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  • Writer's pictureSean Towgood

Wheelchair Seats: A Needle in a Haystack

Recently, I went on line to purchase tickets to a wrestling event. Being disabled, I require wheelchair accessible seats. The main vendor for tickets in Canada has come under fire for giving the majority of seats to third party websites. The number of wheelchair seats at any event is very limited but they diminish further when they snatched up by these third party sites.

Picture this: it's nine thirty. Tickets go on sale at ten. You are all ready to purchase tickets to that once in a lifetime event. You're anticipating. Your fingers are over the keys, poised and ready to go. You are in a queue. The clock strikes ten and you scramble to find accessible seating only for the website to patronize you mercilessly with "We're sorry. There are no accessible seats available."

Now, yes, one could buy regular seats and have them switched for accessible seating the day of the event. However, that plan hinges on two factors: 1) how altruistic the guest services person feels that day and 2) if there are any wheelchair seats left in the venue at all. Also, that is a moment when you have to swallow your pride and hope you can get seats. As well, I usually attend these events with a friend who is relying on the tickets that I've bought to get them into the venue. The evening always seems to have a level of anxiety about it because I'm not even sure if I'll be able to get in.

However, venues are often pretty accommodating, given that I have already purchased a ticket, and they'll do everything in their power to find us a place watch from. It has led to some pretty cool views, though. One time, I ended up beside the spotlight operator, and on another occasion I found myself in the press box. I quickly had to learn the press box etiquette (not cheering).

One of the annoying parts of the sale of disabled seating is that technically, anyone can purchase disabled tickets. Now, I know it might be hard to police and it could run you into some human rights complaints, but I'd like to see a better system implemented for purchasing disabled tickets. What are some of your ticket purchasing stories? Tweet them to me at @TowgoodTalks.

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