Vancouver Airport home of Universal Access since 1992
- Written by George Sensalis
Back in 1992 Vancouver Airport Authority committed to providing Universal Access in every new building project at Vancouver International Airport.
Twenty two years on, providing accessible Terminal facilities for everyone remains a top priority in every expansion of Canada’s second busiest International Airport by passenger traffic.
Meeting the needs of people with disabilities begins when getting to and from Vancouver International Airport. Canada Line rapid transit, city bus service, parking shuttles and taxis serving YVR are accessible to people using power or manual wheelchairs and other walking aids.
On both Departures and Arrivals levels, 15 minute curbside parking for loading or unloading luggage is available at designated locations for vehicles displaying a disability parking permit. For visits longer than 15 minutes, designated parking for people with disabilities is available in every airport car park. For greater convenience, stalls can be found at entrance/exit points, walkways and elevators.
Accessible taxi service is integrated into the fleet of taxis serving YVR. Passengers with special needs should ask an accessible taxi from the host, or nearby courtesy phone, located on the curb outside Arrivals in both the Domestic and International Terminals. Taxi drivers help with loading and offloading luggage. Certified service and guide dogs are welcome on taxis operating at YVR.
Upon entering the Terminal building, 24-hour Customer Care staff and Green Coat volunteers are available to help. Representatives, wearing distinctive blue or green jackets, can be found at each of the nine Customer Care counters and eleven volunteer stations throughout the terminal.
Passengers needing help to move through the Terminal, at the boarding gate, and boarding or deplaning should tell the airline at least 48 hours before the flight. Vancouver International airport Customer Care counters offer short-term use of self-propelled wheelchairs in the public areas of the airport.
Toilets are accessible to people using mobility devices and include features for people with vision or hearing impairments. Except for family rooms, toilets feature screen walls in place of doors, automated faucet, soap, and paper towel dispensers, accessible sinks, accessible toilet stalls, an emergency call button.
Washrooms are equipped with accessible baby change facilities. Adult changing tables are available after security at International and US Departures.
People with sensory impairments can rely on many inclusive solutions. Accessible public telephones including TTY (TDD) equipped units are located in each bank of public telephone at YVR. To help people with hearing loss the airport has installed many individual speakers around the Terminal, but set to lower volumes, resulting in clearer sound for those using hearing aids. Check-in counters are equipped with amplified handsets, and fire alarms rely on both sound and strobe lights as alerts.
To aid the visually impaired, Vancouver airport maps and flight information displays use clear fonts in high-contrast tones for improved readability. Airport flooring incorporates a variety of textures to aid with way-finding. Tiles or terrazzo remind an exit is nearby, carpets show gates are near, and laminate flooring indicate a retail area.
The Vancouver Airport Authority left nothing to chance. Passengers travelling with service or guide dogs will find a relief area for their four-legged companions outside at the International Arrivals level at the entrance to Chester Johnson Park. Certified service dogs and guide dogs are welcome throughout YVR's Terminal facilities.
Do you need help when travelling? Have you travelled through Vancouver International Airport? Send us your comments here