Useful and free accessible apps for wheelchair users
If you rely on powered wheelchairs or other chairs to get around, travelling can often prove daunting. We regularly read stories of those with disabilities placed behind abled-bodied people. Only recently, Tanyallee Davis, was left ‘harassed and humiliated’ for using a disability space on a train, eventually taking her 50 miles away from her destination. The above stories highlight the urgency for the UK to do so much more for disabled access. However, as we wait for those improvements; we’re sharing the greatest disability apps for those in powered wheelchairs.
For those that do regularly use powered wheelchairs, apps for wheelchair users displaying times and advice for daily commutes, parking and other activities can prove invaluable.
In early 2018, Google announced their plans to add ‘wheelchair accessible routes’ to their navigation app. It’s certainly not easy to use public transport when in powered wheelchairs, or any other type of chair, but this accessible app for wheelchair users will help – displaying the best trains, tubes and subways. To see the accessible routes, plot your journey on the map and tap ‘directions’, then selecting the public transport option. From there, you can hit ‘options’ and, under the ‘routes’ section, you can choose the wheelchair accessible option – showing the list of routes most suited for your journey.
This is a brilliant accessible app, with the feature available in major areas: London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston and Sydney. In the coming months, the search giant plans to roll out more cities. Registered ‘local guides’ in the Google Maps app can also add important accessibility information, so the routes are always up-to-date.
Wheelmap is, essentially, a lifeline for many powered wheelchair users who would like to enjoy their independence without any assistance. Wheelmap is designed for users to share information on accessible and inaccessible areas, car parks, venues; you name it. As a regular top pick for apps for wheelchair users, the app allows you to find, mark and add accessible information, including uploading images and specific information regarding the place you have just visited. With the information provided in the accessible app, you can easily find restaurants, cafes, shops, train stations and more that will help you get around and regain that all-important independence.
The venues and areas are marked from green (fully accessible) to red (not wheelchair accessible).
Flush – Toilet Finder & Map
Some 54% of disabled people have trouble accessing shops and, therefore, their toilets. Under the Equality Act 2010, businesses must make reasonable adjustments to cater for those with disabilities. However, not all do. Often, many powered wheelchair users have been caught short when it comes to disabled toilets, with some stores even using the areas for storage. Flush Toilet Finder is the quickest and simplest way to find a bathroom, with over 190,000 in its database; which is constantly evolving. As one of our top disability apps, this provides real-time information, even on those disabled toilets that require a fee or key to use.
Uber has hit the headlines for many reasons, but their app does provide users with the opportunity to book taxis suitable to their powerchair requirements. While there have been stories of taxis not turning up, it is still a useful option if you find yourself in an area you are unsure. You can choose the type of car to suit the size of your powered wheelchair.
Wheelmate is another one of the many apps for wheelchair users that offers reliable information on the nearest wheelchair-friendly toilets and parking spaces. The interactive map is powered by wheelchair users, verifying every single location displayed – without any worries that the venue or area is no longer accessible. The disability app provides detailed information on over 35,000 locations, around 40 different countries.
TripTripHurray is, essentially, a personalised Trip Advisor for those with disabilities. The travel platform app is brilliant for reducing anxiety when travelling outdoors, offering vital information on planning accessible trips. For instance, you can search for accessible accommodation, public transport, shops, restaurants and other places of interest.
There are many other accessible apps for wheelchair users available, including the likes of Access Earth and Dragon Anywhere. You can also read more information on our wheelchair travel tips for planes here.
This post was written by Karma Mobility