Here is a round-up of the latest news in the world of accessible travel and disability, including the donation of a late President’s wheelchair van, Boston Airport making a big investment in rideshare facilities, new guidelines for transporting children with disabilities and more.

Accessible travel news from around the web:

  • Wheelchair accessible van used by George H.W. Bush donated to a disabled Navy veteran — Navy veteran David Miller was surprised last week on NBC’s TODAY Show, when he was given the former BraunAbility wheelchair van used by the Secret Service to transport former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. Jenna Bush Hager also presented the veteran with a letter from her father, President George W. Bush, which read, “Forty-one would be proud to know that a fellow sailor will take his seat in the van, and I know he would join me in thanking you for your contributions to our country.” Check out the video at the link above!

Illustration of ballot box for election.

  • Wheelchair users were given free accessible taxi rides on Election Day — On the occasion of the Lok Sabha elections in Panaji, Goa, India, the Election Commission if India partnered with accessible taxi provider EzyMov to ensure that people with disabilities could reach the polls. Local disability advocates applauded the move to ensure equal access to the right to vote. What has your city/state/country done to make voting more accessible?
  • ScotRail reduces advance notification requirement to 2 hours — Throughout Europe, people with disabilities must provide advance notice to railway operators of their intent to travel, so that assistance services can be provided. In a move called “life changing” by my friend and fellow blogger Emma Muldoon (of Simply Emma), ScotRail has announced it will reduce its advance notice requirement to 2 hours, making spontaneous trips easier to initiate. One day, I hope Europe will follow the lead of the USA in giving people with disabilities the right to turn up and expect service at any time and under the same conditions as able-bodied people.
Rendering of proposed Boston Airport ride share complex. | Courtesy of Massport.
Rendering of proposed Boston Airport ride share complex. | Courtesy of Massport.
  • Boston Airport to build new Uber/Lyft rideshare hub — The Massachusetts Port Authority has approved a plan that will create a dedicated ride-hailing area in the Central Garage at Boston Logan International Airport. Massport released the rendering seen above, and has stated that the space will include check-in services and wheelchair assistance. The question is, will Uber and Lyft serve wheelchair users in an equivalent manner? In my view, government institutions like Masssport must require that Uber and Lyft provide wheelchair accessible vehicles or ban them from operating on airport property entirely.
  • MTA & LIRR sued for failing to make stations accessible — When inaccessible transport facilities and stations are updated, the ADA requires that they be made accessible. But during 2016 updates to three Long Island Rail Road stations, elevators were not installed. A number of people with disabilities who are unable to utilize the stations as-is are taking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to court in a campaign for accessibility. In precedent holds, they are likely to win.
Screenshot of AAP Policy Statement title page.
Screenshot of AAP Policy Statement title page.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics: New guidelines for transporting children with special needs — An updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics “reviews important considerations for transporting children with special health care needs, including those with airway obstruction, orthopedic conditions or procedures, developmental delays, muscle tone abnormalities, challenging behaviors and gastrointestinal disorders.” Click the link to read an overview of recommendations for safely transporting children with disabilities and to access the complete document.
  • Letter: The ADA is mostly about equity — My Google Alerts highlighted an interesting conversation that took place across the pages of The Times-Standard and The Redwood Times, two news publications in Northern California. The article linked above is a response to what I believe is well-intended defense of the ADA by an able-bodied citizen, available here. The opinion articles are both worth reading.

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!

Featured image courtesy Nathan Congleton/NBC.

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