Thursday, January 3, 2013

Taiwan launches e-guide to help disabled people find accessible restaurants in Taipei

From CNA:

TAIPEI- Local disability groups launched an e-book and print handbook Jan. 3 designed to help disabled people find and get to disabled-friendly restaurants in Taipei and New Taipei.

The guide offers information on 55 disabled-friendly restaurants in the two cities, how to get there and recommendations and suggestions by disabled people who have been there, disability groups said at a press conference.

The print and electronic publications are the results of a program jointly launched by disability groups, government agencies and a local university in 2012, in which 10 disabled people were sent out to evaluate facilities for the disabled 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 disabled,” said Ma Hai-hsia, president of the League of Welfare Organizations for the Disabled of the Republic of China.

She expressed hope that the program will 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 award-winning app was launched in October last year and has so far recorded some 5,000 downloads, said Huang Tzu-chen, a communication and technology student at National Chiao Tung University who helped develop the app.

Chang Yen-yi, who is confined to a wheelchair because of muscular dystrophy, said the lack of disabled bathrooms in restaurants in Taiwan remains a big concern for disabled people who wish to eat out.

“We'd like to be able to eat and drink freely without having to worry that there are no disabled bathrooms,” said Chang, who evaluated eight of the restaurants for the program.

He added that he often has to refrain from drinking beverages when eating out and that he hopes more restaurants can provide disabled bathroom facilities and improve their seating space for disabled people.

The online tools and handbook were jointly 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