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People with disabilities
Increasingly more tourist attractions in Latvia are becoming accessible to all visitors. This concerns not just ways to get there, but also what they have to offer to visitors.
The positive developments notwithstanding, there is still much to do – hence a compilation of travel restrictions in Latvia we know of. Hopefully, the number of such restrictions will continue to decrease steadily.
Car parks for people with disabilities
No less than two spots at a car park are meant for the parking of cars by people with disabilities. These parking spaces are as close as possible to the entrance of the building at which the car park is located.
These special parking spots are marked with the image of a wheelchair on the ground. There is a designated area at the parking space, marked with a different colour, where the driver steps out of the car.
Riga public transport
Most of the trams, trolley-buses and buses in Riga have low floors or are equipped with special ramps for passengers with disabilities. The vehicles are designed so that a person in a wheelchair could ride them. In addition, there are seats designated for persons with disabilities.
Please note that public transport in Riga is only just moving towards making all vehicles accessible to all passengers. For instance, a portion of trams in Riga are not technically adapted for persons in wheelchairs. In the meantime, low-floor trams on lines No. 6 and 11 have been praised by residents and guests of the city alike, as they offer much more comfortable rides to all passengers.
Riga minibuses with disabled wheelchair access
The first VW Crafter minibuses with disabled wheelchair access have been running on the most popular routes in Riga since February 2015. The minibuses have convenient ramps for persons in wheelchairs, and a specially-designated space for a person in a wheelchair.
The minibuses ply on the following routes:
- Central Railway Station – Airport (route No. 222)
- Centre – Jugla (route No. 204)
- Centre – Bolderāja (route No. 246)
- Mežciems – Šampēteris (route No. 263)
- Imanta – Pļavnieki (route No. 270)
- Pauls Stradiņš Hospital – Linezers Hospital (route No. 271)
- Coach Terminal – Purvciems (route No. 280)
For the exact departure times, please telephone: +371 66907787
The Red Cab taxis with disabled access are available in Riga every day. In turn, Baltic Taxi offers taxi services to passengers with disabilities who are able to transfer from a wheelchair to the cab seat and use collapsible wheelchairs.
Intercity bus traffic
The Riga International Coach Terminal offers free assistance to people with disabilities in the territory of the terminal. Applying to the service needs to be done at least 36 hours prior by calling: + 371 67226658 or writing to: [email protected].
The assistants help persons with disabilities move around the terminal, receive or hand in their luggage, as well as step on or off a bus, provided that the vehicle has disabled access.
The intercity buses operating on a daily basis are not equipped with mobile ramps so people with disabilities could board the bus. However, the opportunity is offered by Ecolines – the traveller has to inform the carrier about his or her destination at least 72 hours before the trip by writing to: [email protected]. Wait for a reply, and a bus with a wheelchair access ramp will await you at the selected departure time.
We recommend the environment-friendliest transport – railway! Nine railway stations in Latvia have been equipped with mobile ramps to help people in wheelchairs access railway platforms, as well as get on or off a train.
The service is provided by Riga, Krustpils, Rēzekne, Daugavpils, Jelgava, Saulkrasti, Sigulda, Dubulti and Vaivari stations. The service is free of charge.
A trip has to be registered at least 48 hours prior to departure by calling the toll-free line: +371 80001181 or writing to: [email protected], indicating your contact information, the station from which the passenger will depart, whether he or she will or will not have an accompanying person, and whether the passenger is a wheelchair user.
Please plan your trip to fall on a workday within 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Remember that you have to arrive at a given station no less than 30 min before train departure time.
Latvijas dzelzceļš offers affordable ticket prices as well as exotic rides on board the “grandfather” of European high-speed trains.
Technical and medical assistance during a trip
There is a special area at the Riga International Coach Terminal where a person with disabilities can call for assistance, and where information is available in Braille. Likewise, there is a lift for persons who use a wheelchair, and parking spaces for people with disabilities.
On the other hand, Latvijas dzelzceļš staff offers assistance to people with disabilities who wish to buy tickets, move about the buildings of the railway station, access the railway platform and move around it, they help lift persons in wheelchairs into and out of train carriages. Assistance is provided to visually-impaired and hearing-impaired persons.
The Sixt car rental company offers people with disabilities to rent cars with hand control for travel in Latvia and the other two Baltic countries. Cars are equipped with hand control for no extra charge. To book the service, call: +371 67207121 or write to: [email protected].
The Apeirons organisation for people with disabilities and their friends offers visitors to rent a fifth wheel, or a bicycle, which greatly increases mobility of persons with disabilities. Find out more about the opportunity by calling: +371 67299208 or writing to: [email protected].
Medical assistance while travelling in Latvia can be sought from the emergency aid and care service of the Samaritan Association of Latvia by calling the 24-hour line: +371 67815299. The service offers medical assistance, guide services, and specialised transport. Find out more by writing to: [email protected].
The majority of Latvian museums and art galleries offer discounts for people with disabilities and their assistants or accompanying persons.
Mapeirons – aid for people with disabilities travelling in Latvia
The mobile app Mapeirons and Internet website http://mapeirons.lv/ offer information – in English – about more than 1,500 places and objects in Latvia that are freely accessible to anyone.
The application was developed by Apeirons, Latvia's leading organisation on disability issues, which has inspected every object included in the database. The database is regularly updated in co-operation with local governments.
Are you looking for a place to have a dinner, go shopping, or stay for a night? This information, too, is provided by Mapeirons. We recommend you plan your travel ahead by finding out and choosing attractions that will only leave good memories!
A few recommendations for choosing perfect destinations:
- Enjoy the spirit of the Medieval Times at Castle Of Livonian Order in Sigulda;
- Visit the world-famous Latvia-born expressionist Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils;
- Go to the most prominent baroque and rococo architectural and art monument of Latvia – Rundāle Palace;
- See the admirable Art Museum Riga Bourse - impressive exhibitions on six floors of the edifice;
- Have some rest at the “Dvēseles veldzes dārzs” park in a forest near the sea.
At tourism information centres, you can get the Latvian map Travel without Barriers that lists 100 tourist attractions accessible to people with disabilities across Latvia, created by the Latvian umbrella body for disability organisations SUSTENTO.