Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cheaper train travel

It just got less expensive for wheelchair and scooter users to travel on CountryLink trains in New South Wales, Australia. A policy of requiring users of scooters and non-collapsible wheelchairs to buy a two tickets -- one for their equipment and one for themselves -- has been changed.

That such a policy lasted this long -- incredible!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tough to roll the walk

Officials know the Jacksonville, Fla. river walk, over 20 years old in places, is difficult to access for wheelchair users in some stretches. "We won't have much wheelchair use," says Riverwalk architect Melody Bishop in this article. "It's difficult to negotiate."
Hard to figure why that is acceptable in this day and age. Then again, recognition is the first step to doing something about it.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Should you spell it out?

Daniel Taverne, a blind disabled veteran from Louisiana, wrote this article about his experiences making a long bus trip. He has some useful tips for the traveler and carriers. (He's also a poet and a blogger.)
One of Taverne's tips, I admit, made me uncomfortable at first. He suggested the visually disabled pin a sign to their clothing that says "visually disabled" or something like that. This, Taverne suggests, would cut down on some of the trouble he experienced, such as when a food service employees asked can't you read the menu? He related that his red and white cane apparently often was not enough of a cue.
I admit the suggestion initially struck me as kind of degrading. Much of my own approach to traveling with a person who uses a wheelchair is to assume that he is entitled to all that others are and I shouldn't have to go around explaining or asking. But then I thought, well you know a wheelchair is a very obvious sign of disability. Someone whose main disability is visual, might not give off the same cues. In a more ideal world, I guess you hope someone wouldn't think it was such a big deal to relate a little info from a menu to someone who asks. But that's not reality.
In the end I bow to that other fall back truth about travel for those with disabilities: Whatever works.
Comment on your take.