Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bad bus? Take the taxi -- on us!

When public transportation doesn't work right, wouldn't it be nice to be able to get your money back or even have the fare paid for another form of transit? This Birmingham (UK) Mail story says that's happening for riders of the Travel West Midland line: "Refunds for taxis will be paid in some circumstances when a bus is more than an hour late or if a wheelchair user cannot get on a vehicle." Such a deal! (Photo by Kenn Kiser via

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Parking limited to disabled at 2012 Olympic venues

Planning to travel to the London Olympics in 2012 by car? Better have disabled parking privileges. Transporation plans for the 2012 Olympics say "only a small number of disabled people will be permitted to park in close proximity to car exclusion zones at event venues in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cardiff, Weymouth and Portland (Dorset)."
For everyone else, it's public transporation. Perhaps a bendy bus. (Photo of Routemaster bus by Rudi Ashdown via

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Airlines more accessible in 10 years? Big shots are silent

Heavy hitters in the airline industry -- Clifford Winston, Richard Branson, Gary Topping, Patrick Smith and Josh Marks -- were asked at Freakonomics to comment on what the U.S. flying experience will be like in 10 years. Their answers are extensive.
None said the industry would be better and more conveniently serving travelers with disabilities.
Disappointing. (Photo via

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Determination helps Australian women see Egyptian sights

Gloria McLachlan had always wanted to visit the pyramids in Egypt, but found being a wheelchair user a real obstacle. Not for her, mind you, but for those who arrange tours. No one she encountered had ever done a tour for a wheelchair user. She finally found one willing to give it a try and, with a lot of improvisation on the spot, managed to have a memorable trip. She even kept her sense of humor through many trials, as witnessed in this excerpt from an article on the The Sydney Morning Herald's Web site:
"Fortunately (or maybe not) when buying souvenirs - such as perfume at Giza ... papyrus and Alabastar at Luxor - Gloria joked these places were more likely to damage the credit card than the wheelchair."
My takeaway from reading about McLachlan's experience was there is still much to be done in this region to come close to acceptable accessibility. Those that benefit from tourism there are surely missing out. Gloria McClachlan is not alone in her ambition to see the great sites of Egypt, though she may be somewhat extraordinary in her determination to see it through. Make it accessible, and they will come, many more Glorias to damage their credit cards. (Photo by Tomasz J. Klossowski via

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Passenger with disability sues airline over refusal to board

Andy Gates is suing US Airways over being refused boarding for a flight to Milwaukee last June. Gates, 26, has the muscular disorder dystonia, which causes the muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. Gates says the treatment was discrimination based on what a crew member thought he was not able to do. “All I wanted to do was to safely get to my destination. I’ve flown many times alone before this incident,” said Gates. “It’s unfair that someone simply looked at me and made a snap judgment about what I can or cannot do.”
US Airways spokesperson Michelle Mohr told GA Guide: "We are aware of the lawsuit and have a copy of it, but can't offer a statement beyond that ... company policy prohibits comment on pending litigation." (Image of US Airways Airbus 319 courtesy of US Airways)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Holland America's Prinsendam retrofitted for accessibility

Marilyn Lukach reports that the Holland America cruise liner Prinsendam, though not orginally outfitted for accessibility, has had features like ramps and larger elevators added. Lukach recently completed the Russian Imperial Jewels Voyage on the Prinsendam. Ports of call included Amsterdam, Netherlands, to St. Petersburg, Russia, and the countries of Germany, Estonia, Poland and locations in Scandinavia. She reports many instances of staff helpfulness along the way too. (Photo of cruise ship -- not the Prinsendam -- by Mike Rash via

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Football seating in Istanbul critiqued

Planning to travel to Istanbul to see Liverpool FC play its next Champions League game later in October? This article has a warning or two for you: "The disabled area for Liverpool fans is at the opposite end to where the visiting fans will be housed and is among the home supporters. Also, toilet and refreshment facilities are said to be 'extremely basic'." (Photo by Martin Cannings via