Here is a round-up of the latest news in the world of accessible travel and disability, including two new cities that have invested in power wheelchair charging stations, a historic railway that is becoming wheelchair accessible, a Japanese government initiative to disclose accessible hotel information, sharing sidewalks with robots and more.

Accessible travel news from around the web:

  • Two teenagers carried a wheelchair user off the train, and stole his spot — This is a shocking story out of The Netherlands: “Sven Romkes from Assen managed to just get a spot with his wheelchair in a packed train from Almere station to the north on Tuesday evening. But two young men decided they’d rather have his spot. They picked him up, wheelchair and all, and carried him off the train. Romkes was left on the platform, watching the intercity train to Leeuwarden leave without him…”
Blayne Amson, the ADA/Title VI Administrator for Bellevue, showcases one of the city's wheelchair charging stations.
Blayne Amson, the ADA/Title VI Administrator for Bellevue, showcases one of the city’s wheelchair charging stations.
  • 6 Wheelchair Charging Stations in Bellevue, WA — The city of Bellevue, Washington has installed six wheelchair charging stations at community centers around the city. The locations are City Hall, Crossroads Community Center, Highland Community Center, North Bellevue Community Center, South Bellevue Community Center and the Northwest Arts Center. They each have a built-in wheelchair charger, outlets to accommodate personal chargers and USB ports. The cost to purchase and install each station was less than $600, according to the city’s ADA Administrator.
  • 7 Wheelchair Charging Stations in Iowa — Scott County in the State of Iowa installed seven wheelchair charging stations at key county facilities, including the Scott County Courthouse, Scott County Administrative Center, Scott County Park, West Lake Park, and the ADA accessible Buffalo Shore Campground. Each charging station features power outlets, a built-in 24V 5A wheelchair charger and USB charging ports.
Cinderella's castle at Disney theme park.
Cinderella’s castle at Disney theme park.
  • Autistic Man Sues Disney Over Disability Access Policy — An Autistic man’s lawsuit against Disney will proceed, a judge ruled. The case, which began after Disney World stopped allowing disabled guests to have front-of-line access to rides in 2014, will be heard by U.S. District Judge Anne Conway on February 18, 2020 in Orlando. The man says Disney’s Access Pass is not sufficient, and he is prone to “meltdowns” as a result. This case will be interesting to follow, as it could mean accessing rides at Disney will become easier for disabled park-goers under a revised policy.
  • Tokyo government to build database of accessible hotels, restaurants — In preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics, Tokyo, Japan wants to make “the city convenient to live in for residents as well as visitors.” The city is working to develop a database that will include information on the city’s barrier-free facilities, including hotels and restaurants. It’s great to see a city taking this initiative.
Food delivery robot in London.
Food delivery robot in London. | Photo courtesy Associated Newspapers Limited.
  • Robots are coming to a sidewalk near you — Move over e-scooters, the robots are here and they want to block sidewalks too. Starship Technologies’ new robots can travel distances of up to 4 miles to deliver food and groceries, and they’re hitting the sidewalks in cities across America. One wheelchair user had a harrowing experience when a robot allegedly blocked a curb ramp as traffic was oncoming. Yikes!
  • 125-year-old historic funicular is becoming accessible — Chattanooga’s Incline Railway is nearly 125 years old, and it’s not wheelchair accessible. But that will soon change with the installation of two new rail cars in February and March, 2020. The new cars “will operate like the city’s buses, accommodating a wide variety of wheelchairs.” If you enjoy funiculars as much as I do, this is an exciting development!

Check back often 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 TGr_79/Wikipedia.

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