Disabled Sydney

 

Sydney is, as a world class capital city should be, aware of the special needs of the disabled traveller, and the state government is agreeably pro-active in promoting the disabled cause.

 

Hotel accommodation is available care of the main international chains such as Hyatt, Holiday Inn and Ramada. It should be reasonably easy to find suitable accommodation at other hotels - Sydney is a modern city and the hoteliers are not keen on turning paying customers away! If you are on a tight budget then you should find the YHA hostels accommodating.

 

One of the biggest boons is the increasing proliferation of modern buses which have a hydraulic action which can be activated should a disabled or infirm person wish to board the bus. The process is simple and does not delay the bus at all. Many drivers operate the hydraulics as a matter of course when stopping. There are also room on these buses for wheelchairs. This is particularly useful since the underground railway stations in the CBD are not particularly disabled friendly on account of their escalators and stairs.

 

Some stations have been overhauled recently, but at present there are only plans for wheelchair access at Circular Quay. Other trains, on "CountryLink" routes in particular (to other parts of NSW), are more accommodating as they have at least one carriage on hand where seats have been removed to allow wheelchair users easy, comfortable and relatively hassle-free access.

 

Getting around by cab is another option. There are an increasing number of taxis specially designed to take wheelchairs. They are the impressive looking converted Ford Falcons that can regularly be seen roaming around the city, boasting enlarged rear-ends for easy access. If you are ringing for a cab, make sure that they know your requirements. There are supposed to be 120 of these cabs on the road, though reports suggest that the take-up is not one hundred percent on the part of the cabbies, so be prepared to wait.

 

As with any large city, the pavements in the shopping areas can get very congested, though a recent flurry of street works designed to ready the city for the 2000 Olympics, the situation is likely to improve matters as the city council has tried to create wider walkways for all. Crossing the road can be a bit of a nightmare for anyone as the roads are extremely busy and generally consist of three lane one-way streets.

 

The blind and visually impaired should note that there are traffic lights at almost every intersection and that they are equipped with an audible signal that sounds like it has fallen out of a sci-fi film.

 

Major public buildings have been adapted for wheelchairs so there should not be too much of a problem in getting in to the city's principle attractions. Most places also have disabled toilet facilities. On the down side, there are many restaurants located on upper floors which are not accessible for lots people - check before you book that you and your party will be able to get to the table.

 

Sydney is not a world leader in championing the disabled cause, but you should find that with a little research, your visit to the city does not require too many compromises. These organisations will be able to help:

 

 

ACROD (Australian Council for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled

Australian Transport Council

 

 

 

 

 
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