UEFA Euro 2012 has had a significant and positive impact for both Poland & Ukraine in that airports, hotels, stadiums, public transport and quality of services have all been developed to include disabled access, something that has been greatly ignored in the past.
Although these changes are more apparent in the host cities, it will no doubt be a consideration for all future developments in both countries as the powers that be realise that disability is no longer an issue that can be ignored.
All renovated or newly erected buildings, which include airports and stadia, have ramps or lifts installed and pictograms. Even so, travelling fans with mobility difficulties are still likely to encounter problems. In most major cities only a small number of shops, bars and restaurants have proper wheelchair access. Large print menus and the like are virtually non-existent.
Sightseeing is even more of an issue, since many old and historic buildings are, more likely than not, inaccessible to people with disabilities. Away from the stadia and designated fan areas you will still have problems of wide streets with a high volume of traffic, cars parked on pavements, steep steps into underpasses, uneven paths and high kerbs.
In contrast to the above, nearly all of the host cities now have new low-floor buses especially designed for wheelchairs. These buses are marked on timetables. There are also a number of taxis designed to carry wheelchairs.
Any specific requirements for your flight i.e. dietary needs, should be requested when making your booking with your flight provider, this should also include any assistance to board/disembark the flight.
If you require assistance at your arrival airport it is as well to phone with details at least 3 days in advance.
If you are having difficulty finding totally accessible accommodation we have given links under each city of their tourist office that may be able to help you. Please note that a number of the Ukraine host cities don't have tourist offices so it may be worth contacting the National Assembly of the Disabled of Ukraine www.dpi.org or Intergracja in Poland www.intergracja.org
Most major hotels have at least one specially designed room to accommodate wheelchairs.
VENUE SPECIFIC INFORMATION
We are thankful to our friends at the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) www.cafefootball.eu for much of the information below
For further country-specific information it may be worth contacting Intergracja in Poland www.intergracja.org; or the tourism offices in the respective host cities.
Lech Walesa airport is accessible for wheelchair users, with lifts and accessible toilets. Accessible car parking is located in the front of the terminal. You can request assistance in advance by filling out a form online at the airport's website here: http://tinyurl.com7qmsraz.
The local authorities have prepared nime minibuses to transport disabled fans. These will be equipped with a wheelchair lift. To book one of these in advance, you will need to contact the local authorities (based at 142 ul. Hallera) by calling 341 9593 - full details can be found on www.zkm.pl. In Gdynia there are three similar minibuses available Contact 58 623 5078
The PKP railway is upgrading its platforms; at Gdynia Main, Sopot Stone Brook, Sopot and Gdansk Oliwa lifts are being installed to help passengers to/from the platforms. Gdynia Index and Gdansk Zaspa are also accessible. Almost all buses have low-rising floors, which can drop to a height of 28cm.
The stadium has 120 accessible car parking spaces. There are 50 spaces inside for wheelchair users, 40 for the blind and partially-sighted and 40 for those who are deaf or partially-deaf. There are 5 accessible toilets.
Passengers with reduced mobility are entitled to special assistance at Poznan's Lawica Airport. Assistance is free of charge, although you are asked to inform wither the airline or airport at least 48 hours before your flight. Contact POZ on (+48) 618 492 316. Email email@example.com
or visit the airport's website http://tinyurl.com/7spas8w
There are clearly identified call points in front of the main terminal building, in the parking reception and in the main hall from where passengers can request assistance.
When in town, accessible taxis can be ordered by calling (+48) 795 870 036
The stadium has 158 accessible car parking spaces. Inside there are 108 spaces for wheelchair users, 40 seats for partially-sighted and blind fans, and 40 seats for the deaf and partially-deaf. There are 4 accessible toilets.
There is extensive assistance available for disabled passengers at Warsaw Airport, but you are asked to provide notice beforehand of which service(s) you require. There are accessible car parking spaces (marked with blue lights) in the P1 and P2 multi-storey car parks.
Selected check-in, information and transfer desks are equipped with an induction loop system, while the public phones, some of which are suitable for wheelchair users, also have induction facilities. All levels can be accessed by lifts, and there are accessible toilets throughout.
Only the central station (Dworzec Centralny) is designed to be accessible. Assistance can be requested by phone in advance (+48) 22 474 6016, or in person at the ticket office on the ground floor.
Each bus route has vehicles adapted for disabled passengers. There are low-floored buses to facilitate boarding, and these also have a designated space for wheelchairs. These are indicated on the timetables with square brackets around the time - eg [13:42]. Handrails and handles and all butters and signs are in contrasting colours, while buses and trams are equipped with either special screens or audio information about the route, next stops, etc.
All metro stations are equipped with lifts and ramps to allow access to the platform. All platforms also have a section raised with a rough surface to make it easier to identify, which makes boarding/ alighting the trains simpler. Audio information about the doors next to the metro stop is provided.
A group of companies run a fleet of ten wheelchair-accessible cars - call (+48) 22 870 0808 to request them. They can be booked up to six days in advance, and a fee of 15 PLN will be charged for each journey.
Some buildings are equipped with access ramps, but many are not. Some intersections are being renovated to include audio signalling to assist the blind and patially-sighted.
The Royal Castle, National Museum, Zacheta Art Gallery and Warsaw Zoo, among others, have facilities to aid disabled access. For more info on accessible places in Warsaw, visit www.niepelnosprawnik,eu
The stadium has 173 accessible car parking spaces. There are 104 spaces for wheelchair users, and 60 seats for each of the blind/partially-sighted and deaf/partially-deaf. There are 12 accessible toilets.
Passengers can get assistance at the airport, but should request it in advance. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Deaf and partially-deaf travellers can send an SMS to 0 609 744 700 for more information on assistance.
Wroclaw's main train station is undergoing drastic renovations, which will help to make it more accessible. Full details on the new facilities are not available at present, however.
The city's public transport offers concessions to disabled people and their carers. Wheelchair users should look out for buses with an 'N' - these are the services run by low-floored vehicles.
The stadium has 153 accessible car parking spaces. There are 95 spaces for wheelchair users, and 40 seats for the blind/partially sighted and 40 for the deaf/partially-deaf. There are 8 accessible toilets within the stadium.