Interpretations of the word accessible differ, anyone in a wheelchair would tell you that. When accessible is stated there should be defined criteria to qualify for its use so all venues can uniformly be independently accessed by differently-abled people.
It appears a simple task – define accessible but so many venues get it wrong. Accessible means that differently-abled people can access the place… independently.
I highlight this issue as we rock up to restaurants and bars, book taxis and theatres that have stipulated on the phone they are accessible and upon our arrival we are often greeted by steps, taxis arrive with no hydraulic lift or ramp and one particular theatre mobilised their waiter workforce to lift Emily to her table. Restaurants and theatres do not qualify as accessible when Emily meets her friends arriving at the table aloft four waiters shoulders.
Use of the blue wheelchair logo (indicating access) and the use of the word accessible should be treated with respect. If restaurants, public facilities, taxis, hotels or services want to say they are accessible there must be certain criteria that an independently accredited certifier attests so that the consumer knows that the establishment does conform to agreed requirements. A standardised approach to define accessibility.
Define accessible – an accessible bay when not used as a trolley park !
The term accessible should be defined as: a wheelchair user or person with a disability can access the venue, site or use the service independently.
On a good day – who minds the challenge of a few steps but the humour wears thin and it lacks understanding and thought when the term accessible is used incorrectly. It ensures that wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility have to constantly ask their stock access questions and still arrive to places with trepidation about their entry.
If accessible was a defined, certified word that could only be used by services and venues that have been accredited and authorised it would quash the overuse of the term in circumstances that don’t comply. Proper and appropriate use of the term accessible would manage peoples expectations and allow us to book venues, taxis, services, hotels and restaurants with confidence without the current scepticism.
A standardised approach to define accessibility.
The world is developing with increasing possibilities, it is imperative that access for all people is addressed as a priority.
The Louvre, Paris – accessible.
Accessible European International trains.
Accessible National Gallery Singapore rooftop cafe
Not accessible – Thankfully we have mobile phones!
As the world expands for differently-abled people so the demands for independently accessible venues increases. Everyone should be able to enjoy the exciting opportunities that this wonderful life offers.