from the point of pick-up to their destination.
Accessible vehicles in the NYC fleet include both rear and side-entry minivans and side-entry MV-1 mobility vehicles. All drivers who operate wheelchair-accessible taxicabs have been trained in wheelchair assistance, boarding and de-boarding protocols, disability awareness and passenger sensitivity.
There are five ways to request a wheelchair-accessible taxi:
1. Call 311
2. Call the dispatch center directly: (646) 599-9999
3. Text a request to: (646) 400-0789
4. Use free customized mobile app: WOW Taxi (Wheels on Wheels)
5. Order online at: www.accessibledispatch.com
Supported by funds from the City of New York Theater Subdistrict Council, LDC and the City of New York, Disney's hit musicals The Lion King and Newsies have joined The Broadway Accessibility/Audience Expansion Initiative, which creates collaboration between producers and accessibility specialists at all stages of production.
The Initiative is a partnership between Inclusion in the Arts, a New York-based not-for-profit, and G-PASS, a service company utilizing technology from Sound Associates Inc., in collaboration with Disney Theatrical Productions. This historic Initiative provides theatre-goers with disabilities a theatre experience as complete and captivating as that enjoyed by non-disabled audience members. The services are: I-Caption for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons and D-Scriptive for blind and low-vision patrons. Read more.
Quick update from the Riviera Maya... Besides the classics of Chichen Itza, Tulum, Xcaret theme park and Xel-Ha aquatic park, Project Mayan Encounter has just designed two more daytrips that can be explored by wheelchair or scooter: a trip to an orchid farm with ancient trees in the north of the peninsula; and visiting a Mayan community tucked away in the tropical rain forest, with a still-uncrowded archaeological site.
There are more details on their Tours page (scroll down to Arbol Sacrado and El Naranjal at the bottom of the Day Trips). Stefanie Baeker is always happy to answer specific questions and dedicated to support travelers who are interested in getting to know this area!
Project Mayan Encounter: AccessEcoTours.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; (925)270-4038 VoIP.
In Europe, 14% of the adult population is classed as disabled; the figure is 21% in the U.S. But the horizons of people with limited mobility, whether through disability or age, are fast expanding.
Access Africa - Safaris for People with Limited Mobility,by Gordon Rattay, is the first guidebook to explore the five major safari countries - Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa - specifically with limited mobility in mind. It examines the services offered by African operators catering to disabled travellers, enabling easy comparisons and informed choices. It discovers accessible accommodation in world-famous locations such as the Serengeti/Masai Mara ecosystem in East Africa, Namibia's Etosha National Park and Botswana's elephant paradise, Chobe.
With explanations of flight and airport procedure, travel insurance and health concerns, and suggestions for the best itineraries for each region, it opens the doors of Africa to those with limited mobility.
Press Review: “Before discovering this guidebook, I would have considered an organized African safari or - bolder yet - independent travel in east and southern Africa, to be among the most challenging holiday options any person with limited mobility could undertake. Access Africa: Safaris for Travellers with Limited Mobility argues convincingly against such perceptions even for wheelchair users. Speaking from the heart as well as from personal experience, the author offers plenty of travel tips for people with special needs as well as detailed action plans for independent exploration, disability-friendly tour operators and accommodations in Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. The author marries inspiration and strategic reality within every page of this path-breaking book.”
Alison Gardner, Editor www.travelwithachallenge.com
The number of international tourist arrivals is expected to climb to one billion in 2012. Persons with physical limitations account for roughly 15% of the populationand this number should continue to rise given the aging demographic. Like everyone else, people with disabilities travel for business and pleasure, to visit friends and relatives, and to discover other ways of life, just with slightly greater difficulty.
How do we accommodate tourists with disabilities? Are our infrastructures, buildings and establishments adapted to be easily accessible to all? Can we safely aspire to reach international accessibility standards and benchmarks? Do "accessible" rooms in Montréal and elsewhere around the globe live up to the world traveller's expectations? How can a disabled person be sure his or her chosen destination is truly accessible? Is our front-line staff properly trained to host these guests and provide appropriate services? Which best practices from the tourism, culture and transportation industries should be considered model practices? What measures should these industries take to substantially facilitate the participation of individuals with disabilities in cultural and tourist activities?
Those are just some of the questions that will be discussed at the DESTINATIONS FOR ALL World Summit that is set to take place in Montréal from October 19 to 22, 2014. Without question, the DESTINATIONS FOR ALL World Summit in Montréal is an event ALL are invited to attend! For event details, please check the site http://www.keroul.qc.ca/en
It`s easy! Wheelmap, an online map where users can share info about the wheelchair accessibility of public locations worldwide. No sign up fee. People helping people.
The sixth edition improves upon previous editions with more detail about what matters most to people with disabilities, such as proximity to appropriate parking, doorway widths, door pull types, sink heights and faucet types, whether building entryways are level and if videos providing historic perspectives include closed captioning. Special accommodations can be important to people with vision, hearing, physical and intellectual disabilities as well as those within the autism spectrum.
The DHHS Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services assembled the guide from information gathered from visits to sites with a tape measure and from phone calls and questionnaires returned that were sent to hundreds of sites across the state.
If you’re tired of long airport lines, excessive baggage charges and ever-changing TSA regulations, then pick up a copy of 22 Accessible Road Trips; Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers ($21.95, Demos Health, June 2012) and prepare to hit the road. Penned by accessible travel expert Candy Harrington, this new travel guide highlights driving routes throughout the Continental US, and includes detailed access information for wheelchair-users and slow walkers.
Each chapter features a themed driving route that can be completed in 2-3 weeks. Unlike other road trip books, 22 Accessible Road Trips also includes information about accessible lodging, sights, trails, and attractions. From a towing service that can transport wheelchair-users, to a wheelchair-accessible cabin in the Smokies, and even a historic canal boat that features roll-on access, there’s no shortage of helpful resources in this guide.
Filled with off-the-beaten path finds, unique roadside attractions and rural driving routes, each chapter also includes:
A map illustrating the route.
Unique restaurants along the way — not necessarily fine dining, but definitely memorable.
Information about airports and accessible van rentals in gateway cities, for folks who want to do a fly-drive trip.
Ideas to customize the route — to make it longer, combine two routes together or even do day trips from gateway cities.
The book also includes information on seasonal road closures, the optimal time to drive each route and special events and festivals along the way. “Timing is essential in many cases,” emphasizes Harrington. “For example there are only two times a year you can swim in FDR’s healing Warm Springs pools; if that’s your desire, plan accordingly.
This inclusive travel guide differs from Harrington’s previous titles, in that it’s not exclusively for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. Says Harrington, “This book is for everybody – able-bodied travelers, stroller-pushing parents, and people who just love road trips, as well as folks with mobility issues.”
Known as the guru of accessible travel, Candy Harrington has covered this niche topic exclusively for the past 15 years. She's the founding editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of several accessible travel titles, including the classic, Barrier-Free Travel: A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. She also blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.BarrierFreeTravels.com.
22 Accessible Road Trips; Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers ($21.95, 318 pages, paperback, ISBN: 978-1-9363-0326-7) is available at your favorite bookstore, by calling (800) 532-8663 or at www.22AccessibleRoadTrips.com.
Mayor Bloomberg has unveiled the INACCESIBLE TAXI which will hit the streets in 2013!! But not everyone is cheering. Disability advocates say the car is not wheelchair accessible. Some of those advocates are currently challenging the city in court over access to cabs for the disabled.
"Apparently it is not offensive to those same politicians to deny people in wheelchairs access. Despite the fact that it keeps them home bound, unemployed or underemployed, and socially immobile. The next mayor will fix this," said James Weisman of the United Spinal Association.
But taxi officials say Nissan is working on a wheelchair-accessible model that will be superior to all the other models that are on the streets now. Read more on the plans for accessible transportation in New York.
here.judged by four measures — passengers who endured lost bags, delayed flights, lousy service or bumpings from full flights. See the complete report
Scandic Hotels truly focus on accessibility, and it's Magnus Berglund, Scandic's Disability Ambassador, job to make sure they don't miss a thing. For Magnus it’s the little things that make the experience for visitors with special needs feel like a hotel guest and not a “disabled” traveler. Magnus is visually impaired so he knows first hand how important accessibility is for a traveller.
To make a truly accessible hotel they’ve followed the guest’s way through the hotel, from parking and entrance, reception and restaurant to the lift, stairs and rooms for people with disabilities and removed remove barriers.
Scandic Hotels have a checklist of 93 points to ensure that they really are as accessible as they say. (77 points are compulsory for all the Scandic hotels.) Of course creature comforts such as height-adjustable beds, remote controls and single-grip mixer taps are a must.
To find out what each hotel can provide visit the hotel’s homepages at http://www.scandichotels.com/ and you'll truly feel welcome after reading their accessibility brochure. You’ll be amazed at all this chain has to offer.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced the launch of TSA Cares, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, prior to getting to the airport. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
“TSA Cares provides passengers with disabilities and medical needs another resource to use before they fly, so they know what to expect when going through the screening process,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole. “This additional level of personal communication helps ensure that even those who do not travel often are aware of our screening policies before they arrive at the airport.”
Since its inception, TSA has provided information to all travelers through its TSA Contact Center and Customer Service Managers in airports nationwide. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.
When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger’s specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA. TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary.
All travelers may ask to speak to a TSA supervisor if questions about screening procedures arise while at the security checkpoint.
The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. All travelers can contact TSA using Talk To TSA, a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, 1-866-289-9673 and TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints.
A major victory for the disability community!
A federal judge recently barred New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission from issuing permits for taxicabs unless they're accessible to people who use wheelchairs, a decision that was praised by advocates for people with disabilities as a milestone that could have national implications.
U.S. District Judge George Daniels said in his written ruling that the commission can provide taxi medallions only for wheelchair-accessible vehicles until it produces a comprehensive plan to provide meaningful access to taxicab service for disabled passengers. He said such a plan must include targeted goals and standards and anticipated measurable results.
"Meaningful access for the disabled to public transportation services is not a utopian goal or political promise, it is a basic civil right," the judge wrote.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit accusing the taxi commission of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, a 1990 civil rights law that generally prohibits discrimination based on someone's physical or mental disability. The lawsuit was brought by disability rights groups.
Only 233 of the more than 13,000 taxis in the nation's biggest city are wheelchair accessible. That's fewer than two percent.
City attorneys said they were disappointed with the judge's ruling.
Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit legal center that advocates for people with disabilities, called the ruling "the best Christmas gift our clients could ask for."
"The ruling means New Yorkers who use wheelchairs will be able to participate in city life in a way that wasn't possible before," Disability Rights Advocates managing attorney Mary-Lee Smith said. "Judge Daniels' decision is the first of its kind in the country, and our hope is that it will have national implications."
Smith said a taxi is wheelchair accessible when it provides a ramp that permits the person using the wheelchair to remain in the wheelchair while boarding the taxi.
Another lawyer, Julia Pinover, called the ruling a "landmark civil rights accomplishment for all people with disabilities."
The city's lead attorney in the case, Robin Binder, said the city disagreed with the judge because the Americans with Disabilities Act exempts taxicabs from having to be wheelchair accessible. Binder said the city was considering what steps to take next in court.
Binder noted that the city worked closely with the governor's office and the state Legislature before agreeing with them earlier this week on a comprehensive plan for wheelchair accessibility, including the issuance of 2,000 new taxi medallions for wheelchair-accessible yellow taxicabs and the requirement that 20 percent of all livery hails be wheelchair accessible.
The judge, in his decision, wrote that actions by the governor and Legislature "may be steps towards providing meaningful access to the New York City taxicab system to disabled persons who require wheelchairs," but he added the law requires immediate and full compliance.
A new service called ALL-ACCESS BATTLEFIELD TOURS has debuted in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The company’s tours are designed especially for wheelchair travellers to fully explore and experience the hallowed grounds of the area’s Civil War Battlefields.
All-accessible individual or group tours take visitors, their families and friends directly to the sites while moving at their own pace. To provide a comfortable expedition, visitors have the option to be transferred to custom travel wheelchairs that feature special wheels and canopies.
The accessible tours come at a special time... the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. For more information, visit AABT at: www.pinstripepress.net/AABT.html.