Take me out to the ballgame!

October 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm 1 comment

Buying tickets to go to the theatre, see a concert or catch a sporting event has always been a bit of a challenge.  The first obstacle we have run into is that when you need to buy accessible seating tickets, you cannot purchase them from TicketMaster or any other third-party source.  Accessible seating must be purchased from the venue itself.  In some instances, they must also be picked up at the Will-Call window, versus sent to you in the mail.

With the Department of Justice adopting the revisions to ADA Title II and Title III, the amended regulations provide guidance on the sale of tickets for accessible seating, the sale of season tickets, the hold and release of accessible seating to persons other that those who need accessible seating, ticket pricing, prevention of the fraudulent purchase of accessible seating, and the ability to purchase multiple tickets when buying accessible seating. It also requires a venue operator to accommodate an individual with a disability who acquired inaccessible seating on the secondary ticket market only when there is unsold accessible seating for that event.

Part of the regulation that I am excited about, is the ability to “Permit individuals who use wheelchairs to sit with family members or other companions.”  This is opposed to ” a companion seat must be provided next to each wheelchair seating location.  The companion seat is a conventional seat that accommodates a friend or companion”.  This was a good start, but what happens to a family of four?  What about when we go to events with friends or other family?  Previously, we would always try to arrange to sit near our friends or other family.  Now, we will actually be able to sit together!

Although this is a positive change to some, it is being viewed as a negative to others.  One question that has been asked is, does this decrease the amount of accessible seating?  No.  There is still the same amount of accessible seating, but it now becomes a design issue.  How can the layout of the venue be setup to allow for the seating of multiple family members next to a person with a disability, but still provide a reasonable amount of accessible seating dispersed throughout the venue, while still maintaining lines of sight?

Perhaps all of the areas that are designated as accessible seating can allot for either a wheelchair and/or a conventional seat to be placed.  This scenario would increase the number of areas that would need to be available as possible accessible seating within the venue, but would meet the need for dispersion of seats.   This scenario will also allow for the change to have family sit next to the person with a disability while still allowing for the reasonable amount of accessible seats overall.

What are your thoughts on this change?  How do you anticipate this will be implemented?

Entry filed under: Accessibility, ADA. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Universal Design for accessibility and safety….. Oh the places you’ll go….if you have a car

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Cheryl  |  October 3, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I went to a concert this summer at a pavilion that I felt managed accessible seating space well. Between 2 tiered levels was a plateaued space without any chairs designated as accessible seating, and the staff would simply add folding chairs for companions as needed. It didn’t take up a lot of space in the building, but seemed to offer more elbow room for the users.


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