In my last post I mentioned that I enjoy going to concerts and shows in my spare time but sometimes getting the tickets can be a challenge. Getting tickets to the biggest gig can be a challenge for anyone but if you have a disability this can sometimes be near enough impossible.
Let’s start with how a disabled customer gets hold of a ticket. Believe it or not, despite all the technological advances with the internet, most venues still insist on telephone booking and going to the box office itself to buy a ticket if you are (or are buying for) a disabled customer. Now you may ask what is wrong about phoning a booking line? Well, unlike usual telephone booking lines disabled booking lines are only open during ridiculous opening times (usually between 10 and 4) which is when most people have to work. Not only that, but there are usually very few operators who man this line so you’re subject to an insane queue and very bad hold music. My personal record for the longest time spent trying to get tickets is 8 hours!
One thing I want to know is why this has to be the case. Most venues, if you are a ordinary customer, let you buy tickets online but strangely if you are disabled, this option is rarely available. I once asked a venue why this was the case, they told me it was to stop people buying tickets they were not entitled to. However, this is simply confusing. Using the phone would not stop tickets being wrongly sold as the venues rarely ask for proof of disability. So why are disabled customers forced to wait in queues to get a ticket?
Personally I believe that if the entertainment sector wanted to stop tickets being sold to the wrong customer, they could offer a similar system offered to disabled cinema-goers. The CEA card is a card that a disabled person can purchase for a small fee that entitles them to a free ticket for their PA or carer. You supply proof of disability upon application for the card. Each card comes with a unique number that can be used either online, via phone or in person to purchase a disabled ticket and PA/carer ticket. If this system was available on a broader scale it would mean that more disabled people would have better chances of getting a gig ticket.
I know access to attractions and leisure activities may never be perfect but whilst most people only consider physical access (i.e ramps and lifts) not many organisations may think to reviewing their booking policies so that it is slightly fairer to get tickets. As much as I may enjoy the ‘perk’ of a ‘free’ ticket, 8 hours to get the ticket in the first place is more than hard work. Thank you for the complementary ticket for my PA, but after being on hold for so long, I think I’ve earned it!
Next time the O2 brag that they can cater for 50 thousand people I hope they bear in mind that only a handful of disabled customers who are quick off the mark are able to get tickets!
-Feeling equally lucky and frustrated