Lots of news this week in the world of wheelchair travel, including a brand-new train service in South Florida that is embroiled in some life-or-death controversy surrounding safety.

Travel industry news from around the web:

  • First Ride: Florida’s new Brightline train — USA Today takes a look at the new high-speed rail service in South Florida, now offering nonstop service between Ft. Lauderdale and West Balm Beach in its first of three phases. Naturally, the photo-tour doesn’t include any shots of the accessible platforms or wheelchair spaces.
  • Two killed in first week of Brightline service — A pedestrian and a bicyclist were both hit and killed by the Brightline train in its first week of service after ignoring the grade crossing signals. Congressman Brian Mast tweeted, “Trains should stop running until massive safety flaws are resolved.” My heart goes out to the families, but never try to beat a train across the tracks. Seems like common sense to me.
  • London Tube to increase number of accessible stations — Good news for Londoners! Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to make 13 more stations step-free by Spring 2022. The Wimbledon Park station was among those selected for accessibility improvements.
  • United Airlines to launch Premium Economy product in 2018 — News leaked this week that United will unveil a new premium economy cabin on select international routes later this year. This creates a new opportunity for wheelchair users to secure a more comfortable seat on long flights, at a cheaper price point than business class. American and Delta have already debuted premium economy service on certain international routes.
  • Wyndham Worldwide to acquire LaQuinta Hotels — Although I have only stayed in one LaQuinta hotel, I have stayed in many Wyndham-Family properties like Days Inn and Super Eight. Accessibility at Wyndham hotels is poor, and I fear that the acquisition will not mean good things for ADA compliance at LaQuinta-branded properties. We’ll have to wait and see.

Check back every couple of weeks for a new roundup of accessible travel news. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to catch all the latest updates!

Feature image courtesy The Next Miami.

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