How access cards can be used to enable fast-track entry
Posted on 24.05.2016
Sara, who has recently joined us on work experience, shines a light on how both UK and Norwegian access card schemes can be used to enable customers to gain priority entry to venues and festivals if this is an access requirement.
Priority entry for people with disabilities has been talked about for years. Theme parks have been leading the way and parks such as Disneyland and LEGOLAND have been offering priority entry, popularly called ‘queue jumping’, for decades. This so that people with disabilities who visit the park but are unable to stand in line for a longer period of time or who perhaps struggle to understand the concept of queuing altogether, for example because of a learning difficulty, can access the rides they wish to take, and take part in the experience together with family and friends without having the barrier of queuing stand in the way of this.
This is an important concept for the live music industry to get behind. Some people with physical impairments find it hard, if not impossible, to stand in the long queues outside music venues and concert goers can be discouraged from attending the event knowing there will be up to half an hour or more of queuing outside the venue before the gig starts. People with learning disabilities and autism can also find queueing a significant barrier, to the extent that for some people, having to do so results in simply discounting certain activities altogether. Both of these scenarios are avoidable.
Some UK venues already offer priority entry for disabled patrons, one of these is KOKO in London who advertise this service on their website, as well as the O2 – both members of our Charter of Best Practice. Yet the majority of UK venues don’t offer this service, and it could be an important step to making live music more accessible for deaf and disabled people.
Here in the UK, the Access Card from CredAbility has a special symbol for queuing, letting venues know if you are unable to stand in line for a longer period of time or struggle to understand the concept of queuing. But just because the Access Card tells venues you should be allowed to get priority entry, does that actually give you priority entry?
Another country which operates with a very similar card system is Norway. In Norway you have something called a ‘Ledsagerbevis’, which means proof of the need of a PA. It works like the access card in many ways, automatically allowing you a PA to all events and venues that allow PA’s, and also on many occasions giving you priority access without having to show any further proof. This cuts down on a lot of time for both the people attending the event, and for the people working for the event who now only have to recognise and look at one specific card versus having to go through many pages of documentation and proof. This card is well known throughout all of Norway, and is now recognised by people working at music venues across the country.
If venues are unaware of the meaning behind the queuing symbol on the Access Card, the struggles you might face having to explain what it means, show evidence for why you need it and find a person who can make an executive decision on the matter might be worse than the queueing itself. The key is here in the UK is to make it so universally known amongst everyone working at venues with queuing and entry, be that security hired to check tickets or the venues own staff, that when someone shows up with an access card with the queuing symbol, they are automatically let through and given priority entry.
We recommend that all venues and festivals ensure that staff are familiar with the access card scheme, and indeed look into adopting it as a form of accepted evidence for bookable access facilities, and priority entry!
Find out more here: http://www.accesscard.org.uk/