My husband and I had a night in town for a concert we went to on Friday night. The concert was amazing and we had a lovely time. We decided a few weeks ago that we would have an early dinner before the show, so we weren’t either having empty or too full grumbling tums.
I booked a local bar that does live music and good food using a voucher for a half price ‘early bird’ type of meal. Then I started to think about practical things. The thing is, I forgot two things. No.1 I have had issues with my right leg, with not one but three things giving me pain at the moment, so walking is painful and I am having to use a crutch from time to time. No. 2 I forgot that the venue of choice for our meal is up a lot of very steep stairs!! I should have remembered that for sure as it’s not the first time we have been to that bar by any means.
So, my husband said to me ‘do you know if they have a lift?’ to which I answered that I didn’t! Then I thought I would ring them up to ask the question. A five minute conversation and I would have been in the know. However, on looking at their Facebook page, there was no phone number. In fact, they have said on their page that they don’t have a phone because it is a live music venue and they wouldn’t hear it. Second option. Check their website, see if there is something there. Website wouldn’t work. Tried sending an email and no response. Finally, managed to message them on FB. Nowhere on FB or – once I managed to get in – on their Web Page did it have any information about disabled access. As the building they are in was built post earthquake it should be just plain common sense there would be a lift somewhere!
So, finally they got back to me and said, yes they do have a lift, but they need to get someone to let you in downstairs so that you can access it. So, basically, I would have had to send my husband up to ask to use the lift and then he and an employee would have to come down and get me.
As it was I managed to limp up the stairs, but the downward journey felt too risky, so we used the lift. My questions on this are (a) Why don’t they publicise that they have a lift/disabled access so people know (b) What happens if there is a couple who both have disabilities and they don’t have someone who can go up the stairs to request the lift? What if there is a bunch of people needing the lift and no-one to be the advanced party to get it for them?
Surely, in this day and age it shouldn’t be a guessing game to find out if you can access a bar on a night out if you have a disability?
There are so many people for whom the steep stairs could be dangerous and an insurmountable obstacle.
There definitely needs to be more transparency so those with mobility issues don’t have to guess or chase around finding an answer.