How Dubai Is More Accessible for People with Disabilities
“Are you a disabled person who is thinking of visiting Dubai? We asked local expert Eng. Ray Gilani, the CEO of Gilani Mobility in Dubai to help us with some tips and resources.”
In recent years, Dubai emerged as an example of progress and innovation, not only in terms of architectural wonders but also in its numerous initiatives for inclusivity and equal opportunities for all. The city, known for its opulence and several Guinness world records, has taken significant strides to ensure that its establishments and tourist attractions are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.
Recognizing the importance of being able to accommodate the diverse needs of its residents and thousands of yearly visitors, Dubai implemented various accessibility measures to ensure its urban landscape can be enjoyed by all individuals of all abilities.
Overview of accessibility measures in Dubai
Dubai’s commitment to being inclusive is reflected in its efforts to enhance accessibility. Recognizing the diverse needs of its population, the Emirate made sure that its infrastructure, public spaces, and services are accessible to everyone.
Accessibility in Public Spaces
To make public spaces in Dubai more accessible, there’s been an initiative for the widespread installation of ramps and elevators, providing accessible ways to malls, government buildings, and public transportation hubs. In addition, there are designated accessible parking spaces for convenient and safe parking, as well as a permit scheme for people with disabilities.
Dubai also has tactile paving and braille signage for the visually impaired which allows them to move independently through public spaces. The Emirate also made sure its recreational areas such as parks, shopping malls and other places frequently visited by tourists will have the amenities to cater to people with disabilities. Along with the infrastructure modifications, these public spaces also have mobility experts that have wheelchair rental and other mobility products for rent.
Accessible transportation system
Public buses and metro stations in Dubai are equipped with wheelchair ramps and lifts for easy boarding and disembarking of passengers with mobility challenges. There are also designated spaces for wheelchair users in the metro train and buses. This integration made it easier for People of Determination to use public vehicles independently.
An aside – “What does People of Determination” mean?
– In Dubai, disabled people are respectfully referred to as “People of Determination,” a term that might initially seem unusual to audiences familiar with the social model of disability prevalent in the UK. This terminology reflects a cultural perspective that emphasises empowerment and recognition of the capabilities and contributions of disabled people.
While the phraseology may differ from what we’re accustomed to, it’s a poignant reminder of the importance of embracing cultural differences, especially when travelling. Understanding and respecting the local language and attitudes towards disability can enrich our experiences abroad, allowing us to appreciate the diversity of perspectives on disability around the world.
Wheelchair taxis are also available. These accessible taxis are also equipped with ramps and other safety features for safe and secure travel for those with mobility impairments.
All of these are part of Dubai’s efforts to create and maintaining a comprehensive and accessible transportation network for its residents and guests.
Aside from the transportation sector, Dubai’s hospitality sector also made some positive changes for inclusivity. Hotels and accommodations have made substantial efforts to ensure the availability of accessible rooms. These rooms are designed with wider doorways, allowing easy access for people using mobility scooters and other mobility aids.
Access to facilities are also inclusive with ramps, while others have opted for a “no step” pathway to the front lobby, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools. The bathrooms are also equipped with grab bars and roll-in showers. These modifications ensure that people with mobility challenges can practice hygiene safely and independently.
Dubai Universal Design Code
Accessibility in Dubai is a serious matter, as evident in its public spaces and the transportation and hospitality industry. The transformation in Dubai’s urban landscape can be attributed to the Dubai Universal Design Code which served as a guide in enforcing the Emirate’s aim for a more inclusive and accessible city.
Universal design principles are incorporated into the planning and construction of public spaces, pedestrian pathways, parks, transportation terminals and recreational areas to enhance accessibility for people with different abilities.
This proactive approach not only emphasizes Dubai’s dedication to creating an inclusive society but also sets a global standard for other cities.
Mobility solutions providers
Aside from all these initiatives by the government of Dubai, mobility solutions providers like Gilani Mobility, also play an important role in making sure Dubai is accessible. These mobility experts offer their products, services and expertise to accommodate the diverse needs of People of Determination.
The services they provide are not only for Dubai residents. Most of these mobility solutions specialists have rental mobility aids for tourists and visitors. They also partner with major players in Dubai’s transportation and hospitality sectors to provide vehicle and bathroom modifications and other assistive aids.
Apply for a Sanad Card – The UAE Disability Access and Discount Card for Disabled People
Like the UK Access Card or Disabled Rail Card, there is a card for disabled people to use in UAE. The Sanad Card offers numerous benefits to people with disabilities visiting Dubai from the UK and USA, including priority service and access to various facilities, discounts, and special privileges across transportation, tourism, and entertainment sectors.
It aims to enhance the travel experience for disabled visitors, ensuring they can enjoy Dubai’s attractions with greater ease and comfort. For comprehensive details on the benefits and how to apply, please refer to Gilani Mobility’s page on the Sanad Card.
Visiting Dubai with A Disability
Dubai’s commitment to improving accessibility for disabled people is apparent across the city. From public spaces and transportation networks to hotels and accommodations, the city has introduced a range of accessible amenities and features. These initiatives highlight Dubai’s dedication to being an advocate for accessibility, positioning it as a leader in catering to the diverse needs of disabled people.
FAQs about Accessibility in Dubai
Here are some frequently asked questions about accessibility in Dubai for people with disabilities, covering measures taken for improvement, public transportation options, the role of mobility solutions providers, the Dubai Universal Design Code, and the adaptability of hotels and accommodations to be more inclusive.
What measures has Dubai taken to improve accessibility for people with disabilities?
Dubai has implemented various accessibility measures including:
- Installation of ramps and elevators in public spaces
- Designated accessible parking spaces
- Tactile paving and braille signage
- Wheelchair ramps and lifts in public buses and metro stations
- Availability of wheelchair taxis
- Accessible rooms in hotels with wider doorways and accessible bathrooms.
How does Dubai’s public transportation cater to individuals with mobility challenges?
Dubai’s public transportation system includes:
- Wheelchair ramps and lifts in buses and metro stations
- Designated spaces for wheelchair users in metro trains and buses
- Wheelchair taxis are equipped with ramps and safety features.
What role do mobility solutions providers play in Dubai’s accessibility?
Mobility solutions providers enhance accessibility by:
- Offering rental mobility aids for tourists
- Partnering with the transportation and hospitality sectors
- Providing vehicle and bathroom modifications and assistive aids.
What is the Dubai Universal Design Code and how does it contribute to the city’s accessibility?
The Dubai Universal Design Code guides the planning and construction of public spaces with universal design principles, enhancing accessibility and setting global standards.
How have Dubai’s hotels and accommodations adapted to be more inclusive for people with disabilities?
Dubai’s hospitality sector ensures inclusivity by providing:
- Accessible rooms with wider doorways
- Ramps or ‘no step’ pathways
- Bathrooms equipped with grab bars and roll-in showers.
Are Dubai’s beaches accessible to people with disabilities?
Yes, Dubai has made significant improvements to make its beaches more accessible for people with disabilities. These improvements include installing wheelchair ramps, floating wheelchairs, and sand-to-sea wheelchair tracks at public beaches. Additionally, some beaches offer night swimming with accessibility features, and specialized staff and services are available to assist people with disabilities.
Q: What support does the UAE provide for people with disabilities?
A: The UAE offers comprehensive support for people with disabilities through various initiatives, including dedicated organizations like the Dubai Club for People of Determination, support services from government agencies like the Dubai Municipality, and anti-discrimination laws and policies to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
Q: What laws protect the rights of people with disabilities in the UAE?
A: The UAE’s Federal Law No. 29 of 2006 concerning the Rights of People of Determination outlines protections against discrimination in employment, education, health, and transportation. It also requires public places and services to be accessible, guarantees inclusive education and vocational rehabilitation. It establishes a higher committee for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.
Q: Which beaches in Dubai are wheelchair accessible?
A: Wheelchair-accessible beaches in Dubai include Corniche Public Beach, Corniche Family Beach, Corniche Sahil Beach, Al Bateen Public Beach, Al Bateen Ladies’ Beach, Mamzar Beach, Sunset Beach, and Jumeirah Public Beach, among others. These beaches are equipped with accessibility features to accommodate people with mobility challenges.