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The Wheelchair Users Guide to Navigating Public Transportation

Posted by KD Smart Chair on July 22, 2018. 0 Comments

Public transportation can be a nightmare for wheelchair users. Whether you are traveling to a foreign city or just trying to navigate around your neighborhood, public transportation can get you to where you need to go, it just takes a bit of patience and planning. Here are some tips that will help make navigating public transportation much easier easier for wheelchair users.

Public Transportation Options

A little online research can go a long way when it comes to public transportation. Find out the type of transportation that is offered in the city you plan to navigate. You can research online by typing “the city name public transportation” into the search engine. Usually, all of the transportation information will be shown in the results.


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You want to choose the public transportation that interests you most such as the subway, bus, taxis, trains, or streetcar. Visit the website of your chosen transportation option to investigate further. Search the website for accessibility information. If you are unable to find the information or have further questions about the information they provide, contact their customer service number for further assistance.

Check the Schedules

If you are planning to take the subway or city bus, check the schedules. Assuming they are wheelchair accessible, you need to create a schedule for yourself that includes the public transportation schedule. Keep in mind taxis have routes and hours for their service. Check with your local taxi company to assure it is wheelchair accessible. Find out the hours of service and routes. Some wheelchair accessible transportation requires advance reservations.

Subway Access

Subways might be accessible but not all stops are accommodating to wheelchair users. Make sure the subway stops you plan to use accommodate wheelchairs and the elevators work at that location. Subways are often congested with people who are in a rush or trying to squeeze onto the subway during busy hours of the day. Planning to arrive at the subway early helps relieve the stress of arriving at your destination late.

Consult with Others

If you have just moved to a new city you can consult with other wheelchair users you see in public. Ask a few questions and find out their tips and secrets to navigating public transportation in the city. An insider's tips can go a long way by saving you time and effort. You can also contact the public transportation company directly to ask questions.

Important Questions to Ask

Once you contact a transportation company or search online you need answers to important questions such as the ones shown below:

  • Do you offer accessible transportation by reservation only?
  • How do you reserve it?
  • How far in advance do you need to reserve the transportation?
  • Do wheelchair users have accessibility on trains, buses, subways?
  • Are accessible taxi’s available? Do you have to reserve the taxi in advance?
  • If the transportation is inaccessible, is someone willing to assist?

Public transportation options vary in different locations. Researching the area online and contacting the transportation companies directly to assure they can provide accessibility is essential to navigating public transportation in any city around the world. Generally, transportation companies in the United States need to adhere to the Americans with Disability Act guidelines and rules. If you find transportation in cities throughout the United States that don’t offer accessible transportation you can report it to the ADA to have it further investigated. Usually, most cities provide accessible transportation such as buses, taxis, trains, and subways.

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