Buyer Beware – Not All “National Park” Lodges are Equal

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As a writer who has spent the last 20-some years visiting and writing about wheelchair access in our US national parks, (and just released a book about accessible national park lodges — www.BFNationalParkLodges.com), I’ve seen a lot of changes in the parks over the years. Some of the changes are due to the availability of new technology and equipment, but the bulk of them have been spurred on by increased visitation to these national treasures. Continue reading

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What Exactly is an Accessible Hotel Room?

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Part of a gigantic bathroom in an accessible cabin in remote Mineral King

What exactly are the ingredients of an accessible hotel room? That’s a question that I get asked a lot – from both travelers and people in the hospitality industry. And to be honest, there’s not one simple answer to that question. Continue reading

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Amazon Selling Fake Parking Placards!

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Edited to Add – The link to the placard does not work any more (and I have removed it), so it looks like Amazon took down the item for sale. Thanks everyone for their great response!!! 

 

 

OK I’m a huge Amazon fan, but after finding this “Handicap Placard” for sale on the site I may have to think twice about continuing my relationship. It has absolutely no description, and the five-star reviews are obviously fake (“great customer service” — give me a break). The questions have been answered by consumers who obviously agree with me, and a few wheelchair-users wrote negative comments. Continue reading

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After the Super Shuttle Shutdown – What’s a Wheelchair-User to Do?

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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. Continue reading

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A Great Accessible Cruise Resource!

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If you’ve always wanted to take a cruise, but thought you couldn’t because you use a wheelchair, then pick up a copy of Sylvia Longmire’s new book Everything You Need to Know about Wheelchair Accessible Cruising and get ready for that bon voyage party. Not only does this well-researched resource give you the nuts and bolts of accessible cruise travel, but it also includes information on what each cruise line offers in terms of service and ambiance as well as their demographics. Longmire also points out the most accessible ships, includes helpful information for choosing an itinerary, and even offers her own personal access reviews on a number of itineraries that she has sailed.

Continue reading

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Proposed Regulation on Accessible Lavatories on Narrow Body Aircraft Open for Public Comment

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On December 11, 2019 the Department of Transportation (DOT) opened public comments for a proposed amendment to the Air Carrier Access Act, that would require accessible lavatories and on-board wheelchairs on single aisle aircraft that have 125 or more seats. Currently accessible lavatories are only required on wide body jets. Continue reading

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Free Accessible Public Transportation Coming to Kansas City

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Headed to Kansas City, Missouri? The good news is that there’s plenty of wheelchair-accessible public transportation there. And the better news is, soon it will all be free.

Earlier this month the city council passed a resolution the directed the City Manager to include a funding request in the fiscal year budget, to make Zero-Fare Transit a reality. This plan is a priority of the newly elected mayor Quinton Lucas, who was endorsed by the Kansas City Transportation Authority. So it seems everyone is on board with the proposal

To be fair, the KC Streetcar (http://kcstreetcar.org/) has been fare-free since it’s inception. It also boasts excellent access, as it has a very inclusive design. There is level boarding at all streetcar stops, with priority seating for wheelchairs near the door. The streetcar runs a two mile route through the downtown area, from Union Station to the River North Market Loop. Stops along the way include Crossroads, Kauffman Center, Power & Light, Metro Center and the library. Additionally, riders can transfer to a Ride KC Bus at Union Station, Crossroads and River Market North.

The Ride KC Bus (https://ridekc.org/) system will probably be most impacted by the new fare-free resolution, as currently bus fares are $1.50 per ride. As with the streetcar, all of the buses are wheelchair-accessible, and they either have lifts or ramps, with wheelchair-seating in front.

Kudos to Kansas City for being the first US city to implement this system-wide free fare scheme. It’s a great way for visitors get around, and soon it will be easier on the wallet too.

 

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In Case of Fire

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Emergency evacuation instructions in the right place — at wheelchair height.

Imagine the following scenario. It’s the middle of the night and you are sound asleep. Then you hear a loud noise – a fire alarm. You jump to attention and sit up in bed, and then you realize that you are not at home. You are in a hotel. You think you are on the second floor but you are not sure – you’ve been on the road for a week and all the rooms kind of meld together.

Oh yes, did I also mention that you are in a wheelchair and traveling alone? Continue reading

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Accessible Travel Netherlands Announces 2020 River Cruises

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Accessible Travel Netherlands recently announced the dates for their 2020 accessible river cruises aboard the accessible Prins Willem Alexander. This former hospital ship has 25 accessible cabins which are each equipped with two hospital beds, a wash basin, an emergency call button, and plenty of room for even the largest wheelchair or scooter. Continue reading

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DOT Updates ACAA Service Animal Regulations

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In August 8, 2019 the Department of Transportation issued a “Final Statement of Enforcement Policies Regarding Service Animals on Flights”. This document, which clarifies some points in the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) in regards to service animals and emotional support animals, is the result of a public process which began in May 2018. This process was initiated after the DOT received a number of airline complaints about passengers who were skirting the rules and evading pet carrier fees by falsely claiming that their pets were needed for emotional support. Over 4,500 public comments were received after the Preliminary Rule was posted. Continue reading

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