I’ve always wanted to take a Boston Duck Tour but didn’t think they would be wheelchair accessible. My friends checked out their website and discovered that all the Boston Duck Tours are wheelchair accessible. The 3 locations you can purchase tickets and take a Boston Duck Tours from are; Prudential Center, Museum of Science and Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Since my mom, Ric, Tony and I were at the Prudential Center yesterday we decided it was a great time to take a Boston Duck Tour. The Ticket Booth across from Barnes and Noble is way too high for me in my wheelchair to reach. Cost of tickets posted on a sign at the ticket booth and on their website is: Adult $29.00; Student/Senior/Military $25.00; Children (3 to 11) $19.00; Children under 3 $5.00. The cost is high for my budget so my mom offered to purchase our tickets.
My mom asked Tommy, the supervisor if the Duck Tour is really wheelchair accessible and he told us it was so my mom asked for 4 Adult tickets and said one was for me who was in a wheelchair. Tommy told her the 4 tickets would cost $29 each. My mom then asked if Boston Duck Tour offers a discount for disabled persons. Tommy told my mom, friends and me that there is a discount ticket for $15 for persons with a disability. My Mom told him I had a disability and Tommy then asked what my disability was.
We were all surprised he would ask this for obviously sitting in a custom sized wheelchair he could see I had a permanent disability. We have NEVER been asked to give out such personal and private information about my disability in order to get a discounted disability ticket. My mom told Tommy that I was paralyzed. Tommy told my mom that being paralyzed does not count as a disability for a discount! My mom then asked what does determine if someone is disabled and asked if there is a list. Tommy told her there is no list but an example would be if someone is blind. Well my mom then told him I am Legally Blind which I am so Tommy then sold her my ticket for $15 instead of $29.
After purchasing our tickets we were given a brochure and a yellow flyer with ticket prices quoted. We were a bit shocked as on their yellow flyer it states there is a discount cost of $15 for persons with Special Needs.
I was very embarrassed and humiliated after this ordeal. Being treated with Dignity and Respect is as important to me as much as how wheelchair accessible a place is.
Ric, my friend later went to speak with Tommy and asked why he questioned my disability. Tommy told Ric that some visitors purchasing tickets for a Boston Duck Tour have taken advantage of the discount and misrepresented a disability so this is why they are now cautious when giving out a Special Needs discount. He told Ric some persons have claimed their child has ADA which is hard for the ticket sales person to determine if true or not. Yet Ric still couldn’t understand why I was questioned.
Ric was still upset for he didn’t want any other disabled person to be treated as I was so he called the Administrative Offices to voice a complaint on my behalf. Cindy a manager at the Boston Duck Tours returned Ric’s call. Cindy told us that the discount was for someone who could not get the full benefit of the tour. Cindy gave an example of someone with a broken leg. This is a temporary disability and would not qualify for a Special Needs discount.
My mom spoke with Cindy and she apologized and said that she would address the way persons with disabilities are treated at a manager’s meeting today. My mom suggested that the Special Needs Discount be posted on the sign at the ticket booth and on their website as well. Many persons with Special Needs have a limited fixed income and this discount could be helpful.
Now as for the BOSTON DUCK TOUR it is very wheelchair accessible and I had a great time. The Duck Tour staff who assisted me onto the vehicle were very kind, courteous and respectful of me. The Boston Duck Tour purchased a portable wheelchair lift from Montreal Canada and this lift allows ALL the Duck Tours to be wheelchair accessible! Once on the Duck Tour vehicle the staff tied down my wheelchair just like it is tied down in my van so I would remain safe in the vehicle. It doesn’t have a vehicle seatbelt or shoulder strap so you should make sure your wheelchair seatbelt is fastened.
A very nice ConDUCKtor drove our Duck Tour vehicle. Each Duck Tour vehicle has a different color and name and ours was purple and it’s name was ‘North End Norma’. Our ConDUCKtor told us much of the great history of Boston as we passed by many famous and historical sites. Freedom began in Boston as well as did Women’s Rights. The Duck Tour vehicles were made for use during World War II. Each Duck Tour is 80 minutes.
The ConDUCKtor asked if any tourists wanted to drive the Duck Tour Vehicle once it was in the Charles River. My friend Tony volunteered and I thought it was great that he got to drive our duct boat out in the open water. I’ve driven by the Charles River many times but never had the wonderful opportunity to be on it like I was yesterday.
Boston Duck Tours donates thousands of tickets to Youth Groups and Senior citizens groups as well as some non profit organizations every year. I hope to see them donate to Special Needs as well, as many persons with Special needs would not be able to afford the cost of a ticket. Boston Duck Tours also give free tours to armed force members during Veteran’s week.
I give the Boston Duck Tours FOUR STARS for wheelchair accessibility. They can earn the Fifth Star if they install a wheelchair accessible window at the Ticket Counter booth, train all their staff to be more respectful and sensitive to persons with disabilities and openly post the Special Needs discounted rate on the sign at the Ticket Booth and on their Website where they have the other ticket prices posted.