Fri, Jan 24, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Wheelchair-friendly restaurant directory for Taipei released

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Three groups have collaborated to release a guidebook on restaurants with wheelchair access in Taipei City and New Taipei City (新北市), hoping to make it easier for people with disabilities to find establishments that they can visit in comfort.

National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), the Taiwan Handicap Alliance and the Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders (TFRD) released the guidebook yesterday ahead of the approaching Lunar New Year holiday.

“I would get very excited about the Lunar New Year when I was a kid, but it was so much trouble for my family because they had to find a place with wheelchair access for me,” Yu Hsiu-chih (余秀芷), a former model who began using a wheelchair when she was 23 due to an unknown infection, told a news conference in Taipei. “Sometimes I would even not go out with friends because I didn’t want to make trouble for them by forcing them find places with wheelchair access. It is embarrassing to ask my friends to go through all that trouble.”

“I’m very excited about the release of the guidebook — especially before the Lunar New Year holidays — since it is going to make it much easier for me and for all the people who are in need of wheelchair access to find a restaurant,” she added.

The Friendly Restaurant Guide (友善台北好餐廳) was published after four months of research during which 22 volunteers visited 500 restaurants in Taipei City and New Taipei City and graded them for accessibility, TFRD executive director Huang Wei-kang (黃蔚綱) said.

One of the volunteers, who wished to be known as Li-chuan (麗娟), said that she used to be embarrassed if she arrived at a restaurant and found she could not easily get her wheelchair inside.

“But since I took part in the project ... my ‘gourmet map’ has expanded a lot,” she said. “Now my friends ask me about accessibility before they decide to go to a restaurant.”

Lin Chung-wei (林崇偉), an assistant professor at the NCTU’s Department of Communications and Technology who initiated the project, said that his team would continue to expand the book’s contents.

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