Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > China
Reload this Page >

Shanghai in a Wheelchair, Questions?

Shanghai in a Wheelchair, Questions?

Old Mar 19, 11, 4:20 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: South Florida, USA
Programs: AA EXP (OW Emerarld)
Posts: 467
Shanghai in a Wheelchair, Questions?

I'm headed to Shanghai April 27 to May 5 of this year with a friend and would like some suggestions from the forum please. I am in a power wheelchair (over 100kgs/250lbs) and really cannot get out of the wheelchair easily, so my first concern when traveling anywhere will be accessible transportation. Where we end up staying really depends on how readily available transportation will be for me. I have done a great deal of searching the Internet on Google and a bit on this forum, but cannot really get a feel for the degree of accessibility of public transportation in Shanghai. I'm quickly learning that of all the places I've been in the world that Shanghai may be my toughest challenge yet!

So, first question: to what degree is public transportation truly accessible for a power wheelchair? Either buses or subways? Is anyone aware of any wheelchair accessible vans or taxis available in and around the city?

Next, where do I want to stay? (been looking at large US chains going for $200-$250 per night) Or to put it better, where should we stay? The Bund , the French Concession, Pudong, I suspect that I would like to stay in the Bund area, but I would like some suggestions that once again relate to the accessibility of public transportation or the ability to hire accessible Van transportation. My friend has business outside of the city (I know it's a huge city I'm not quite sure just how far outside) on a Monday and Tuesday and I would love to tag along if we are able to find transportation for my wheelchair. Otherwise, we're both going to be your run-of-the-mill tourists looking for touristy things to do, nightlife, shopping, eating, you name it. We were in Hong Kong two years ago, although I understand that it's really a breeze for wheelchair access compared to Shanghai! We travel an awful lot throughout the world and I'm used to a bit of a challenge.

How to get to our hotel from the airport? We will be arriving shortly before 10pm and I assume the easiest way to get into the city would be to use the maglev train which I understand is wheelchair accessible, correct? And then what do we do? Where is the maglev station in relation to any of the areas listed above for hotels? Research which subway stations have wheelchair access/elevators and plan our hotel from there? (I've now learned that the Maglev stops at 9pm, so that's not an option to get in from the airport) Is the subway line at PVG (Line 2?) wheelchair accessible?

Any other suggestions regarding what to do and what to see with the caveat that things need to be as wheelchair accessible as possible would be most appreciated. Additionally, any organizations or agencies in Shanghai that may provide transportation or tourism services for the disabled that would be difficult to contact and/or search for an English would be appreciated -- contact information that cannot be found by searching the Internet in English (not that I have anyone here who can call them up in Mandarin for me!), But at least it would be a start.

Thank you in advance!
rollthere is offline  
Old Mar 19, 11, 11:37 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
2020 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 30,967
My only experience to date with wheel chairs in Shanghai was at Expo last year with my friend's elderly parents. Since they could walk on their own, albeit with great difficulty, things went rather smoothly. I also learned that almost all subway stations have elevator access.

That having been said, it's not a wheel chair friendly city on the whole. For example, the only way for pedestrians to cross some of the larger roads is via stairs and footbridge.

If I were you, I'd seriously consider hiring a wheelchair accessible van for your trip. It shouldn't set you back more than $500. Finding one might require some research on your part, but they do exist.
moondog is online now  
Old Mar 20, 11, 4:23 am
  #3  
Ambassador, China
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beijing
Programs: TG, OZ, UA, AA
Posts: 6,624
Originally Posted by moondog View Post
My only experience to date with wheel chairs in Shanghai was at Expo last year with my friend's elderly parents. Since they could walk on their own, albeit with great difficulty, things went rather smoothly. I also learned that almost all subway stations have elevator access.

That having been said, it's not a wheel chair friendly city on the whole. For example, the only way for pedestrians to cross some of the larger roads is via stairs and footbridge.

If I were you, I'd seriously consider hiring a wheelchair accessible van for your trip. It shouldn't set you back more than $500. Finding one might require some research on your part, but they do exist.
Agree with moondog's advice for your situation--would be well worth the money. You may even want to have this arranged for airport pickup and drop off. Sorry, but I just don't see you being able to get around by standard public transport. Even amenities in public places such as elevators are often locked off and a staff member will have to be approached so you can get access. There may be some experiences that you will not be able to have, a pity, but in China, that's the way it goes. I think being in a power wheelchair and not able to easily get in/out of it, you are actually in a less flexible situation than someone who can use a manual wheelchair and can walk or stand for short distances--there's a few more options for those folks.

As to places to stay, you might want to make some specific queries to hotels on your preferred shortlist, on suitable rooms and on accessible pathways. You'd be surprised how many newish, upscale properties have physical layouts that put a couple of steps in the pathway, and forget the accessible ramp. For well-known places, some FT'ers may have direct firsthand knowledge, and/or are in Shanghai enough that they could take a look at the entry-lobby-elevator-path, at least. I prefer the French Concession area to the Bund Area, but that's just me.
jiejie is offline  
Old Mar 20, 11, 10:03 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: SEA
Programs: Hertz 5*, SPG Gold, Hilton Silver, Very Confused
Posts: 683
Agree, a wheelchair van should really be considered. Even sidewalks aren't very wide in many areas and some subway exits may have a dozen or more exits with only one or two with elevators, so door to door service will be highly desirable. Plus, a van will give you more freedom to find a hotel you can comfortably stay in; metro's can be a distance away in some areas. If you've been to Mumbai or Dheli, it's better than there, but not by much as far as accessability is concerned.

I don't think I've ever seen a wheelchair accessible bus or taxi in Shanghai.

For locations to stay, Bund and FC are both fine. Not much tourist stuff on Pudong side except for the Expo site (only china pavilion is open) and some of the tall buildings (jinmao tower, wfc, pearl tower).
medic-again is offline  
Old Mar 20, 11, 1:44 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: South Florida, USA
Programs: AA EXP (OW Emerarld)
Posts: 467
Originally Posted by moondog View Post
If I were you, I'd seriously consider hiring a wheelchair accessible van for your trip. It shouldn't set you back more than $500. Finding one might require some research on your part, but they do exist.
Thanks Moondog and jiejie. I guess my dilema is that I've been searching for such a service, but I can only search in English and come back with nothing. I've found services before in places such as Malaysia and Brazil, but I'm limited by Google's English abilities. Pretty sad statement! Any idea where to begin such a search? Hotel concierge I would guess?

Originally Posted by medic-again View Post
For locations to stay, Bund and FC are both fine. Not much tourist stuff on Pudong side except for the Expo site (only china pavilion is open) and some of the tall buildings (jinmao tower, wfc, pearl tower).
Thanks, that was my general impression but you never know. What's going on at the Expo area now that it's over? Small(er) scale conventions?
rollthere is offline  
Old Mar 20, 11, 4:31 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 31,992
Some old experience:

Wheelchair support is very iffy. Ramps are very much hit and miss--things like ramps full of potted plants, ramps leading to doors that are blocked etc. One ramp that was so steep that it would have been a bad idea for the average Chinese person to push someone in a wheelchair on it and it would have been difficult for two people to get on the ramp.

I could handle my mother-in-law's chair (simple, not powered) on it alone but I'm 6', 200# and I always wear running shoes--better traction than typical footgear. Even then it wasn't easy for me to keep control because it was so steep.

She could stand well enough to get into a taxi with assistance so taxis were usable, we never tried to deal with buses or the like.
Loren Pechtel is offline  
Old Mar 20, 11, 5:32 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: South Florida, USA
Programs: AA EXP (OW Emerarld)
Posts: 467
Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Some old experience:

Wheelchair support is very iffy.
Thanks. Yeah, I'm under no illusion that it's wheelchair paradise. I've taken some pretty big gambles traveling places with 'iffy' wheelchair support, but this will probably top the others in 'degree of difficulty' points. Hopefully I can find a van to hire while I'm there with a little help.
rollthere is offline  
Old Mar 20, 11, 8:42 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 503
Last October while traveling with my elderly mother, the hotel we stayed in had a loaner manual wheelchair for use during our stay. This was in Beijing, and the Park Plaza Wangfujing & the Regent each had w/cs, but best to inquire ahead with their staff re availability. -- If we were to re-visit SH, I would be asking the hotels about w/c loaners.
8dimsum is offline  
Old Mar 20, 11, 9:27 pm
  #9  
Ambassador: China
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Malibu Inferno Ground Zero
Programs: UA AA CO
Posts: 4,570
Originally Posted by medic-again View Post

I don't think I've ever seen a wheelchair accessible bus or taxi in Shanghai.
Not too easy to spot.

20 million people and :
where more than 60,000 residents use wheelchairs, there are only five taxis with wheelchair .

http://english.eastday.com/e/110219/u1a5732572.html
anacapamalibu is offline  
Old Mar 21, 11, 4:25 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Detroit/Shanghai
Programs: Skyteam
Posts: 160
Big Daddy and I live in the French Concession and often discuss this. He has had knee surgery and I had ankle surgery. We are fine but once in a while an elevator would be helpful. We have noted all over China how there appears to be no "handicap" ramps, sidewalks cutouts, handrails, and many times there are obstacles. And all the uneven and not leveled granite and marble can be quite slippery. Even in the better hotels I have not seen assist rails or handles in the bathrooms. Although our hotel/apartment did put up slippery when wet signs.

And the "for weak only" bathrooms stalls are not assist equipped nor wide enough for a wheelchair in the ones I have seen, even at Pudong airport.

Even our doctor at the Ritz Carleton 'Portamon' Center is one level up and you must use stairs???

That said, Xintiandi is a wonderful area that would be not bad for a wheelchair if you are stressed at some of the other areas. There is a blog on FB, I think it is Sara's China Travel or just try China Travel with some good hints and I think she may take questions for contacts. I think she has been here 7 years and lives in Shanghai.

One thing I can say, for the most part in the service industry the Chinese are pretty responsive to helping people and very kind. If I get any good information I will follow up with you and I hope you have a great time.
Nola Rice is offline  
Old Mar 21, 11, 4:34 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
2020 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 30,967
Originally Posted by PeoDeMIA View Post
Hotel concierge I would guess?
You might want to try the concierge at the Portman (they have helped me out with some really oddball requests in the past): +86 21 6279 8888.
moondog is online now  
Old Mar 21, 11, 10:42 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist & Ambassador: China
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: DL DM/MM, UA 1K, AA Exp, HH Dia, WOH Glob, IHG Plat, Marriott Gold, NA EE, Hertz PC
Posts: 17,213
+1 to all the replies so far. Wheelchair will be somewhat a hassle in Shanghai. Don't expect cabbies to help you, I don't think I've ever seen a bus have a wheelchair loader, and elevators though are plentiful, aren't always convenient (no one will wait for you to go in first - hence in hospitals people pushing wheelchairs push them over people's feet).

I second all the of the suggestions for finding someone for your whole time here. Pick a good hotel, and call them. Find out what hotel is worth the money to stay there via service to help you.
mnredfox is offline  
Old Mar 21, 11, 12:17 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 31,992
Originally Posted by Nola Rice View Post
Big Daddy and I live in the French Concession and often discuss this. He has had knee surgery and I had ankle surgery. We are fine but once in a while an elevator would be helpful. We have noted all over China how there appears to be no "handicap" ramps, sidewalks cutouts, handrails, and many times there are obstacles. And all the uneven and not leveled granite and marble can be quite slippery. Even in the better hotels I have not seen assist rails or handles in the bathrooms. Although our hotel/apartment did put up slippery when wet signs.
They seem to be doing a decent job of building them in modern construction but there's no retrofitting. Wheelchairs are also rare enough that even when they exist they're sometimes blocked.
Loren Pechtel is offline  
Old Mar 22, 11, 7:19 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Charlotte
Programs: Delta ,
Posts: 131
China does a terrible job for people who are handicap.
Train stations have tons of steps no elevators.
Lot restaurants dining an the second floor.
Stick with big name hotel- ramps are virtual non existent.
Renting a van and driver is your best bet ( one that wheelchair assessable).
Blue Tiger is offline  
Old Mar 22, 11, 10:08 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: SEA
Programs: Hertz 5*, SPG Gold, Hilton Silver, Very Confused
Posts: 683
Originally Posted by PeoDeMIA View Post
Thanks, that was my general impression but you never know. What's going on at the Expo area now that it's over? Small(er) scale conventions?
A lot of the pavilions have been torn down and most of the Expo site is blocked off now and unlit which make even taking nice pictures impossible. China Pavilion is open through May I think. Not worth the 2 hour line IMO though 40,000 chinese daily will tell you different. This site is handicap accessible from what I remember and there is special front of line access.

They are going to be opening 6 more pavilions this summer including Saudi Arabia and France. A few are being converted to resturants. The rest of the land will develop into housing and shopping.
medic-again is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: