New Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations will impact countless lives throughout the country. Peter Berg, technical assistance coordinator with the Great Lakes ADA Center in
Chicago, reviewed the changes last month at a conference at Goodwill/Easter Seals in St. Paul. More than
80 people from different agencies learned about new rules, including rules related to service animals, wheelchairs, and ticketing. The event was sponsored by ADA Minnesota, Goodwill/Easter Seals and the Minnesota State Council on Disabilities.
As of March 2012, organizations must sell ADA tickets through the same distribution channels as non-ADA seating tickets. This means all venues must sell accessible tickets online. Three types of people can buy these tickets: the person with a disability, his/her companion, or someone who is purchasing tickets for a disabled person. Tickets for accessible seating must be made available at all price levels for every event or series of events. If tickets for accessible seating at a particular price level are not available, a nearby or similar accessible location shall be offered for purchase at the same price. The least expensive tickets that are available to the general public have to be available to a person with a disability, even if the venue is forced to put the person with disability in a higher-priced seating section. This only takes effect in venues of a certain size.
There are only three circumstances that make it acceptable for someone without a disability to use ADA seating: when all non-accessible tickets have been ‘sold out’, when all non-accessible tickets have been ‘sold out’ in designated seating area, or when all non-accessible tickets have been ‘sold out’ in a price category. ADA regulations do not directly define what sold-out means. If people need to give up their ADA tickets, they can ask people if they have a need for these seats. Also, people can attest in writing that they are disabled though letter or e-mail. This does not mean that they have to show proof of a disability for ticket purchases.
Buying Tickets: 2010 ADA Ticketing Regulations and You
The following session scheduled for May 17th:
The ADA National Network (also known as DBTAC) invites you to participate in an upcoming ADA Audio Conference Series Session focused on the 2010 Regulation Impacting Ticketing under the ADA.
Time: 2-3:30pm Eastern/1-2:30pm Central/12-1:30pm Mountain/11am-12:30pm Pacific/10-
Format: Audio Conference (toll free #) (Individuals will have an option to view the PowerPoint slides via Elluminate Webinar Platform). Streaming Audio Option available and the session is captioned via streaming captioning on the Internet. Cost: $25.00 Audio Conference; $15.00 Streaming Audio and/or Streaming Captioning (Captioning available no charge)
Presenters: Betty Siegel, Manager of Accessibility, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Kleo King, Vice President of Accessibility, United Spinal Association
The session description: Planning to go see Shakespeare or maybe you prefer going to see Lady Gaga Concert, the Rodeo or your local Baseball team play? Either way, if you are a wheelchair user or are looking to purchase tickets for accessible seating you may find that things have changed. On September 15, 2010 the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2010 Revised Regulations on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were published and they contain a whole new section on ticketing with new obligations and responsibilities for ticket-selling venues and vendors. As a ticket buyer with a disability, you will want to know how these regulations may affect you. This session is going to focus on the obligation to identify accessible seating, purchasing tickets using the same options as everyone else, and purchasing companion seats, transferring tickets, and distribution and pricing of wheelchair accessible locations. This session will review the ticketing regulations with particular emphasis on what ticket-buyers with disabilities need to know. There will be plenty of time for Q&A so come prepared with your questions!
The definition of a “service animal” is a dog that has been specifically trained to do work or perform tasks to benefit a person with a disability. The new rule specifically states that other animals don’t qualify as service animals. This affects many people who use other animals for assistance. Previously, all sorts of animals were considered to be service animals. Now only dogs or miniature horses can be considered service animal. Horses have all the same behavior requirements of a service dog.
People who have sensory, physical, cognitive or psychiatric disabilities are allowed to use service animals for assistance. The animal must have some kind of tether or leash, unless there is a safety issue or the handler can use voice or hand commands to maintain complete control over the animal.
Service animals are allowed in any public area. The owner of the dog cannot be asked to demonstrate how they use the service animal. If the animal cannot be controlled and is requested to leave the public area, the handler is required to be given the opportunity to participate without the animal.
Wheelchairs and Power-Driven Mobility Devices
The U.S. Department of Justice has developed a two-tiered standard definition of a wheelchair and other manually-operated or power-driven device. Devices need to be for a single user, both indoors and outdoors. People who use wheelchairs can use chairs in any public area open to pedestrians. Other power-driven mobility devices that are covered by the new rules include golf carts, tank chairs, Segway®, or other electronic personal assistance mobility devices.
This will help persons using newer mobility technology, such as Segway® and new Honda’s U3-X Personal Mobility for added choice to the newly disabled. These devices are allowed unless it would alter programs, services, or activities, or create a threat or safety hazard.
A business or property owner may not ask a person who uses a wheelchair or other power-driven mobility device about the nature or extent, or why the individual needs a mobility device. Berg showed the group a tank chair, which is designed with tracks rather than wheels to go off-road though streams, mud, snow, sand, gravel or anywhere outdoors. A tank chair is designed to be used outdoors, but it is marketed as an indoor chair as well.
For a more complete summary of these changes see www.ada.gov/regs2010/factsheets/title2_factsheet.html
Michael Sacks is one of two authors of the Twins baseball blog “Two Men On.” http://gravessack.wordpress.com/