Entertainment industry giant Ticketmaster has announced a new service to allow disabled music fans to book accessible tickets online more easily.
The media and charities have welcomed the move, which will initially apply to shows at arena venues in Glasgow and Cardiff before being rolled out more widely.
Ticketmaster’s scheme allows fans to submit details of their disability online. Once validated, the information is added to their profile, enabling them to book tickets for all future gigs without extra effort.
The BBC reports that in participating venues, accessible seats will be clearly labelled on the seat map like any other ticket – whether that’s in the range of a hearing loop, or in a wheelchair-friendly zone, with a free companion ticket.
Andrew Parsons, Managing Director of Ticketmaster, said: “At Ticketmaster we believe equal access to live entertainment is paramount. We knew we had to do more for disabled fans and our team has worked hard on this ground-breaking technology that endeavours to make ticket buying simple for all.
“Every fan should have the same access to the events they love, it’s an ongoing process and one we continue to prioritise”.
He added that arenas in Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle would be enrolled in the scheme by the end of the year, with more venues in more countries to follow in 2020.
Kristina Barrick, of the disability equality charity Scope told the BBC: “This is fantastic news for disabled music fans, and we hope other businesses will follow Ticketmaster’s lead. Buying tickets online is not just about convenience. For disabled people whose impairments mean they can’t use a phone, this will be game-changing.”
A report published in 2018 by the accessibility charity Attitude Is Everything found that more than 80 per cent of disabled gig-goers had been put off going to shows because it was hard to access the tickets they needed or to provide information about their accessibility requirements through online booking platforms. Many had had to pay extra to be able to buy a ticket online or been given no option to purchase online at all.
Suzanne Bull, CEO of Attitude Is Everything, said: “I’m delighted that Ticketmaster’s accessible ticket sales will go online. This is real progress for millions of disabled fans who are entitled to a variety of ways in which they can book their tickets.”
BBC reporter Alex Taylor, a wheelchair user who regularly attends concerts, wrote: “Ultimately, this is a first-step, a warm-up to a headline act of ticketing equality that I, as a wheelchair user, have longed for my whole life. The whole point of music, and art as a whole, is that it is accessible to all – and most powerful live. Ticketing shouldn’t be a barrier, but a route in. I’ll meet you at the front.”