We're proud to create quality-made wheelchair bags for our veteran community, made in the USA and packaged at our headquarters under the Manhattan Bridge. Such a picturesque location, for a picturesque city like NYC. We love it when people come visit, but we do get a lot of questions about wheelchair accessibility from wheelchair users coming to our city. Times have changed and our city's infrastructure is improving, slowly but surely. Here are our top 5 tips and resources for wheelchair users visiting our city:
Wheelchair & Scooter Rentals
Some of us travel with our own manual wheelchairs or motorized wheelchairs, but what if you want to keep your chairs home? You can rent a wheelchair or scooter instead!
We recommend Scootaround (www.scootaround.com). Scootaround has great customer service and allows you to select from a variety of wheelchairs or scooters all at reasonable rates. You can call them or book online, just make sure you give yourself enough time to reserve during holidays or other peak travel seasons.
Depending on your mobility preferences, there are options for each:
Our famous yellow cabs have come a long way, with their “checkered” past. Today, our city has a fleet of “wheelchair-accessible” taxis for you to use. The best way to hail a cab is through these mobile apps you can easily download to your phone. We recommend Uber (www.uber.com), Arro (www.ridearro.com) and Curb (mobileapp.gocurb.com).
If you would like to travel by Subway, keep in mind that not all subway stations are accessible. Make sure you plan your journey from start to finish, making certain that any stations containing elevators are working. Luckily, the MTA has a website (http://advisory.mtanyct.info/EEoutage/EEOutageReport.aspx?StationID=All) where you can check the status of any accessible subway station elevator across the system.
All New York City buses are wheelchair accessible, fitted with ramps. Make sure you flag the bus as it approaches. Once the bus arrives, the driver will deploy the ramp and secure your chair in place. To learn more, visit the MTA website (www.mta.info).
Airline Travel Prep
When you book your flight, make sure to indicate any assistance you may need. You can have an airline assist you inside and out of a plane using an aisle chair, get pre-boarding, get wheelchair assistance from the check-in counter to the gate, request baggage assistance and more. Usually you can make these accommodations online, however you can also call your airline carrier as well.
Most shops, restaurants, museums and other places of attraction are accessible. For you "first time" visitors, we recommend the Empire State Building, Freedom Tower, WTC Transportation Hub, 9/11 Memorial and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you want to explore other places, make sure you do your research online as far as wheelchair accessibility goes. Look for an email address or a phone number, a quick message or call will usually get the answer you need. If you're hungry, Yelp (www.yelp.com) is the place. Most restaurants will indicate wheelchair accessibility.
Health and Wellness
Your health should always be priority #1, everywhere you go. We do have drug stores where you can buy over-the-counter medicine as well as basic medical supplies. Should you need to take a trip to the hospital for any reason, make sure you bring your medical insurance cards: Medicaid, Medicare, or any private insurance.