So you’re heading somewhere new and you don’t know the lowdown when it comes to accessible public transport?
Fear not – as this is a predicament that many disabled people often find themselves in when arriving somewhere different, and there are some tips to take on board which can help you be extra prepared before you arrival, and even perhaps during your stay.
The key is to do your research – this is a pretty obvious thing to suggest, however many people (myself included) leave research right to the last minute, or sometimes don’t even manage to conduct any checks at all before making their way to a new destination. Knowledge equals power, and to acquire that knowledge, you’re going to have to do a little digging around!
Research accessible transportation ahead of visiting…
1- View Blogs!
If you’re heading to a new part of the world then the chances are someone with similar physical needs to yourself has already been there before you – and with that, there’s probably some pretty cool blog posts out there on the internet from other disabled individuals sharing their experiences of a location and thus, also giving much needed feedback on public transportation. Viewing blogs is a great way to gain real life insider knowledge, from people who’ve been there themselves. Just search for accessible travel blogs online, or via social media.
As boring and mundane as it sounds, Google can often provide some of the answers you’re looking for. By simply searching “Accessible Transportation in…” and then finishing the search with the destination you’re heading to, you’re bound to throw up a whole bunch of different information – some of which will be really useful, but you may need to weed your way through the not-so-useful information too.
3- Contact Tourism Boards
One golden piece of advice which is almost guaranteed to be foolproof is just – contact relevant tourism boards. These guys hold all the information you could ever wish to know for their respective areas of the world. Say for example you’re planning on heading to Eindhoven in The Netherlands, you could easily contact the Eindhoven Tourism Board ahead of your trip and ask for all the access information relating to their public transportation and much, much more!
What happens if you’re already there?
So what happens if you’ve arrived and realised you forgot to do all of the aforementioned research? Well, panic not – as here are three more tips for you if you’re stuck in a tizz and you’re already there!
1- Head to tourist information
Much like the previous advice of contacting tourism boards ahead of your arrival, if you’ve found yourself already at your destination but still don’t have the information you need regarding public transportation, then why not head on over to the tourist information centre that’s nearest to you? They’ll be able to provide you with invaluable information.
2- Ask Locals
Locals really do know best, so if all other options fail you then you can always just make friends with someone who’s from around that area and ask them if they have any information on the accessibility of the public transport. Chances are they’ll have heaps of knowledge for you to pray on.
3- Enquire at your hotel
If you ask the staff at your hotel then they should also have some information on public transportation as well as local knowledge on whether said transport is accessible. Obviously this last piece of advice is only applicable for those who are in fact staying in a hotel – but if you are and you feel like they might be able to help you out – don’t be afraid to ask!
Hopefully these tips have helped you a bit! If you’d like to read more content like this, such as “Easy Access Travel: Flying With a Wheelchair” feel free to check out the Passionate People’s blog page on the Invacare website!