Groups for the physically challenged yesterday launched a handbook to help the physically challenged find and travel to accessible restaurants in Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市).
The guide, available as an e-book and in print, offers information on 55 restaurants in the two cities, how to get there and recommendations and suggestions by physically challenged people who have been there, the groups said at a press conference.
The publication is the result of a program launched by the groups, government agencies and a university last year, in which 10 physically challenged people were dispatched to evaluate facilities for the physically challenged in restaurants in the two cities and share their findings.
“We hope the program can raise government and public awareness of the need for facilities for the physically challenged,” said Ma Hai-hsia (馬海霞), president of the League of Welfare Organizations for the Disabled of the Republic of China.
She said she hoped the program would be extended to cover hotels and hospitals in the future.
A smartphone app called “Love Michelin” that has the same content as the e-book and handbook was also promoted at the press conference.
The app was launched in October last year and has so far been downloaded about 5,000 times, said Huang Tzu-chen, a communication and technology student at National Chiao Tung University who helped develop the app.
Chang Yen-yi, who uses a wheelchair because of muscular dystrophy, said the lack of bathrooms accessible to the physically challenged in restaurants in Taiwan remains a big concern for those who wish to eat out.
“We’d like to be able to eat and drink freely without having to worry that there are no bathrooms for the physically challenged,” said Chang, who evaluated eight of the restaurants for the program.
He said he often has to refrain from drinking beverages when eating out and that he hopes more restaurants can provide accessible bathroom facilities and improve their seating space for physically challenged people.
The online tools and handbook were developed by the league, the Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders, National Chiao Tung University, the Ministry of Education Advisory Office and the National Science Council.
The e-book, available only in Chinese, can be downloaded for free at www.i-me-i-world.com/enable/.