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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) at e-mail exclusively for Bermuda Online
To refer by e-mail to this file use "bermuda-online.org/BPHA.htm" as your Subject
This file seeks to provide some reliable and as comprehensive as possible information about Bermuda specifically for the disabled, so they can have a good idea, as visitors or newcomers, of what to expect - and what not to expect. Unfortunately, no other Bermuda website carries any of the information shown immediately below.
Bermuda - as these websites 125+ in-depth web files show - is certainly a lovely place for all able-bodied residents and visitors, but for the physically challenged/disabled, access for the disabled/physically handicapped and/or mobility-impaired is limited. Bermuda is a tiny (only 21 square miles) island 900 miles due east of the nearest mainland, North Carolina, USA. Much larger countries, with many more disabled people compared to just a few thousand among Bermuda's total resident population of only about 66,000, often have better facilities.
Bermuda offers the severely disabled or physically handicapped somewhat better facilities than the Caribbean Islands 900 miles or more to the south. Unlike the great majority of those islands, even those that have ferry services, here in Bermuda there is a fast, frequent (daytime) public transport ferry service that can carry those confined to push-wheelchair and electric wheelchairs and their caregivers. For them in particular, it is by far the best and least expensive getting-about option during their Bermuda visit. It enables them to see and enjoy Bermuda's best features, her glorious seascapes. They offer lower deck covered seating for the disabled. Visitors who are disabled and their caregivers (carers) can get around quite easily and not expensively via these handicapped-accessible Bermuda Government-operated ferries to the principal sightseeing attractions of the City of Hamilton in the middle of the island, Dockyard (see Ireland Island north, above) and its Somerset Parish environs to the west and Town of St. George to the east. But note this service is available only when the weather, wind and sea conditions permit and they don't go to any of the island's beaches or other attractions. The island's public transport buses go there, or stop nearby, but unlike the ferry services are not disabled friendly, don't yet have ramps or hoists or spaces reserved for wheelchairs. It has been suggested, but has not yet been implemented, that Bermuda could become a pioneer in the creation of signage outside major and other sightseeing attractions, beaches, facilities and services advising the disabled and other visitors or residents with mobility issues how best to access or if there are other ways to access, such as going around the back or if there is an elevator (lift) or ramp.
Some taxis can take the physically handicapped and other disabled. But note that taxis are almost all minivans that require getting up at least a foot. Presently no Bermuda laws require any type of public or private transport to take the disabled, unlike in UK, USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
It may be possible to hire a larger taxi that can take a person in an electric wheelchair, and up to 4 or so other passengers as well, but this will be expensive. If you are sensitive to or may have any disability-related or other emergency, a major factor may be to have a non-disabled driver available, one who is fit, mobile and agile enough to render physical assistance such as pushing a manual wheelchair if necessary in the event (no matter how remote) of an accident or medical or any other emergency, especially when time may be of the essence in say arriving in time for an airline or cruise ship departure or fulfilling a time-specific rendezvous or getting prompt medical attention. This could be a life-saver. In the UK, major disability-conscious organizations stress this for all UK visitors who are disabled. If you too think this could be vitally important, suggest you contact Bermuda Radio Cabs - see Under Taxis in http://www.bermuda-online.org/getround.htm - and ask for someone who (a) has that degree of agility; (b) has a 4-passenger taxi/van and (c) whose vehicle also has the space, height and a hoist to accommodate a wheel-chair-bound passenger in reasonable comfort. Or instead of a taxi, perhaps by a mini-bus service - also see http://www.bermuda-online.org/getround.htm - one which is equipped to take one or two wheelchair-bound passengers and which is licensed by the Bermuda Government's Government Transport Control Dept and appropriately insured as such, not solely as a private vehicle.
In the City of Hamilton, some roads have disabled-friendly sidewalks.
Some hotels now claim to have disabled-friendly (but not always ADA-compliant) guest rooms.
There is no disabled-friendly beach or relevant attendant. Just do the best you can for the disabled on a somewhat accessible quiet small public beach, such as Shelly Bay, - see Beaches at http://www.bermuda-online.org/beaches.htm - with the help of more able friends.
No visitors - able or disabled - can rent a private car or truck.
There is no equivalent in Bermuda of the USA's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the UK's Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 (so weak and ineffective in comparison to the USA's ADA) and in the UK since replaced by the just-as-ineffective Equality and Human Rights Commission at http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/). Bermuda has no similar legislation protecting the rights of the disabled or physically challenged, only what is contained in the local Human Rights Acts that don't cover non-Bermudians or visitors. Airlines and cruise ships from abroad serving Bermuda don't ask or require the Bermuda Government (or any other foreign government) to comply with any of their disability-related requirements, as some disability activists believe they should. However, Bermuda recently enacted local legislation to help protect the rights of Bermudian disabled people in the workplace. The Human Rights (Unreasonable Hardship) Amendment Act 2011 became law on December 3, 2012, the UN International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
Disabled cruise ship visitors may be allowed by their cruise ship to bring a mobility scooter for use on the cruise ship, but it cannot be used on Bermuda's public roads.
The Bermuda Government does not require hotels, guest houses, cottage colonies, apartments, villas, shops or restaurants or sightseeing attractions or boats to make any of their facilities accessible. Those that do so in Bermuda anyway do so voluntarily. In contrast, the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc. have laws to require this. In general, Bermuda is not yet wheelchair-friendly. There have not yet been adaptations to shops or restaurants.
The Bermuda Government's public transport buses are all inaccessible.
The Bermuda Government's public ferries from one end of the island to the other are mostly, but not all, accessible.
In none of Bermuda's otherwise good for the non-disabled public transport systems - buses and ferries - are there any signs requiring or requesting that persons who are not disabled give up their seats for the disabled, as there are in all public and private sector buses, trains, ferries in the USA, Canada, UK and the European Community.
The permanently disabled, or physically challenged, do not get the financial assistance from the Bermuda Government routinely offered by Canada, USA, etc. to their citizens and legal residents. Although Bermuda is (nominally) British, it offers none of the benefits British-UK disabled citizens get, such as a non-means-tested government-paid Disability Allowance (DLA) in the Higher Rate for mobility, or Middle Rate or Lower Rate, or if over 65, an Attendance Allowance, for those who need help with personal care, by day and night. Plus, in the UK, a spouse or relative or friend under the age of 65 who provides at least 35 hours a week of care to a severely disabled person is entitled to a government-paid Carer's (Caregiver in USA and Canada) Allowance. Nor to the severely disabled of Bermuda of any age get - as they do in the UK - all their medical prescriptions entirely free of charge.
There is no equivalent in Bermuda of a Disability Equality plan or scheme organized since December 2006 by all UK-based regional authorities. The Bermuda Government's Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) which in early 2014 replaced the previous Bermuda Department of Tourism (BDOT) has no equivalent of the United Kingdom's National Accessible Scheme (Plan) or Disability Rating Organization for places to stay and facilities.
There is no equivalent in Bermuda of the USA's heavy fines, rigidly enforced by police as law enforcement officers when requested by disabled applicants, as penalties to scofflaws for parking illegally in a designated disabled parking space without an appropriate parking badge. There are some designated physically-handicapped parking areas for 4-wheeled vehicles (but not mobility scooters). When violations occur the police here won't act.
Unlike in the USA, Canada and UK, Bermuda exerts no requirement on business owners, landlords, owner occupiers and tenants to make adjustments to the physical features of properties to accommodate disabled persons - in or out of a wheelchair. Shops, stores, private sector offices, government offices and historic buildings are not required to - and mostly do not - offer access to all floors to the disabled in a wheelchair. Nor do they have front doors which open in a disabled-friendly way. Many places are not accessible at all, despite claims they are. The Bermuda Government's Department of Planning has no equivalent of the Access Statement of Planning Departments in London and elsewhere in the UK, or the USA's ADA. There is no requirement in Bermuda to show how the principles of inclusive design, including the specific needs of the disabled, are integrated into the proposed development and how inclusion will be maintained and managed.
There is no equivalent in Bermuda of the UK's Holidays All Consortium or Tourism for All or Holiday Care Service organizations for the disabled. Nor is Bermuda on any of the international tourism registers for the disabled/physically handicapped.
There is no equivalent in Bermuda of the UK's Cinema Exhibitors Association Card that gives free cinema (movie) tickets to carers (caregivers) who accompany qualified disabled individuals who apply for the card.
There is no equivalent in Bermuda of the UK's government-approved and supported Motability Car Scheme for the disabled - see http://www.motability.co.uk/understanding-the-scheme/how-it-works/ which enables those qualified to swap their Disability Living Allowance at Higher Rate or new equivalent by going to a Motability-recognized car dealership and order a car plus maintenance plus insurance, every three years. Unlike in Canada & USA where vans and mini-vans for owners or co-owners in wheelchairs can qualify for a rebate of up to US$1,000 directly from General Motors, Ford, etc. no rebates apply to those who are Bermuda-based.
Personal mobility vehicles - gas or petrol like the one shown - brought and used by the disabled in other countries are not allowed on any public roads in Bermuda by persons who are not residents and not licensed and insured in Bermuda to use them, unlike in St. Thomas, St, Croix, San Juan, etc (American territories where US laws including ADA apply).
Sidewalks in Bermuda are usually very busy with pedestrians, can be steep, are not always on both sides of the road and traffic on the main road between sidewalks is often dense. It is a very hilly, with few flat places, not good for disabled people confined to a wheelchair who are not accompanied by a spouse or caregiver with the strength to lift them. Main roads are very narrow and almost always busy during the weekday especially. There are now sidewalks with sloping ramps uniformly throughout the most frequently traveled tourism and international business areas of the City of Hamilton. The Town of St. George is improving in this area. But outside the city and town you will not see many sidewalks elsewhere evenly on one side of the road or another - and they don't have ramps. With so few roads in Bermuda with little traffic, persons in wheelchairs and the ambulatory disabled - persons who can walk but have a balance or mobility problem and may have to use a cane or crutches or walker - should be exceedingly careful when crossing a street and in the city or town should do so only when there is a traffic light and a push-button pedestrian crossing with a "walk" and "don't walk" signal; and when using stairs, stair cases, steps.
For other information relevant to disabled visitors, contact the Bermuda Government's National Office for Seniors and Physically Challenged NOSPC). It works along with the Department of Planning and organizations such as The Corporation of Hamilton and other industry partners to upgrade accessibility throughout Bermuda.
These are limited to:
Bermudians only, who pass a very strict means test and have no income, have no home of their own, no or purely nominal savings or investments, get Financial Assistance. For details of how much this is and how one qualifies, contact the National Office for Seniors and the Physically Challenged (NOSPC), mentioned below.
There is a "Special Persons" photo-ID for locals, available to both the under 65s who are registered as disabled confirmed by a registered medical doctor, and senior citizens over 65s. They do not include the word "disabled" (recommended by this author, to enable them if they go overseas, to apply for disabled "Concessionary Travel" discounts).
For Senior Citizens/Disabled/Physically Handicapped who can use a bus, free passes are available to Local Residents only with a Special Persons Card. (Seniors or disabled/handicapped from abroad without such a card pay full price). Unlike in the UK, there are no similar concessionary fares for a companion, who may be younger, of someone elderly or disabled/physically handicapped.
Registered disabled owners of cars, on application to the Transport Control Department (see below), may qualify for free annual licensing of one specific small private car if they can satisfy in writing all the following conditions: are the principal owner or co-owner of a qualifying vehicle; can drive themselves and have a valid license to do so and/or are actually in the vehicle themselves when it is being driven; are unable to ride on any buses because of medically acknowledged balance problems on them and are thus totally dependent on a private vehicle for transport. This is a Minister of Transport discretionary benefit, not a mandated one.
Disabled Persons Parking Badge. Like the part of one shown here below.
Valid in Bermuda only - not in the UK or USA or Canada, etc. where different criteria apply to obtain such a badge.
Website links will be shown gladly when reciprocated.
Physical address: BPHA, Base Gate, 1 South Side, St. David's Island, DD 03, Bermuda. Postal (mailing) address: P.O. Box HM 8, Hamilton HM AX, Bermuda. Telephone (441) 293-5035, Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm local time. Or (441) 293-8148 after 5:00 pm. Or fax (441) 293-5036. The office is a small steel former Kindley military building. It is small, cramped, but convenient - for the non-disabled - to a nearby public bus. Since 1964. Registered Charity number 088 under Bermuda's Charities Act 1978. The only registered organization in Bermuda specifically for the physically challenged. Services include assisting in employment of the physically disabled and to promote better understanding and public awareness of their difficulties and needs. Members include blind or sight-impaired; deaf; speech-impaired and amputees. More than 11 percent of all Bermudians have diabetes, one of the highest rates in the world per square mile. Anyone, disabled or not, is welcome to join. Visitors and any working newcomers who are helped in any way by the BPHA are urged to become members and take an active interest. Membership is a nominal cost per person but donations from individuals and companies are welcomed and encouraged. All members have a Membership Card and a large or small BPHA sticker for their vehicle or their caregiver's vehicle.
Some permanently disabled Bermudians live at Summerhaven (shown below, right), the only residence in Bermuda for the permanently physically disabled, in Smith's Parish. There is a huge waiting list for it. It is run by the Summerhaven Trust, operated by an independent board. It receives a government grant to assist with its day-to-day operations. Other financial support comes from donations and a subsidy from the Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB). Each of the residents at the facility are responsible for paying their rent for the studio apartments. They are also provided with two meals a day and 24-hour attendant care.
There are regular meetings and the office - shown above, left - is the place of employment, for various contracts, as disabled persons collectively, for the public and private sectors.
BPHA members and their caregivers live in all the parishes
Accessible places or services for the disabled are shown with the wheelchair graphic
Persons seeking accommodation in Bermuda should first of all see see wheelchair signs showing whether or not hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and efficiency units will accept the accompanied or unaccompanied disabled, in
Always check, yourself, with the properties concerned to see if their dimensions for rooms, doors and bathrooms comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This should be the key legislation as more than 85% of all tourists come from USA, with only 5% from Canada and UK. Note that of all the properties in Bermuda, only three - the Elbow Beach Resort, Hamilton Princess and Southampton Princess Hotels - have Disabled/Handicapped Parking signs outside their premises. Also, they are presently the only three properties in the whole of Bermuda that say a few of their rooms are disabled-friendly. It is not known however if they are in every way ADA-approved as, unlike in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, etc., there are no equivalents of ADA, no minimum statutory sizes or widths for any doors or showers. Also, in Bermuda no premises at all are graded and licensed specifically for the disabled. Bermuda has no ADA-like laws for the disabled. Nor is there presently any equivalent of British UK, Canadian or European access-for-the-disabled laws. Only in Bermuda's Human Rights legislation is their any provision for the disabled, as all other countries also feature in addition to their ADA-like legislation.
Those Bermuda properties that are truly registered by the ADA as ADA-compliant in every way will have ADA-compliant signs that include these:
Our airport is Bermuda International Airport. The best airline to travel to and from Bermuda for the disabled is American Airlines, because the seat pitch in Economy - 33 inches - is more comfortable. Cramped in-flight conditions, in seats of only 31 inches seat pitch, can be a severe problem or at the least, an awful flight compared to a comfortable flight. In America, air travelers with disabilities travel under CFR Part 382 which stipulates a "comfortable seat."
Book ahead, be prompt in checking in. Ask if the assigned seat concerned has a lift-up armrest. If appropriate, request an onboard wheelchair be provided or if a seat is needed with a moveable armrest, or both. Verify that the aircraft configuration allows for washroom use via an aisle-navigable wheelchair. If not, eating and drinking on the aircraft will not possible without potential problems.
You may need extra space to store a walker or crutches. If you bring a wheelchair for use here - recommended - arrange in advance to have it checked as priority baggage. Before you bring a motorized wheelchair, ask the airline and where you stay to check that you will be able to license, insure and use it in Bermuda - and if the airline will accept the type of battery it takes.
Note that deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is especially dangerous for disabled passengers.
This small airport is owned and operated by the Bermuda Government. It is nice but has no jetways. Airlines should ask the Bermuda International Airport to make the airport hoist available when required and to be asked for other assistance. A disabled passenger transporter, valued at about $100,000 is here. The airport can take departing USA-bound passengers in wheelchairs from the departure lounge to ground level. There is an elevator. There are two Handicapped Parking spaces in the Short Term car park. The airport does not follow the USA, British, Canadian and European system of allocating 5% of its parking spaces for badge-carrying Disabled or Physically Handicapped passengers.
Purpose-built toilets in Bermuda for the disabled are at
Unlike in The United Kingdom and Canada, they are not NKS or equivalent key-accessible toilets and the unit at KEMH is often used by the non-disabled in violation of the needs of the disabled.
Bermuda has some absolutely gorgeous private and public beaches, ideal for enjoyment by the fit and able. But none of them presently offer the disabled any of the wheelchair-friendly vehicles shown below. The level of demand and economies of scale have not yet been sufficient to justify the expense. But it is hoped this will change in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, should any disabled visitors who arrive by cruise ship have any of the vehicles shown, they should try to bring them if the cruise line will permit. Disabled visitors should not attempt on their own to use their wheelchairs to get down to a beach. They should ensure a caregiver accompanies them. Also, because public transport buses cannot carry wheelchairs at this time, disabled visitors and their caregivers who want to visit most beaches not near where their cruise ship has docked must do so by taxi.
This Bermuda Government-owned facility has no Disabled Parking sign outside. There is a ramp to the entrance.
Every January to February, for 2 hours a night, mostly at City Hall in City of Hamilton accessible via a curving outdoor ramp that now leads to the City Hall Theatre. There are special places for the wheelchair-bound and a seat nearby for a caregiver. Regular prices apply.
Bermuda Tourism Authority. Now independent of Government, until 2013 known as the Department of Tourism, then, operated and staffed by the Bermuda Government. Ground floor, Global House, 43 Church Street, Hamilton, HM 12. Or by airmail at P. O. Box HM 465, HM BX. Telephone (441) 292- 2023. Fax (441) 292-7537. It has some information about Bermuda. It does not link to this website with its wealth of full and factual information for the disabled. It produces a "Blue Book" as a travel agent's manual to Bermuda. Disabled visitors should request the "Accessible Bermuda" booklet.
Bermuda National Library. Accessible by elevator. There is one Handicapped Parking place between it and the Bermuda Historical Society. Free access.
Bermuda Police Service. Its mission statement is "To ensure a safe, secure and peaceful Bermuda for all, because we care..." But it does not extend to helping disabled persons with Disabled Parking Badges ensure the latter are not abused. On a number of occasions when this has happened, disabled members have called the police in vain.
Buses. Public transport. For latest information to supplement what is written below please contact the Bermuda Government's Public Transportation Board at 26 Palmetto Road, Devonshire DV 05, telephone 292-3851 if you are in Bermuda, or before you arrive at mailing address P.O. Box HM 443, Hamilton HM BX, Bermuda. Telephone (441) 292-3851, or fax (441) 292-9996 or email email@example.com. See under Buses in Getting Around in Bermuda. In theory, disabled passengers should expect, wherever they go in the world, for some decent concessions to have been made for them in all forms of public transport. This is not the case in Bermuda. Buses are fine for able passengers but are not equipped for the severely disabled who needs to use a wheelchair on the buses, or the walking mobility-restricted disabled who use sticks or crutches who are unable to stand when the buses are crowded as they often are, especially at rush hour times or on busy tourism routes. Nor can the buses carry any portable (fold-up) wheelchairs as they don't have any spaces designated for luggage or bulky items. In 1993, a task force that developed the Headway Report made recommendations as to how the Bermuda Government could introduce public transportation for the handicapped. Since that time there have been numerous attempts to address the issue but no meaningful outcome. In 2009, a task force was spearheaded by the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs. The fact remains that public transportation by bus is still not possible for the handicapped in wheelchairs, not only because of the lack or scarcity of wheelchair access but also because the vast majority of the bus stops, all situated on Bermuda's narrow and very busy roads, are presently not safe for the handicapped to use. Nor will they be until/if land is ever purchased to make the buses internationally accessible to wheelchair users. Clearly, while Government may wish to make improvements, much simply cannot be done due to environmental factors, without huge public expense and likelihood of creating significant traffic problems. What is also a problem on Bermuda buses (but has been remedied on buses in the USA, Canada and UK) is how there no signs pointing to seats reserved for clearly elderly and mobility-reduced passengers.
No such signs appear on Bermuda buses, as they do in the UK, etc.
Ferries. Public transport. See the schedule at http://www.marineandports.bm. For these schedules, be prepared to wait for a few minutes of apparent no activity, after which the details will appear suddenly. The seasonal-frequency daily ferry services between City of Hamilton and Dockyard and Town of St. George - provide limited access for the walking disabled and severely disabled persons in wheelchairs (on their main deck, not the upper deck). Unlike the buses, ferries to and from Dockyard and St. George's (see below) can take wheelchairs for the disabled. The Paget to Warwick ferry will take the walking disabled. Ferry stops in Paget, Warwick and Watford Bridge have flights of steps or other impediments that prevent the unaccompanied or accompanied in a wheelchair from accessing the service at all; and should also be approached with caution by others who are ambulatory but have mobility or balance problems. For further information about ferries relating specifically to the disabled, such as whether they can carry wheelchairs and if so what type such manual or motorized and self-driven and is there is a maximum allowable weight for a wheelchair by itself and/or with passenger, and are guide dogs allowed on board, please contact the Bermuda Government's National Office for Seniors and Disabled (see below).
Human Rights Commission. Suite 304, Mechanics Building, 12 Church Street, Hamilton HM 11. Telephone 295-5889. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Human Rights Act 1981 and Human Rights Amendment Act 2000 gives the disabled in Bermuda some rights in theory but in practice, based on complaints from some disabled, have been shown to have no teeth. Under the Bermuda Human Rights Act 1981 and Human Rights Amendment Act 2000, a disabled person is one who is registered with any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness, including diabetes, epilepsy, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, human immunodeficiency virus, paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impairment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device. There are some very serious deficiencies compared to other countries. For example, in the USA, Canada, UK, European Community, etc. a disabled person is one with a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term or permanent adverse affect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The latter Acts distinguish disability from short term illness and injury and accentuate that it is the extent of the impairment, not the extent of the handicap, that is important. But not in Bermuda.
Mid Atlantic Wellness Centre (formerly St. Brendan's Hospital) . Devonshire Parish. With a gymnasium (year-round) and outdoor pool (May 24-Labor Day) for free use year-round by the disabled with sufficient notice by telephone. They must sign a waiver absolving the hospital of any responsibility.
National Office for Seniors and the Physically Challenged (NOSPC). Continental Building, on the corner of Church Street and Cedar Avenue, Hamilton. Or by Airmail at P. O. Box HM 1195, Hamilton HM EX, Bermuda. Email email@example.com.Open 8:45 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday. Phone (441) 292-7802. Fax (441) 292-7681. Established by the Bermuda Government in 2001-2002 through the amalgamation of two programmes of Government. The Coordinator of Seniors, within the Department of Health, and the Coordinator of Disabled, within the Department of Community Affairs. The Office was then within the Ministry of Health and in 2007, during the ministerial realignment, was placed within the Ministry of Culture and Social Rehabilitation. Now Under the remit of the Ministry of Health. The NOSPC aim was to ensure seniors and those with disabilities can live a meaningful and productive life within the community. Collaborative relationships were formed with key stakeholders including: Age Concern, Meals on Wheels, clinical social workers at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, Department of Health Community Nursing, Environmental Health, Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute, Department of Planning and the Department of Financial Assistance. The office was given a wheelchair ramp. There were other ambitious minor plans. The Office has no website. As in the UK, there is no national register of senior citizens/ disabled/physically handicapped persons. In May 2010 NOSPC was tasked with exploring options for employment tax relief for companies that hire disabled people. In January 2010 a Para transit Strategy and Business Plan was proposed. It involved a meeting between taxi operators who service the mobility impaired and the Ministry of Tourism. The purpose was to seek taxi operators' views. The goal was to establish a Para transit service to provide transportation to Bermuda's mobility impaired population. It was hoped the plan will establish a framework for a transit system customized to suit the needs of Bermuda's physically impaired and possibly their equivalents who are tourists. On June 18, 2007 a National Policy on Disabilities was applauded by members of Parliament, but has yet to be implemented. Then-Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, Wayne Perinchief, presented the National Policy to the House of Assembly to cross-party support. It aimed “to ensure that disabled persons have every opportunity to reach their individual potential and to see the removal of barriers that prevent their full participation in Bermudian society”. Mr. Perinchief classed a disability as a long-term health condition lasting more than six months, which can include physical, emotional or learning difficulties. According to the 2000 Census, disability affects 3,000 residents on the Island — five percent of the population. Almost a quarter — 23 percent — of 16 to 64-year-olds reported back or spine problems, while 33 percent of seniors suffered from arthritis. Among 200 people with a learning disability, 118 were cared for by relatives — many of whom were over 60-years-old. Mr. Perinchief said: “These statistics speak volumes about the magnitude and impact of disability on people in our community — from disabled persons themselves, to their friends, family and support networks.” He said the National Policy was the result of action by then Minister of Health and Family Services Patrice Minors, who appointed a Committee to address the issue in January 2005. The committee was formed to develop a National Policy, by setting down guiding principles; objectives in access, housing, health, education, transport, communication and training; overall goals and objectives. Technical officers from the National Office for Seniors and the Physically Challenged assisted in drafting policy, and the team reviewed legislation not only from Bermuda, but from other countries around the world. There is now a Committee for a National Policy on Disabilities. In 2005 a National Advisory Council on Disabilities was established, after the Committee for a National Policy on Disabilities met in 2005 to determine guiding principles; recommend policy objectives in the areas of access, communication, education, training, health, housing and transportation; and to identify overall goals and objectives for each area. Its report was completed and Government accepted the recommendations with the 155 objectives.
It was allotted almost $1 million in the most recent (2014-2015) Budget, with $529,000 of that for seniors. Its roles, responsibilities and organizational structure are under review and its three most senior staff positions are vacant but are being covered in an "acting capacity" until the review is complete. The NOSPC's manager is also appointed Senior Abuse Registrar under the Senior Abuse Register Act 2008. John Payne, the former manager and Registrar, retired on October 31, 2014, and administrator Keeona Belboda has been seconded to fill the role until the end of March. Social worker Katherina Gibbons is the office's co-ordinator for seniors. The Ministry of Health has said the NOSPC would be restructured in 2015 and "posts may be recruited." Under the Act, it is the duty of the Registrar to cause an investigation to be carried out if a complaint of elder abuse is made. According to the Ministry of Health, 34 complaints of elder abuse were made between January and October 2014, resulting in 22 investigations. The ministry will not share the outcomes but none are believed to have led to prosecutions under the Senior Abuse Register Act. According to the most recent Government Budget Book, there were 205 cases of elder abuse managed in the fiscal year 2012-13, resulting in six investigations, and 170 cases managed the subsequent financial year, resulting in ten investigations. Outcomes are not provided. The Senior Abuse Registrar has successfully applied for two protection orders under the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act, according to the Ministry of Health. The Department for Public Prosecutions did not respond to a request for the number of prosecutions and convictions under the Senior Abuse Register Act since it came into effect in March 2008. The Senior Abuse Register is confidential and not available for public inspection or publication. Three people are listed on it. Bermuda has at least 20 residential facilities for the elderly, ranging in cost from $1,395 (Lefroy House) to $13,800 (Continuing Care Unit) a month, according to figures provided on December 30, 2014, by the Ministry of Health. The average monthly fee is about $5,000. The NOSPC conducted 25 elder care facility inspections in both 2012-13 and 2013-14, according to the Budget Book, with the aim to increase that to 35 in the fiscal year 2014-15. Health Minister Jeanne Atherden said in November 2014 that changes had been made to the "residential care facilities visiting process" so inspections now happen three times a year: two scheduled and one unscheduled. The Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes Regulations 2001 set out the requirements for homes and those convicted of breaching the regulations can be fined $10,000. The public can request the Chief Medical Officer make the register of residential homes available to view during normal business hours. According to the 2010 Census, Bermuda had a senior population (aged 65 and above) of 8,683. The authorities say that figure is rising rapidly.
Statistics Department. Publishes detailed periodic statistics about the disabled population of Bermuda. The last time a census result was published, see below, 2,932 persons, or 5 percent of the civilian non-institutional population, were estimated to be affected by a chronic health condition which impacted on their daily life. The census questionnaire did not ask whether persons are registered in Bermuda as disabled. Nor did it receive any confirmations of disability condition from the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital or Health Department or follow any of the criteria used by overseas census authorities such as the US Census Bureau, all based on Health Department or equivalent confirmations
Transport Control Department. 11 North Street, Hamilton HM 17, telephone (441) 292-1271, the equivalent to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). There is a "PC" license number for a minivan that can carry a wheelchair-bound passenger.
At Par-la-Ville. Telephone (441) 295-2487. Weekdays only - not lunch times. On Queen Street a few blocks from the various cruise ship docks. There is a single Handicapped Parking area outside. Also visit Par-la-Ville Park immediately behind, recently made much more accessible for the disabled.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The largest private property owner. Ask which museums, houses and services are accessible. None have a Handicapped Parking by Permit Only sign. There is a fee for each place unless visitors are current members of a reciprocal National Trust abroad and bring their current membership cards.
Bermuda Red Cross, Charleswood,
For the disabled who can ride horses with assistance. The facility's equestrian services are closed for July and August as it is too hot for horses and humans. An appropriate contribution will be expected if you give notice you wish to use the facilities. From here, a team represents Bermuda at the Paralympics. The Bermuda team became part of the Olympic movement at the invitation of the British Riding for Disabled Association in the United Kingdom.
City Hall, City Hall Theatre, Art Galleries and Bermuda National Gallery have nice facilities accessible via the curved disabled access outside, then via an elevator. City Hall also offers at least 9 Handicapped Parking by Permit Only places and has done more for the disabled in Bermuda than all other organizations combined. Other facilities in the city that are wheelchair accessible include pedestrian crossings flush with pavements or sidewalks; the two biggest banks, with ATM cash machines low enough; and St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church on Church and Court Streets. Access to all floors of the City Hall is possible by those in wheelchairs via an elevator.
Cruise ships can materially help improve Bermuda Disability concerns. See this extract of a July 24, 2013 email from a disabled resident of Pittsburgh PA: "It is disappointing you don't yet have and regrettably are not likely to get any Bermuda laws similar to those in the USA specifically for the disabled and handicapped. But there is something the cruise ship lines can do, especially Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), owner of the Breakaway. I understand Its corporations are Bermuda-registered, so it has a greater reason and far more international clout than we as disabled individuals do to press the Bermuda Government to pass meaningful laws to bring services for the disabled up to international par. I recommend that before family members who include a disabled traveler go ahead and pay a high cruise price for a Norwegian Breakaway cruise to Bermuda, they should contact NCL directly instead of dealing with a travel agent. They should tell NCL they know its home port, New York, and all other US ports are required to have full compliance with American disability laws. They should expect NCL to confirm that when it accepts passengers with disabilities on its cruises, it requires governments of all places where it sails including Bermuda to enact similar disabled-friendly laws, so that its disabled passengers get equal value for money instead of being disadvantaged in public transport and other ways."
Physically challenged or blind or hearing impaired or mobility-restricted passengers should check in advance or ask their caregivers do so, what facilities are available for them on the cruise ships of the cruise lines they favor or, when not available, on competing cruise ships. These can vary considerably. Matters of particular importance may include:
Those sailing from US ports to Bermuda are required by US laws have between 15 and 25 disabled cabins and staterooms, more roomy than for the non-disabled. But be aware of the fact that some cruise lines and their travel agents don't check to see that people really are disabled - wheelchair confined, blind, deaf or ambulatory with a stick - and are registered as such with their state or provincial government agencies, they allow persons who are not disabled to occupy staterooms intended solely for the disabled and their caregivers or carers. Disabled persons, if denied a cabin specifically for the disabled, under American laws have specific legal remedies if such cabins are instead given by cruise ship operators to persons not officially registered as disabled and don't have appropriate ID documentation to prove it.
Cruise ships arriving in Bermuda with blind other otherwise disabled passengers with their own guide dogs should see "Guide Dogs for the Blind or Disabled" below.
Accessible Cruising, see http://www.cruise118.com/cruise-holidays/disabled-passengers.html
Carnival Cruises with a disability. See http://www.carnival.com/legal/guests-special-requirements.aspx
Carnival Cruises Special Requirements Questionnaire, see http://www.carnival.com/cms/fun/images/Special_Requirements_Information_Form.pdf
Celebrity Cruises Accessible Staterooms, see http://www.celebritycruises.com/onboard/tabLanding.do?pagename=onboard_special_needs&tab=onboard_accessible_staterooms_tab
Cruising with a disability. See http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=9.
Cruise ships not classified as disability-friendly despite having some accessible facilities, see http://cruise-international.com/qa-emma-sanger-why-are-some-cruise-ships-not-classified-as-having-disabled-access-when-some-of-their-cabins-are-wheelchair-friendly/
Cunard Disabled Cabins, see http://www.disabledcruiseclub.com/about/disabled-cunard-cabins.html
Disabled Cruise Club (UK) - see http://www.disabledcruiseclub.co.uk/
Holland America Facilities and Services for Guests with Disabilities, see http://www.hollandamerica.com/assets/news/SpecialNeedsTravel_FactSheet.pdf.
NCL Accessibility Assistance, see http://www.ncl.com/about/accessible-cruising
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Disability Accessibility Policy. See http://www.ncl.com/nclweb/cruiser/cmsPages.html?pageId=Accessibility. Note how it states its compliance with ADA.
NCL Disability Cruises, see http://www.disabledholidaydirectory.co.uk/about/ncl-cruises.html
P&O Cruises Accessible Cabins, see http://www.cruise.co.uk/images/Cruise//cruise_gallery/1/PO_Accessible_Cabin_List_0.pdf.
P&O Cruises disability and reduced mobility policy. See http://www.pocruises.com/Legal-Mobility-at-Sea/. Compare this with what your cruise ship line offers.
Princess Cruises Accessibility for disabled passengers, see http://www.princess.com/news/backgrounders_and_fact_sheets/factsheet/Princess-Access-Makes-Cruise-Vacations-Accessible-For-Passengers-With-Disabilities.html#.Ugi08btwZD8.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises Accessibility. See http://www.specialneedsatsea.com/about-us/cruise-lines/regent-seven-seas-cruises/.
Royal Caribbean Disabled Acessibility Cruises, see http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/why-cruise/accessibility/.
Disabled Persons Parking Badge (DPPB)For residents, details on how to obtain a Disabled Person's Parking Badge (DPPB) should be requested from the National Office of Seniors and the Physically Challenged (NOSPC) of the Ministry of Health - phone 292-7802. They can supply details of the procedure.
One is issued by the Corporation of Hamilton. It has many such parking spaces.
Another version is issued by the Corporation of St. George. It has one Disabled Persons Parking Badge Permit parking space.
To be eligible, persons must have signed written verification from a doctor that the person has a severe physical disability that severely impairs mobility. If under 65 years old, they must also get - at a nominal cost of $1 - a Special Persons ID cards. Persons/caregivers should never park in a Handicapped Parking by Permit Only or Handicapped Parking area until they have actually received and affixed their Permits to their vehicles.
To be valid, Disabled Persons Badges must be renewed by 31 January each year, with the previous year's Badge surrendered to the Corporation of Hamilton. Overseas, it is a very serious offence to park illegally - without a Permit - in a Handicapped Parking by Permit Only and Handicapped Parking area. Doing so illegally carries penalties galore.
A DPPB of this type is unique to Bermuda. It must be emphasized that it is NOT valid in the UK or USA or Canada, (where different criteria apply to qualify to obtain one, including that a disability must be of a permanent type recognized by a relevant disability authority , the application must be supported by the applicant getting a Disability Living Allowance or USA or Canadian or European equivalent - and the application must be approved by a competent local authority). Local qualifiers going overseas should check with the Corporation of Hamilton.
There is no requirement for Bermuda to honor any disabled parking permits from any country, unlike in Canada, USA, UK and Europe where there are reciprocal agreements to honor those from certain named countries (which exclude Bermuda).
Specially-marked parking for the disabled is available at the areas shown, only for locals and visitors with a valid Disabled Person's Parking Badge/Permit (or overseas legally accepted equivalent which they should bring with them if portable). While many places have "Handicapped Parking" signs, so far only the City of Hamilton, Bermuda International Airport and Southampton Princess Hotel have "Handicapped Parking by Permit only" signs.
Only three places in Bermuda - one at the back of City Hall and two at the White & Sons Southside Supermarket - have spaces wide enough by ADA standards in the USA.
King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) and other Bermuda Government owned facilities such as the Bermuda International Airport and Bermuda Aquarium are not private parking areas but public ones coming under the Parking of Vehicles (Designated Areas) Act 1973.
How Bermuda compares with USA, Canada, UK, Europe, etc.
|Assistance dogs for deaf and blind||Always welcome in any Bermuda Stores or museums?||No|
|Cafes and restaurants||Do they have cutlery and crockery designed for customers who have difficulty gripping? And easily accessible tables? Menus in Braille and large print?||No|
|Car Parking in private car parks||Are 5% of car parking spaces in store and museum car parks dedicated to blue badge or handicapped parking permit holders?||No|
|Car Parking in public car parks||Are 5% of car parking spaces in public car parks dedicated to blue badge or handicapped parking permit holders?||No|
|Car or personal mobility vehicle||Parking inside store or museum?||No|
|Churches||Some have handicapped parking signs but these are often abused||Yes|
|Disability training of staff||Available in most stores and museums?||No|
|Entrances to stores and museums||Do most have entrances that are accessible, with wide automatic doors or wide revolving doors?||No|
|Induction loops||Introduced in any stores or museums?||No|
|Motorized carts||Do most supermarkets, grocery stores and museums have them?||No|
|Personal motorized mobility vehicles for handicapped/disabled||Can they be used on public property such as the roads? Not without a licence, given to locals only. For further details ask the National Office for Seniors and Physically Challenged (NOSPIC).||No|
|Public Transport (buses and ferries)||Are there signs, as there are in USA, Canada, Europe, UK, etc for reserved seating for didabled and/or elderly passengers?||No|
|Rest rooms (toilets)||Are there toilets for the disabled in most supermarkets, grocery and retail stores and museums?||No|
|Research and Information for older People and those with disabilities||Similar to the UK's Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (RICA) for disabled and elderly people?||No|
|Seating for walking disabled||Routinely available in stores and museums?||No|
|Sidewalk parking||Outside store for personal mobility vehicles?||No|
|Trolleys||Do supermarkets and grocery stores have shallow/high and low/deep trolleys for wheelchair users and a trolley with padding and straps for disabled children up to 7 years?||No|
|Wide aisle checkouts for wheelchairs||None||No|
|Wheelchairs||Do supermarkets and grocery stores have standard or extra-wide wheelchairs?||No|
Cruise visitors who are blind and have their own guide dog are advised to get their caregivers or family members who are not blind to apply as long as possible in advance, as all animals including guide dogs must be approved. The same applies to blind newcomers with their own guide dogs who are not working including those who may be dependents of those on Work Permits.
Bermuda does NOT have a quarantine period. You can personally import and export animals, usually from the USA but also from Canada and the UK, with sufficient notice (which can be as high as 6 months). A proviso is that they must be licensed and micro chipped and are free from any problems. For all personal importers of pets, there is a strict import and export procedure for their documentation and certification.
A formal application must be made in advance to the Ministry of Environmental Protection. See ApplicationForPermitToImportSmallAnimals.pdf.
No restaurant in Bermuda offers all the following - disabled entrance parking, disabled exterior, disabled interior and disabled toilet. Only one (Pink Cafe) has a toilet for the disabled. None of the restaurants have the disability standards of the USA, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
A major historic and cultural attraction in the Town of St. George. Disabled and mobility-impaired visitors in a wheelchair should enter the church from the back for much easier access as they will not be able to mount the steep wide staircase from the street.
See under Taxis in Getting Around in Bermuda. Same fares to apply to disabled and able. Before they arrive in Bermuda by air any severely disabled or walking but mobility-restricted visitors who have made and paid or reserved hotel or guest house or apartment reservations should ask that provider to contact one of the taxi services and make a taxi reservation stating their disability-related taxi needs. Similarly, those who arrive on a cruise ship should ask their cruise ship provider for the same service. Taxis are great for picking up people from and taking them back to airports and taking their passengers from place to place on fairly short trips. For the disabled who cannot use a moped or scooter or board the buses, they offer a good but expensive - way of sightseeing further afield. But for most visitors they are not the most economical way to see the island when compared to the much lower costs of public transportation.
57 Spice Hill Rd., Warwick West WK 03 or P.O. Box WK 654, Warwick West WK BX. A resource for the disabled. Telephone (441) 238-2469.
Booklet: Study Investigating Attitudes to Disabled/Special Needs People in Bermuda. Mark Taylor, 2001. It was part of his studies for a Diploma in Psychology via distance learning with Oxford University, before he left Bermuda for Australia. A copy was given to all who played a role in or who are responsible and accountable to the disabled in Bermuda. Visitors may be able to obtain a copy from the National Office for Seniors and the Physically Challenged (NOSPC), Stonehall, 60 Victoria Street, Hamilton, Bermuda.
|Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). No equivalent in Bermuda.|
|Equality and Human Rights Commission. UK. No equivalent in Bermuda.|
|Global Access News. Network for disabled travelers, with articles by disabled travelers, tips and resources.|
|Hartley's Undersea Walk Bermuda. A unique and wonderful Bermuda underwater experience. It operates from near the Dockyard. Please contact it directly in advance at email email@example.com, say if you are disabled and whether or not you have a caregiver accompanying you - and if they can help you, be sure to ask for their recommendation about how to get to the facility from the Dockyard by wheelchair.|
March 23, 2015.
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