Last month, New York City launched a new dispatch system for wheelchair-accessible
taxis, making it easier for handicapped
visitors and locals to get around the city. Prospective passengers can book the
taxis online, use a free smart phone app called Wheels on Wheels, send a text message to 646-400-0789 or call a cab the old fashioned way – dialing either 646-599-9999 (direct line) or 311 (citywide
information line). Though there was a regular
dispatch system for all taxis before, there was nothing sepecifically for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
While the service is easy to use, it isn’t
perfect. Since there are only around 200 handicap-accessible taxis currently part of
network, customers may have to wait 20 or 30 minutes for a cab. In addition, passengers
can only pick up these cabs in Manhattan, but the taxis will travel anywhere in
the five boroughs. The city
hopes to add up to 2,000 more cars to its
wheelchair-friendly fleet, but
when this will happen remains up in the air.
Philadelphia is working on a similar project, hoping to have
wheelchair-accessible taxis by the end of 2012 and to make all city
cabs accessible by 2016. Likewise, on Dublin, the public bus system Dublin Bus is
planning for a fully-accessible
fleet by the end of this year, with more
than 90% of the buses already remodelled.
Since travelling with a
disability can be challenging, we’ve rounded up a few more places around the
world that have recently made (or are in the process of making) improvements with
handicapped visitors in mind.
Smooth sailing in Turkey
Turkey is updating its sea
ports, harbours and sea
transportation vehicles to catch up with the country’s already
handicap-accessible airports, train stations and trains. The goal of the
“unhindered seas project”
is to make improvements such as
increasing the number of accessible toilets and the number of available resting
areas for the elderly and anyone with physical handicaps.
buildings in Dublin and France
In Dublin, all new or newly renovated
commercial or non-residential buildings are
required to pass
access certification process, and all
government buildings are expected to be fully accessible by 2015. France has
the same goal, but unlike Dublin it is not on track with its timeline. Today only
about 15% of government buildings
are accessible, a delay
that is being blamed on the country’s economic
Updates in a winter wonderland
Just in time for
ski season, Colorado’s Monarch Mountain Ski Resort is remodelling its base lodge to include a wheelchair-accessible elevator. For something a little different right outside
the resort, the outfitter Monarch Dog Sled Rides offers scenic winter sled rides through the San Isabel National Forest that can accommodate people with disabilities.