New York City is committed to ensuring accessibility for visitors with special needs, and has equipped all buses with lifts for those in wheelchairs and those who have difficulty climbing stairs. In addition, many subway stations contain elevators, ramps, visual display signs and tactile and audio features on vending machines. Passengers with disabilities are eligible for reduced fares on most trips by using their Medicare card as proof of eligibility.
Big Apple Greeter is a welcome program that connects visitors with volunteers who enjoy sharing a walk through one or more of New York City’s unique neighborhoods. There are more than 300 volunteer greeters with special-interest expertise, including accessibility issues and foreign language skills.
In the event that you need medical assistance, NY Hotel Urgent Medical Services has physicians on call 24 hours. Same-day appointments and emergency hotel calls are available.
To assist those with special needs, Scootaround, a wheelchair and scooter rental business, makes sure travelers are totally mobile no matter where they go. Whether the destination is a cruise, a convention, a swanky vacation or a trip to the Big Apple, Scootaround features a toll-free line with friendly operators available 24/7 and delivery to and pick up from wherever you are.
The City’s Accessible Dispatch program allows wheelchair users to request a wheelchair-accessible taxi for a pickup anywhere in Manhattan to a destination anywhere in the five boroughs, Westchester County, Nassau County or Newark Airport. Passengers pay the metered taxi fare; no advance reservation is necessary. Get an accessible taxi for a pickup in Manhattan through one of five easy ways:
Call the dispatcher directly at 646-599-9999
Call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675)
Use the WOW Taxi smartphone app (available free through Google Play)
Send a text message to 646-400-0789
Book online at accessibledispatch.com
Vega Transportation offers luxury wheelchair service that is safe and reliable. For more than 20 years, the company has helped redefine wheelchair transportation through its customized vehicles. Staffed by drivers who are multilingual and rigorously trained, the vehicles are fitted with wheelchair lifts, high top roofs and doors, special suspension, front and rear air conditioning, wheelchair locks and TVs with DVD players.
The Broadway Accessibility Initiative, the result of a partnership between organizations Inclusion in the Arts and G-PASS, offers theatergoers with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy more Broadway shows with services like I-Caption for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons, D-Scriptive for blind and low-vision theatre-goers and ShowTrans for non-English-speaking audience members. All are available free of charge at every performance. The Lion King and The Book of Mormon are currently featuring these services. For more information, visit g-pass.org or inclusioninthearts.org.
To find out about accessible opportunities for athletes around New York City, please see the NYC Sports Commission’s Exercise Your Ability guidebook. Inside, you can discover how New York City makes sports and athletic activities available to everyone, from adaptive sports leagues and competitions to accessible recreational facilities. The guide also provides current information on world-famous—and accessible—sports venues and tips on how to purchase tickets for individuals with disabilities. And for activities outside of the City, be sure to check out the section on national and international adaptive organizations.
For more information on transportation and sports and cultural venues and their accessibility, download our Official Accessibility Guide. The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities will send the Official Accessibility Guide free of charge to people who inquire via telephone at 212-788-2830. (The guide is also available to download from nyc.gov.) The 100-page, large-type book provides resources and specific accessibility reviews for cultural institutions, theaters, nightlife and sports venues and tours.