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Is there a law that requires handicapped access and notification of availability?

David Morrison

According to NEA.gov, the Department of Justice revised the Americans with Disabilities Act last year. The changes, which took effect Sept. 15, 2011, include changes to ticketing regulations at “places of public accommodation “.

The revised regulations include a new eight-part section devoted exclusively to the regulation of ticketing for wheelchair spaces and companion seats. The highlights of the new ticketing regulations include, but are not limited to, the following requirements:

  • Tickets for accessible seating must be available for purchase during the same

    times and in the same ways as the purchase of other tickets (for example, online, by phone or in person).

  • Accessible seating must be identified to the same level of specificity as other seats on maps, seating charts and brochures, and, if asked, the location of all available accessible seating must be identified.
  • Tickets for accessible seating must be available at all price levels.
  • A wheelchair user may purchase up to three companion seats that are contiguous and in the same row so long as such seats are available and all patrons may purchase that number of seats.
  • Accessible seating may only be released when all other tickets are sold out or all other tickets in a specific price range or area are sold out.
  • Individuals with disabilities must be able to transfer their tickets to others under the same terms and conditions as other ticket holders.
  • Venues must honor tickets in non-accessible locations held by a wheelchair user purchased on the secondary market (i.e. tickets that are re-sold by the original purchaser) so long as comparable seats are available at the time the ticket is presented.
  • Venues may not ask for proof of disability or ask what the individual’s specific disability is, but may ask if the individual is purchasing tickets for someone with a mobility disability. The venue may investigate if it has reason to believe fraud has been committed.

    State and Local Governments: §35.138 ticketing.

    Places of Public Accommodation: §36.302 (f) ticketing.

    No specific information is provided in terms of where the venue must post this information. However, a general rule of thumb is to call the venue to ensure that you receive the exact seating needed.

    User-contributed question by:
    Suzanne Joyce

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