London Telegraph (United Kingdom) (01/26/14) Vincent, Alice
For many handicapped people, purchasing tickets for concerts can be a major obstruction, as indicated in a recent Attitude is Everything (AiE) study. The study found that 95 percent of disabled or deaf people had problems buying tickets, 88 percent felt discriminated against, 83 percent postponed buying tickets "too many times to count," and 47 percent weighed litigation as a result of their attempts to buy tickets. Seventy-five percent of respondents preferred online ticketing, yet just 20 percent of venues sell tickets to disabled customers online. Consequently, most disabled and deaf customers have little recourse but to use premium rate phone lines during office hours to secure tickets, prove their handicap, and discuss their accessibility requirements. Responsibility for inaccessible tickets systems is almost equally split between venues and ticketing agencies on account of limited availability of tickets, access information, and proving eligibility. AiE CEO Suzanne Ball says rectifying this situation demands that a coalition of venues, ticket sellers, and campaigners work together on a three-pronged strategy. The strategy calls for making clear access information available for each event in advance, providing identical ticket-buying options for disabled and non-disabled people, and furnishing a universal proof of disability. Venues that have improved accessibility are reaping rewards that benefit both disabled customers and promoters. For example, the Readings and Leeds Festivals boosted their accessible ticket sales by 111 percent between 2012 and 2013.