Resources for scooter accessibility in NYC
September 28, 2015 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Someone I know is moving closer to NYC soon and is looking for information about how to best navigate the city. She is confined to a scooter and has extremely limited mobility. What resources can I give her? This would be more for periodic visits, not day-to-day commuting. I already know about the MTA's homepage for accessibility and the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. What else is there?

Extra credit:
How do Uber/other non-MTA transit options work for scooter access people? Can uberWAV reliably handle scooters?

Insider tips for the MTA bus system?

Which restaurants have actual ADA compliant handicap accessible bathrooms? (For a scooter, not just a little wheelchair!)
posted by Wretch729 to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (2 answers total)
Your friend should get in touch with her local center for independent living, which is a resource center run by and for people with disabilities and which helps transition people with disabilities out of institutions and into integrated settings. As such, they should have a ton of services and info about how to get around in your friend's area, including things like calling lift line, using other forms of transit, and, quite possibly, knowing which shops and restaurants are accessible.

How do Uber/other non-MTA transit options work for scooter access people? Can uberWAV reliably handle scooters?

Not well at all, from what I understand. I work for a disability rights organization and we are pushing back hard against these new rideshare companies because not only aren't the rides they provide accessible to people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices, there's no real training on how to accommodate people with disabilities. What the rideshare companies have said to our people is "take a taxi." This is despite the fact that the rideshare companies are eating the taxi's bread and butter in terms of taking the profitable rides. Your friend should not imagine that she can count on UBER.
posted by gauche at 10:50 AM on September 28, 2015

Scooters are tricky as personal assistive devices because many have a footprint and turning radius that do not easily match up with compliant accessible features. And I'm presuming you are mentioning a sitting scooter. Buses are generally accessible and should have lifts or kneel for ease of entry/exit, and are a better bet if her scooter fits in a wheelchair/mobility space (buses have seats that fold up, so it gets masked). Elevator maintenance is sometimes an issue for subway use, and websites/apps help people with disabilities manage recent developments.

For restrooms, my understanding is medical facilities, such as hospitals often have the largest accessible stalls by design. Many renovations that have a family restrooms are cross-purposed as having larger dimensions for bigger chairs, however this is a bit of an Easter egg hunt, but may have a higher success rate than the row-of-stalls options.

The City likely has an ADA office, and the is likely an Assistive Technology Office for residents, which can be time well spent if she is new to the state. Get to know her specifics and call ahead when making plans.

Timelines that help with expectations: 1990 for ADA, 2011 for ADAAA, so public buildings and renovations that are really recent are required to have better accessible design for getting around.
posted by childofTethys at 1:03 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

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