May 21 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Organisers of the Paralympic Games are discriminating against disabled fans, it has been claimed.
Wheelchair-using ticket hopefuls had to call a 41p a minute helpline to check availability.
On the Locog website, disabled people are told; “If you require a wheelchair space, you will be able to purchase one, subject to availability, by calling 0844 847 2012.”
Calls to 0844 numbers cost up to 41p per minute.
That is in contrast to able-bodied people, who incur no extra cost for buying tickets from organisers Locog.
A Facebook group has sprung up in protest against the costs, called ‘Stop the Olympics from discriminating against wheelchair users!’
Locog was slammed as “discriminatory” by wheelchair user Sarah Bard, 32.
She racked a huge bill trying to buy tickets via the number.
“It is discriminatory towards the disabled,” said Ms Bird.
“My able-bodied friends can go online and check availability, see when the latest seats become available and buy them with no added charges.
“Wheelchair users, meanwhile, get left with only one option and that costs us extra money.”
Locog flatly rejected criticism, insisting its ticketing policy is “inclusive.”
“All spectators were able to apply for tickets online for more than a year. From November 2011, we provided a bespoke phone line to ensure customers could discuss their individual accessibility needs.”
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, a figurehead for disabled sport in the UK, said the cost of calls varies.
But she branded ‘not okay’ charges near the top of the range.
Speaking out in St Paul’s Cathedral, Dame Grey-Thompson said: “The reason Locog directed people who needed specialist assistance to a phone line was so they had a person to talk to, that they could ask and get the tickets that they needed.
“I think the intentions were good.
She added: “Basically the figures I’ve heard are between 5p and 35p a minute.
“Obviously 5p is kind of okay, 35p is not.”