Going Up?

I’ve received a lot of feedback on my blog entries regarding the proposed guidelines for passenger vessels (cruise ships). Most of the comments were in support of my suggestion that the guidelines should include wide doorways to all passenger cabins (not just the accessible cabins). As I told those folks who wrote me, I appreciate the feedback, but you need to also share your opinions with the Access Board. After all they make the laws, not me.

I also received some ideas about items I never even considered. For example Dave wrote:

“My one pet peeve about cruise ships is the elevators. Ships need to designate at least one elevator for wheelchairs and scooters during peak use periods such as embarkation, debarkation, meal and show times and of course, for emergencies. My wife and I had to wait past several elevators as able-bodied passengers would rush around us to fill the elevator to capacity. Do you think the new ADA access guidelines can address this?”

I agree with Dave; crowded cruise ship elevators are a huge problem for most wheelchair- and scooter-users. This problem is compounded because cruise ships are on a schedule and everybody uses the elevators during the same peak times. I hate to admit it, but I’ve seen able-bodied passengers actually climb over wheelers in order to get in an elevator.

To be honest, I never even thought of Dave’s solution. I encouraged him to not only write to the Access Board, but to also write to the cruise lines in hopes they would voluntarily consider something akin to his suggestion.

After all Dave’s idea would require little or no capital outlay on the part of the cruise lines and it would demonstrate a real understanding of access needs. Yes, some boorish able-bodied passengers would no doubt ignore the signs, but let’s face it there are just some rude people in the world. For the most part it would create an awareness about the issue, and once there is an awareness there is at least a chance for a resolution.

So keep those cards and letters coming — to the Access Board and to the cruise lines.

The US Access Board is accepting public comments on the draft guidelines for passenger vessels (cruise ships) through March 28, 2005. The mailing address for pubic comments is:

Office of Technical and Information Services
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
1331 F Street NW., Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111

E-mail comments can also be submitted to pvag@access-board.gov. Comments sent by e-mail will be considered only if they contain the full name and address of the sender in the text.