I am trying to plan a trip to Bogota, Colombia for my 30 year old son who uses a power wheelchair. Can you tell me how accessible the city is, and if they have accessible public transportation and taxis?
Unfortunately I don’t have very good news about wheelchair access in Bogota. Although they do have laws in Columbia that prevent discrimination against disabled people, there are no regulations that mandate access to public buildings. That said, a few international hotels — like the Hilton — do have accessible rooms.
Getting around is difficult, as most sidewalks — where there are sidewalks — lack curb-cuts, and many are in disrepair. Additionally, vehicles do not yield or stop for pedestrians. Most buildings have steps at the entrance, and many lack elevators. And although the airport does have jet bridges, sometimes passengers are deplaned on the tarmac and then bussed to the terminal. When that happens, it usually takes a while for airport personnel to locate a usable lift.
As for public transportation, taxis cannot refuse to take disabled passengers; however there are no adapted taxis in Bogota. The TransMilenio buses are the most accessible option, as some feature level boarding, priority seating for disabled passengers and wheelchair spaces. Most of the SITP buses are not wheelchair-accessible.
Although I don’t like to say that anything is impossible, it would be very rough going for someone in a power wheelchair in Bogota.