Cape Town fully accessible to the disabled

Cape Town city authorities say the city has made sure the World Cup is an accessible and enjoyable experience for disabled visitors.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold says the city is rightly proud of its efforts to ensure that disabled fans can watch the World Cup in comfort. “Cape Town Tourism has always been sensitive to the needs of disabled visitors and the World Cup has provided us with the perfect opportunity to ensure that our city is accessible to disabled visitors. Extensive efforts have been made to ensure disabled visitors can access not only World Cup stadiums, but also public transport, hotels and other facilities. I believe disabled visitors will see for themselves that Cape Town has left no stone unturned in its quest to make the city accessible to them and Cape Town Tourism wishes them a thoroughly enjoyable stay in the Mother City.”

Guy Davies, of Disability Solutions Limited, says Cape Town Stadium is fully accessible to those with disabilities and has been carefully designed to cater for all visitors.

All facilities (pitch, changing rooms, treatment rooms, spectator stands, business suites, VIP areas, VVIP areas, offices, etc) are accessible to disabled visitors.  In addition, the lighting takes into account the needs of people with sight impairments. There are also tactile signage and maps throughout at appropriate levels and tactile paving has been utilised where appropriate.
 
“In terms of ablutions, accessible wheelchair facilities are provided throughout and vertical circulation and evacuation plans take into account the needs of people with disabilities,” he says. 

The city’s new Integrated Rapid Transport (IRT) system will be fully accessible to all. The city’s plans to ensure disabled access are based on the findings of a World Bank-sponsored report investigating best practice in cities around the world, especially South American cities, which are leading the way regarding Integrated Rapid Transport.

“So it can even be said at this point that Cape Town’s IRT system is leading the way internationally in terms of access for disabled people,” says Davies.

The new bus system will be easily accessible for people in wheelchairs and for those with other disabilities, including sight impairment.

There will be level surfaces at all station entrances and exits and wide ramps will allow wheelchair users access to the stations. Level boarding will allow wheelchair access from trunk station platforms onto buses. All feeder services have ramps that can be pulled out to provide wheelchair access. Additionally, once passengers are on the trunk or feeder bus, there are special places reserved for securing wheelchairs.

“To help the visually impaired, there will be tactile paving on walkways leading to some main stations and on the stations themselves. There will also be special ‘induction loops’ at ticket offices to allow the hearing-impaired to communicate with ticket sellers. There will be paddle gates, instead of turnstiles, at station entrances,” Davies says.

These facilities follow international guidelines wherever possible.  The airport and Cape Town Station are also being similarly refurbished. 

Unfortunately the train sets under the management of Metrorail still remain inaccessible to many disabled users, however.

Meanwhile Peter Moag, head of marketing and passenger services (transport) in the city, says buses on the shuttle routes from the airport and to the Cape Town Stadium will be wheelchair-friendly, as will the Civic Centre bus station and the shuttle stations.

A special needs transport hub at the Civic Centre (between the Civic Centre bus station and Cape Town Station) will operate on all match days. This park-and-ride service to and from the stadium is exclusively for people with disabilities and will be free of charge.

Wheelchair users with a wheelchair match ticket, as issued through the FIFA ticketing system, and those unable to walk a distance of 500m (a doctor’s certificate confirming immobility is essential), are requested to book a place on this shuttle. Information on this process will be available shortly.

Some private taxi operators will also be able to transport wheelchair users to areas not covered by the shuttles.

ENDS

For further information about the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in Cape Town or Cape Town Tourism, please contact Cape Town Tourism’s PR and Communication Manager Skye Grove, on skye@capetown.travel, or +27 (0) 21 487 6800.

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