Super Shuttle – which once provided accessible and affordable airport transfers – abruptly closed it’s doors for good on December 31, 2019. And that closure left a lot of wheelchair-users scratching their heads and trying to find a suitable replacement for airport pick-ups and drop-offs. Although there’s not a suitable across the board replacement, these suggestions may help you sort out the issue on an airport-by-airport basis.
If a hotel has a free shuttle, they must also provide a free accessible shuttle for guests. They don’t necessarily have to own the shuttle, and they can contract out the service, but under the law they are required to provide accessible transportation. Check out hotels near the airport and see which ones have a free shuttle. Then call the hotel directly to talk about your accessible options. Don’t be afraid to go up the chain of command all the way to the manager to get what you need.
Accessible taxis are available at some airports. At some airports you need to arrange in advance for a pick-up, but at others – like in Las Vegas, Nevada – you just get in line and you will get an accessible taxi on the spot. It’s also a good idea to ask for the taxi driver’s card, so you can give him a call when you need to head back to the airport. Google your destination city to see what’s available there.
Accessible Uber vehicles (WAV) are now available in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. It’s important to note that these are the only Uber vehicles that have ramp or lift access and tie-downs. Hopefully this service will expand to other cities in the future. Perhaps the company might even buy some of the accessible Super Shuttle vans? We can always hope.
Some airports have accessible public transportation. For example, BART comes into the San Francisco airport, while MAX stops at the Portland airport. This isn’t a realistic option for everyone, but if you have minimal luggage and there is a stop near your hotel, it might work. Most modern public transportation systems offer good wheelchair access; but if you’re arriving after dark in an unfamiliar city, it’s best to find another option. Also check out the route from the stop to your hotel, to make sure it’s not steep.
If you are flying to a port city to join a cruise, contact the Special Needs Department at the cruise line and have them arrange for accessible transfers for you. If you are arriving a day early, they can also coordinate accessible transportation to your hotel, as well as transfers to and from the port.
Many cities have transportation companies that have wheelchair-accessible vehicles. And more and more are popping up all the time, so even if you didn’t find anything in the past, do a quick internet search for your next trip. For example Via Transportation has wheelchair-accessible vehicles in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as several other major cities,
If you use paratransit at home, see if the paratransit provider in your destination city will accept your certification. Most likely you’ll have to fill out some paperwork to make this happen, but it can be an affordable and accessible way to get around the city. It’s also a good idea to ask the paratransit provider if they can provide airport service, because it’s specifically prohibited in some cities.
Last but not least, check and see if your destination city has a CIL – Center for Independent Living. If they do, give them a call and inquire about the availability of accessible airport transfers. They won’t be able to book services for you, but many of the people who work at the CILs and wheelchair-users, and nobody can give you better information on accessible transportation than a local who also utilizes these services.