Here is a round-up of the latest news in the world of accessible travel and disability, including a tragic hotel shuttle crash that killed one, a national park with off-road wheelchairs, more bad news from American Airlines, a new accessible vehicle from Toyota and more.
Accessible travel news from around the web:
- Hotel shuttle bus crash kills 1, hurts 7 near Seattle Airport — A motorist swerved in front of and hit the Marriott Seattle Airport Hotel’s shuttle bus outside the Sea-Tac airport, causing the shuttle to tip over. One passenger was thrown from the shuttle and killed as a result. 7 others were injured, with 6 being transported to local hospitals. Although no wheelchair users were in the vehicle, the hotel does offer an accessible shuttle service. Never ride in a shuttle unless your wheelchair is properly secured, or you could sustain serious injuries in a crash like this one.
- Michigan park first in the nation to rent off-road track chairs — A non-profit group has made an off-road, tracked chair available to guests with disabilities at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan. Wheelchair users can rent the tank-like chair for free, using it to explore the park’s Bay View Trail, which leads to an overlook of Lake Michigan. For more information, see the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes website.
- American Airlines puts wheelchair on wrong flight — Nic Cole, a wheelchair user, was traveling with his wife on an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Minneapolis. His chair flew to Ohio. Upon realizing their mistake, the airline put him up in a hotel room and worked to locate his wheelchair. The chair flew back to Texas, then to Iowa, before being delivered in Minneapolis. The total elapsed time was 12 hours, time Nic spent in bed, unable to move. This is the latest in a long string of American Airlines disability service failures. I hope the passenger reported the ACAA violation to the DOT.
- Toyota unveils electric shuttle for 2020 Olympics — Getting around the Olympics is a major concern for wheelchair users, people with disabilities, pregnant women and the elderly, but Toyota has a solution for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The Accessible People Mover (APM) has a wheelchair accessible ramp and will be used to help in a “last-mile” sense, bridging the gap between the event venues and transportation hubs.
- Wheelchair user “had to bum shuffle through the airplane” — The UK Civil Aviation Authority has upgraded London’s Stansted Airport from “needs improvement” to “good” on its rating of disabled access, but some passengers have a different opinion. Dozens of wheelchair users have missed flights due to assistance not being in place, and one passenger even had to “bum shuffle” down the aisle after having waited more than an hour for the Ambulift to arrive.
- University sues architects for ADA violations at football stadium — The University of Nevada hired a firm to redesig Mackay Stadium before the 2016 season, but the result is not ADA compliant. The stadium lacks accessible entrances and many wheelchair seats do not provide an adequate view of the field. The cost to correct the issues is nearly $4 million, and the university has filed suit against the architectural firm responsible. The work to make the stadium ADA accessible won’t be complete until the summer of 2020.
- Idaho woman complains about sidewalk accessibility, city promises to act — A woman having issues getting around Twin Falls, Idaho due to inaccessible sidewalks took her story to the news media. The city’s public information officer said, “After speaking with some of the folks who live in that area, we put a plan in place that will start within a month to repair that.” Let’s hope they do.
Featured image courtesy KOMO News Air 4 Photo.