Travelling in wheelchairs can often prove a challenge for many – particularly if you are unsure whether certain areas and venues can cater for your chair. Today, businesses must provide access for all, but there are still examples of those with disabilities facing prejudice. Only recently, Tanyallee Davis was left humiliated on a train for, rightfully, using a disability space, with the driver asking her to move and forfeit her rights for a woman with a pram. Subsequently, the train driver acted against legislation and even took her 50 miles away from her intended destination.
This story not only highlights the need for more education on disability access, and the urgency for much greater disabled access. To aid in finding those businesses that are already wheelchair accessible, Karma Mobility – leading specialists in powered wheelchairs – are sharing the greatest apps for accessible travel.
Google Maps has adapted and improved their technology, providing ‘wheelchair accessible routes’ for all users. Travelling on public transport is increasingly difficult for those in powerchairs, but Google Maps is attempting to combat this issue. The accessible app displays the most suitable trains, tubes and subways for those in chairs. To see the accessible routes, you need to plot your journey and select ‘directions’. From there, click on the public transport icon, select options and the ‘routes’ section will show you the list of accessible options.
Currently, the option is still in beta and is available in six major cities: London, New York, Mexico City, Tokyo, Boston and Sydney. However, the tech giant is preparing for a mass rollout of the routes. Importantly, ‘local guides’ can update the information on ‘wheelchair accessible routes’, so the data is always up-to-date.
Wheelmap is a hugely successful app and one that could prove almost invaluable for those that are in a wheelchair – especially for those that do not require assistance and would like to regain their independence. Similar to Google Maps, Wheelmap is designed for users to share real-time information on accessible venues, their features and improvements, as well as those areas that are not accessible for people in chairs.
Users can upload pictures, ratings and reviews on the venues they have previously visited, ensuring you are prepared for all instances. Just some of the venues featured on Wheelmap include cafes, restaurants, train stations, shops and even car parks. If a venue is marked red, it’s not accessible, with green meaning accessible.
In the UK, around 54% of disabled people face issues accessing shops and, subsequently, their toilets. Businesses must take reasonable care to cater to those in chairs – under the Equality Act 2010 – but not all do. Flush toilet finder is essential for those that cannot enter stores, providing information on all disable toilets near your location. This app is quick and easy to use, with over 190,000 disabled toilets in the database and constantly growing. The app also shares information on those toilets that require a key or even a fee to use.
Wheelmate is another option for locating disabled toilets while out and about, with users providing information on areas and venues. The disability app boasts data on more than 35,000 locations, in 40 different countries. You can also find help parking in disabled spaces with Wheelmate.
TripTripHurray is the travel planner you had no idea you needed. Taking inspiration from Trip Advisor, the travel platform app helps to reduce anxiety for those travelling outdoors – perhaps on their own. If you need tips on accessible venues, public transport, shops and eateries – TripTripHurray is brilliant.
Other apps you can use for accessible travel includes Uber, allowing you to request a specific car depending on the size of your chair and needs. Likewise, Access Earth and Dragon Anywhere will help you regain your independence.