GLOBAL ACCESS NEWS TRAVEL E-ZINE
Volume VI, Number 7, July 2005
Copyright © 2005, Global Access News

http://www.globalaccessnews.com/

Please note: Any Internet links mentioned in this E-Zine were verified as functioning as of the date on this E-Zine. Websites and e-mail addresses, however, change frequently, so changes may have occurred after that date.

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Welcome to the July 2005 issue of the Global Access News Travel E-Zine. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to write us and share your travel experiences.

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CONTENTS
 
1. ACCESSIBLE CHICAGO TOURS
2. SAN DIEGO, CA: BEWARE NEW ZOO WAIVER
3. CRUISE SHIPS MUST COMPLY WITH ADA
4. KUDOS TO MUNICH AIRPORT
5. TRAVEL INCONVENIENCES
6. SANTA CRUZ, CA: A HOSTEL EXPERIENCE
 
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1. ACCESSIBLE CHICAGO TOURS

 
Heading for the Windy City? Terry Sullivan’s Walk Chicago Tours provides a wheelchair accessible tour that offers barrier-free visits to many of that city’s architectural and historic treasures. Check out his FAQ and Testimonial sections and contact him at 708-557-5400 or terry@walkchicagotours.com
 www.walkchicagotours.com

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2. SAN DIEGO, CA: BEWARE NEW ZOO WAIVER

 

As I entered the San Diego Zoo for a recent visit, I was asked to wait to speak to a zoo representative. After a short wait, a man appeared and asked me to sign a form titled "Electric Convenience Vehicle Waiver, Release and Indemnity Agreement." I explained that I was a long-time zoo member and asked what this was all about. The man told me that some parents, who had rented a power scooter, allowed their children to drive it at the zoo. The children took it down one of the zoo’s steep hills and there was an injury accident. The parents then sued the zoo and the court ruled in the parent’s favor.
 
When I refused to sign the waiver, the representative asked for my membership card, which I presented. He wrote down my name and told me that the zoo would note that I refused to sign the waiver. I told the representative that wheelchair users are extremely careful with their vehicles and should not be singled out as a risky group when the incident he described was clearly due to parental negligence.
 
After returning home, I did some research and discovered that signing the waiver is really a mater of personal choice and that the zoo will not deny you entry if you do not sign this document.
 
I found this whole experience intimidating and want to alert future zoo visitors that this new waiver is bogus.
 
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3. CRUISE SHIPS MUST COMPLY WITH ADA

 
In a June 6th U.S. Supreme Court ruling, cruise ships that call on U.S. ports must provide access for their disabled passengers and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law also prevents foreign-flagged ships from charging disabled passengers higher cruise fares.
 
The new ruling pertains to all cruise ships -- regardless of where the ship is home-ported, or under which country's flag a ship sails. The cruise industry invariably registers its ships in business-friendly locales such as Panama, the Bahamas, Cyprus, etc. where regulation is not a top priority. U.S. owned cruise ships are primarily foreign-flagged.
 
The court’s decision was based on incidents involving disabled cruise ship passengers on Norwegian Cruise Lines, who paid high premiums for accessible cabins but found that the ship’s elevators, swimming pools, restaurants, etc. did not meet access standards.
 
Regarding modifying ships to make them access compliant, the court said that 'what is reasonably achievable will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The court decided that ' ship's owners need not redesign or rebuild their older ships to accommodate disabled people.’ And returned this case to a lower court to decide what actions cruise lines must make to become ADA compliant.
 
Because the cruise industry is already concerned about the cost of remodeling, watch for a stack of lawsuits concerning structural modifications and removal of barriers. The court determined that any structural alterations under the ADA must not conflict with international safety requirements. Passengers’ ocean safety remains an issue, and there will, no doubt, be lawsuits over barrier removal vs. passenger safety. At this point, no guidelines have been set for shipbuilders, so stay tuned as this story develops.
 
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4. KUDOS TO MUNICH AIRPORT TERMINAL

 
If you plan to visit Europe this summer, you may want to consider flying into Munich, Germany’s disabled-friendly Terminal 2, which is used only by Lufthansa and its partner airlines. This terminal was designed in close cooperation with disabled groups who provided the access savvy. Lufthansa’s Terminal 2 recently received the World Airport Award 2005 as the best European terminal for its overall convenience to travelers. It ranked high for criteria such as convenience for disabled people, terminal comfort, friendliness of the personnel, transfer quality, services for business travelers and orientation. Let’s hope that more airports follow Munich’s example.
 
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5. TRAVEL INCONVENIENCES

 

I want to alert everyone to the excellent “New York Times” June 28th article, “Convenience, But Not for Everyone” by Christopher Elliott. The on-line article concerns the general shortcomings of the travel industry’s willingness to make travel technology more convenient for disabled people. Whether it’s on-line hotel reservation web sites that do not allow people to book accessible rooms or air terminal kiosks not suitable for visually impaired users, there is clearly much room left for improvement. Enjoy it while it is still on-line at
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/business/28disabled.html

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6. SANTA CRUZ, CA: A HOSTEL EXPERIENCE

 

Mira Landers and her friend Beth visited the northern California beach city of Santa Cruz and experimented with hostel accessibility on their budget jaunt. http://www.globalaccessnews.com/santacruz.htm

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Global Access News welcomes your travel reports, tips and comments at clearpath@cox.net Thanks for sharing!

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