Why can’t disabled people book tickets for music events online?

Ticket providers and music venues are discriminating against disabled people by not letting us buy tickets online for music events like everyone else can.

No, we have to phone up a “special” ticket line if we need to book a wheelchair space or get a free ticket for carers.

Whilst everyone else can buy their tickets as soon as they go on sale online, we have to wait ages for someone to answer the bleeding phone. By the time that they actually do so there is no guarantee that any tickets will be left anyway.

I have a hearing loss and always struggle to understand what people are saying on the phone, so I have to get my carer to do it for me.

When I was trying to get tickets for Coldplay we had to wait on the phone for an hour before someone picked up. We did manage to get tickets in the end, but waiting for an hour on the phone is ridiculous, especially if we have to pay for it. It would have been so much easier and quicker if disabled people can buy tickets online like everybody else.

Just today I’ve missed out on seeing Jesus Christ Superstar at Lincoln Cathedral because disabled people could not buy tickets online, and we had to phone a number instead – which nobody answered. Tickets were all sold out within about 15 minutes.

Ticket providers say that they get disabled people to phone a number instead of being able to do it online because they need to explain what their needs are.

However, there is no reason why we couldn’t select what our needs are online and upload proof of our disability. It’s not difficult! If they really thought about it I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for them to work out a solution to this problem.

But no, it’s 2016 and disabled people are still being discriminated against when trying to buy tickets for events.

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon though.

On 12 February 2016 The Ticket Factory, one of the biggest ticket agents in the UK, announced that it was allowing disabled people to book tickets online. The catch is that it will only be available at the Barclaycard Arena and Genting Arena, both in Birmingham.

Ticket Factory’s system uses the Access Card, which acts as a proof of disability and shows what a person’s needs are using symbols. So when a person books tickets online using their access card the venue will automatically know what their needs are using the symbols. This should be a lot easier and quicker for everyone involved. However, like I say this service is only available at the Barclaycard and Genting Arenas in Birmingham. Plus so far The Ticket Factory is the ONLY ticket agent to offer online booking for disabled people, in any shape or form.

Stuart Cain, managing director at The Ticket Factory said: “Why are agents and venues making disabled people feel inferior? Why should they have to call a Contact Centre and try to explain their situation to somebody down the end of a phone, especially when those without disabilities can book online with ease?

We’ve been banging on about this for ages and it’s taken until now to find the Access Card – the missing piece of the jigsaw. Regardless of who you are, buying a ticket should be fast, simple and fun.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Hopefully, more ticket agents will follow The Ticket Factory’s lead and implement online booking for disabled people, which is well overdue.

Let’s say we do manage to get tickets for a music event. We may still have to pay for a carer’s ticket as well. So that means we will have to pay double just because we need someone to support us.

Effectively we are paying double for our disability. If we weren’t disabled the carer would not even be there.

Attitude Is Everything’s third state of access report released in 2016 found that 15% of festivals and 28% of music venues did not offer free tickets for carers.

I don’t understand the logic for not providing free carer’s tickets. Most of the time they are not there because they want to, they are there because it is their job to support a disabled person. It is the disabled person who hashave to pay extra for that support, which is disgraceful.

The difficulty of purchasing tickets has put off many disabled people from attending live music events. Also it means we often miss out on tickets because it takes so long to book them on the phone.

Hopefully it won’t be long before other ticket agents enter the 21st-century and start offering online booking for disabled people.


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