Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pitt Bros BBQ

Pitt Bros BBQ
Unit 1, Wicklow House, Georges Street, Dublin 2

Meat, meat, GLORIOUS meat. With a menu that boasts craft beers, five different meat dishes either smoked or pulled and a selection of mouth-watering sides, Pitt Bros BBQ is not the type of place for people with a plain palette. You get a decent portion for under €15 and when you think you can devour no more, there's a free pour your own ice cream cone on offer. When we went there, the happiness levels went from a stuffed plateau of content to soaring joy with the arrival of the cones. Great spot.

What has it got?

Seating: All of the chairs are moveable here but the tables are often communal so you might have to wait a while to get a spot for all of your party. 

Doors: The doors are a little heavy but chairs fit in nicely. 

Ground: Concrete floor in the seating area and tiled bathroom floor. 

Stairs: No steps in or out. 

Bathrooms: The wheelchair bathroom is huge here. You could probably raise a small family here if you were brazen enough. Plus, they have TWO sinks in there. Spoiled. 

Spaciousness: In the seating area, it can be a little crowded but choose your seat wisely and you should have a clear path to the bathroom and the main door. 

Helpfulness of Staff: The staff are very helpful here in regards to which meat you would like and which table would be best suited to your chair. 

Parking: There is a wheelchair parking spot on Dame Court, as well as plenty of on street parking, and two wheelchair spots on Drury Street where there is also a car park and more on street parking spots. Map here

Rating: 9/10

Why did it lose points? Pitt Bros BBQ lost one point because it can be a bit crowded which would interfere with you getting a decent table to suit your chair. Because you cannot pre-book a table, it's walk-in only which means that it's luck of the draw for a suitable table. Otherwise, great spot with incredible food. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (Grand Canal Theatre)

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin 2

It took a while for Dublin to get a theatre that was deserving of Broadway and West End productions but with the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre - where every seat has a good view - the wait was worth it. Surrounded by restaurants with theatre-based menus, the swanky Marker Hotel and a Fresh shop with a hearty pick n' mix selection, the entire Grand Canal Square is geared towards an evening out.

What has it got?

Seating: Wheelchair users have options when they book tickets here. You can either have an aisle seat and hop out of your chair or there are spaces where you can wheel in and join a row or there are moveable chairs in the wing areas. When you are booking tickets in person or on the phone, clarify what you need and they will sort you out.

Doors: The doors are all very wide and you might need to give a heave to get some of them open but they are normally manned by the staff. 

Ground: The entrance is tiled and the venue area is carpeted. 

Stairs: Wherever there are stairs, there is also a lift. The ground level seating area is mostly on sloped ground but there are steps at the back section and up in the tiered seating balcony. 

Bathrooms: There is at least one wheelchair bathroom on every floor and they are very spacious. However, they could do with a few more larger bathrooms to cater for the crowds. 

Spaciousness: There is a lot of room here, especially in the foyer. 

Helpfulness of Staff: They are very helpful here and they have a lot of information on their website here in other ways that they can assist in terms of access. 

Parking: There is a car park below the theatre and you can pre-book wheelchair spots through Q Park's website

Rating: 10/10

Why did it lose points? The design of the theatre is very open so there is a lot of space. The option of seating arrangements for wheelchair users and their friends/family is a major plus. From the Access section of their website, you can see that they have given it a lot of consideration and nothing feels like a last minute arrangement. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hailo: Wheelchair Taxis

Last night, I was ordering a taxi on my Hailo app. I normally do not tick the 'Wheelchair Accessible' option because I can transfer from chair to car without assistance but I decided to try it out this time because I had surgery on my foot and needed to "take it easy".

In Hailo, if you click into Account and then Options, you can say yes or no to a Wheelchair Accessible taxi.

In my mind, this would mean a taxi with a ramp as that is specifically wheelchair adapted whereas most cars - if their boot is big enough - can physically take a wheelchair without any adaptions made.

A car arrived a few minutes later and it was a regular car. I didn't mind because I could still hop in and out without without putting too much pressure on my foot but, funnily, the taxi driver asked me if he was correct in describing his car as wheelchair accessible. It was his first time putting that as an option and my first time ticking it as an option so we were as clueless as each other.

When he ticked it, he meant that he would take wheelchair users and would help in anyway that he can. However, he was conflicted because if someone couldn't get out of their chair, they would have to wait for another taxi to come along that was properly accessible.

What I want to know is: Should Hailo go into more details about wheelchair accessibility on their app?

My driver didn't know what to do because he noted that some drivers would point blank refuse to take wheelchair users (something I have unfortunately experienced myself) so he wanted people to know that he would take them no matter what.

What have your experiences with wheelchair accessible taxis been like and how do you think Hailo should describe it?

UPDATE (2 December '13):
Hailo got back to me on the matter and - by their definition - when a taxi drivers chooses the option of 'wheelchair accessible', the taxi should have the following:

Hold a wheelchair SPSV license
Have an appropriate ramp or lift
Have all wheelchair restraints
Have the wheelchair symbol on their roofsign

They also stated:

Hailo prides itself on its ability to provide the four major cities of Ireland with a well stocked fleet of both wheelchair and non-wheelchair accessible taxis, with a current fleet of 129 wheelchair accessible taxis, the largest of its kind in the country. 
We are currently reviewing our own internal processes, with an audit conducted this morning to ensure that drivers that list their vehicle as 'wheelchair accessible', hold a fully updated SPSV License which asserts this fact.  
Hailo currently favours wheelchair users when ordering a cab, extending the typical radius for cab allocation, this extension offers our wheelchair users the greatest possible opportunity to receive a Hailo cab.