We usually hire a car when we travel so it was a very different experience for us to depend entirely on public transport in New York. Hubby loved not having to navigate traffic and unknown roads, so he found it relaxing. BJ thought it was positively exhilarating.
We bought a weekly Metro ticket which was well worth the money. These can be purchased at the subway station (just ensure you have a zip code (postcode) to type in when purchasing – use your hotel zip code. You can’t get your ticket without it)
An accessible subway was two blocks from our hotel, The Beacon Hotel, so that was our main means of getting around New York. The subway system is extremely efficient but you do need to check you are getting on and off at accessible stations (ask for an accessible subway map at the station) Read up before you leave and do some planning http://web.mta.info/accessibility/
I will write further on our subway experience because we did have a few times where elevators were out of order. BUT I did venture on the subway with the kids by myself so that should tell you it isn’t that scary to do with a wheelchair.
THE BUS SERVICE
The bus system is fully wheelchair accessible but we did find it slower. For those preferring to remain above ground this is an excellent way to get around the city.
Read more here.
There are a lot of wheelchair accessible taxis in New York. We were in a hurry one day and tried our luck at hailing an accessible cab and had success. It took around the same time as it took AJ and I to hail a non-accessible cab on one of our outings by ourselves. This could be more hit and miss if you cannot book ahead, but we found it possible.
Thanks to Helen who travelled to New York in 2015 who shared her family’s experience using a car service which sounds fantastic. This is what she said
“The most fantastic discovery for us was “accessible dispatch”. Please check out their website. We have tried it and it worked like a dream. I dialled 311 from my UK mobile phone ( or the hotel concierge did it for us), with no special packages on the phone or anything. A wheelchair accessible yellow cab would turn up within 10 minutes to wherever we were, and charged the standard yellow cab rate. Ok, they weren’t as strict with seatbelts etc. as we are in our own accessible van at home, but what a fantastic service that I can’t recommend highly enough. Even down at the Brooklyn Bridge, we waited no more than 10 minutes and were charged only $19 (plus tip) to go to west 42nd street! the cabs take wheelchair plus 4 according to their website.”
You can read more about Accessible Dispatch here
Lastly, consider seeing New York from the water. The New York Water Taxi is a hop on hop off service which operates in a single direction around the city. It does require a bit of planning timing the schedule but there is commentary which is very entertaining and it gives you a different view of the city. It is also wheelchair accessible. Read more here – http://www.nywatertaxi.com/
We would like to thank New York Water Taxi for providing us with complimentary tickets so we could experience this first hand.
AIRPORT SHUTTLE SERVICE NEW YORK
We booked the Super Shuttle wheelchair accessible airport service and it proved a reliable, accessible and efficient way to get to and from our hotel in New York.
On both trips we were the only ones on the Super Shuttle meaning it was a direct service from the airport to the hotel. There is an option to book a non-stop van or shared service.
We certainly found this an easy way to get around without a hire car. You can find out more about Super Shuttle here.
Make sure you are clear that you require a wheelchair accessible service. We were specific in our information advising that BJ’s wheelchair does not fold.
Last visited New York April 2014
If you like this blog post why not subscribe to receive our blogs via email. Head to the top right-hand side of the page and you will find the subscribe tab. If you are not already a member of our facebook community, why not head over and ‘like’ our page. We are very fortunate to have a generous and well travelled facebook community full of ideas and information.
Julie Collins says
This blog is a very useful tool thanks for doing and sharing it. I also have a son who uses a wheelchair and we travelled to NYC in Xmas 2013. Did Top of the Rock. Also did the Sept 11 World Trade Centre memorial and United Nations tour and Book of Mormon and Lion King shows all with a manual wheelchair and it was fine. We used the subway a lot eg going to a grid iron game and like you it was easy as long as it was an accessible station. Would like to try your hotel The Beacon next time as some friends have also recommended it. We stayed in Mid Town near Times Square which was good but crowded so would like somewhere a little less crowded in future. Thanks again for a wonderful blog and I’m looking forward to following it and getting some great travel suggestions.
Hi Julie, Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like you saw loads in New York. The location of Hotel Beacon is lovely and quiet but still close enough to grocery stores, the subway and Central Park to still be a fantastic location. I found Times Square good to visit but too chaotic and touristy to stay. Julie
I was really pleased to come across this blog. We are thinking of visiting New York in December 2015 and will be staying not far from Grand Central. Our son uses a power chair. I have been investigating the best way to get around and see really mixed opinions about wheelchair access on the subway. I was relieved to see that you had no real problems. I am worried however that that near Xmas the trains will be so full that it will be really difficult to get on with a chair. How crowded was it when you visited at Xmas? – my experience of London’s underground is that it can ,at times ,be difficult to squeeze on as an able bodied person. Hope you can help!
Hi Ruth, We didn’t visit over Christmas so I can’t comment about that time of year. We found the subway a very efficient way to get around. The lifts are slow to get into with the number of people travelling around but far quicker than using the bus in the traffic. We did find them out of order a couple of times but we were in New York for 9 days and still would recommend the subway. Hope that helps. Julie
Katherine Paul says
This is a wonderful blog. Thanks for giving information about accessible vehicles for the disabled people.