While accessible travel for the disabled is mandated by law, in many cases what qualifies as “accessible” is woefully under equipped. Often something as simple as a night out to eat can be a huge challenge for those in wheelchairs or who otherwise need assistance, let alone trying to travel through busy airports or train stations.
Obviously, the world is set up to cater to the able bodied individuals. The mandates that require accessibility by all persons are just not specific enough and can leave an individual on a quest for finding an elevator or an access ramp that is conveniently located. Some access ramps are ill constructed to allow for easy access by those in wheelchairs as the quality and design of the ramp makes it very difficult for locomotion under one’s own power.
Often the biggest difficulty facing those who need assistance when traveling is education. Airports and other forms of public transportation need better education amongst the staff when providing assistance to the disabled.
For instance, airports often tend to wait until disembarking to call for a wheelchair. The individual must wait while everyone disembarks and often wait even longer for the personnel to show up with a wheelchair. When there is little time between connecting flights due to late take offs and overcrowded runways the need for a wheelchair often means missing the flight.
Instead of sticking those in need of assistance aside to chronically wait for any special help they may need, we need to simply make accessible travel much more realistically accessible. We need to stop hiding elevators at the far corners of the buildings and start recognizing that the disabled have regular needs as well.
Accessible travel means any cab should be able to pick up the disabled rather than calling a specially equipped van to the scene just because the rider has a wheelchair. Requiring those with special needs to wait for the simple things is not only insulting, but it can in fact be dangerous.
The constant waiting game that those with disabilities face is often played alone or in areas where safety is questionable. Airport personnel, train employees, or even cab companies have no problem putting the disabled aside to wait for the necessary assistance but they certainly give little regard for the safety of the individual while they are waiting. I guess the faster they can tuck us away and keep up out of sight the more comfortable everyone else gets to feel, so that has become the priority when it comes to accessible travel.