Here is a round-up of the latest news in the world of wheelchair travel, including new disability-themed emojis from Apple, a study on the design of city bus wheelchair spaces, a chance to meet me in Las Vegas and more.

Accessible travel news from around the web:

  • Apple proposes new emojis to represent disability — If you’re like me, you’re tired of having only the standard wheelchair icon emoji ♿ to represent your disability. Apple has applied for the inclusion of 13 new emojis focused on disability, including manual and powered wheelchair users, service animals and a set of emojis for deaf and blind people. In supporting its application, Apple noted that the present “selection of emoji provides a wide array of representations of people, activities, and objects meaningful to the general public, but very few speak to the life experiences of those with disabilities.” Bravo, Apple!
  • Comparing Public Bus Layouts for Wheelchair Users — A study by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation tested three city bus interior layouts and took feedback from 50 wheelchair and scooter users. The study found that the layout used on most city buses today (in the USA) is the least desirable, as it allows wheelchair accessible entry and exit only from the front door and requires users to execute a turn in a tight space. Participants found the other bus layouts preferable, one of which I have seen used in many other countries around the world.


London meet-up with TravelZork.
London meet-up with Michael of TravelZork.
  • Learn about travel points & miles and MEET ME in Las Vegas — My good friend Michael Trager is the founder of TravelZork, a website that shares tips on traveling smarter and cheaper with airline, hotel and casino miles/points.
    This Memorial Day Weekend, I’m traveling to Las Vegas to attend ZorkFest 2018 — and I’d like to invite you! Use the discount code zorkwheelchair to save $10 on registration. And, if you purchase the “High Roller” VIP ticket or a ticket to the VIP dinner, Michael and his team will seat you at my table. Just use the code and they’ll know that you are one of my peeps. If you have any questions or are on the fence about attending, let me know and we can chat about it. I’d love to meet you in Las Vegas, introduce you to some of my friends and help you learn about my points & miles hobby.
  • Google Maps to provide wheelchair accessible routes — Google is continuing to improve services and hold to its commitment to accessibility, introducing a new feature on the Google Maps mobile app that will sort walking/rolling routes based on wheelchair accessibility. The feature will debut in the following cities: London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston and Sydney.
  • Man arrives in Cuba to find power wheelchair inoperable — It’s my worst nightmare, to have my wheelchair broken by an airline while traveling abroad. Canadian Darrel Scott lived that nightmare on a trip to Cuba, sacrificing days of mobility and vacation joy while he waited for repairs. Like me, Darrel is unable to use a manual wheelchair. Read his story, and let me know how you’d react in the comments. I’d ask to be put on the first flight back home.

Check back every couple of weeks for the latest roundup of accessible travel news. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the know!

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