Wheelchair users fed up with paying four times more for event tickets

Wheelchair users fed up with paying four times more for event tickets

Wheelchair users say they are being charged up to four times as much for events, and having to pay extra for a carers ticket at some venues.

Many in the community feel they are being discriminated against and exploited.

Football lover Jack Tauwhare says he felt deceived by the cost advertised for the recent All Whites match in Auckland.

"They promoted it as $20 a ticket for the minimum and then they tell me $80 is the cheapest ticket available for wheelchair users, which is four times the price of if you're not in a wheelchair.

"Every time I go to a concert or go to a sports event, every time. We've just had to bite the bullet and just pay it," Tauwhare said.

"The only reason is because we're in a wheelchair - disgusting. This is the bullshit that's going on."

Tauwhare said he was frustrated that advertised ticket prices never applied to the disabled.

"We can't get access to those $20 tickets. We've got to go into the wheelchair area and pay $80 which is wrong, I believe."

Sally Barkman has also encountered issues watching her beloved Breakers.

"I'm not even mid court, I'm behind the baseline for sixty-something dollars."

It was a similar story for Barkman at the All Whites.

"It was restricted viewing. So I paid a lot of money and I couldn't even see the goal or the bottom third of the pitch.

"We don't have a choice other than to pay it. Whereas if I wasn't in the wheelchair, I would just buy the cheapest ticket and just sit wherever."

Barkman said she was also limited on who she can sit with.

"My son was young when I had my accident so we've missed out on a lot of things as a family because we can't be seated together."

Another aspect users must factor in was carers.

"Their tickets are also the same price as ours," Tauwhare said.

"Every time I've gone I've always had to take a carer with me and I've always had to pay for a carer."

Toni Leefe said it was completely unfair.

"If they are enforcing that you must have a companion then that companion seat should be cheaper."

To book tickets, some wheelchair users were also being forced to wait for hours on hold.

"A lot of the wheelchair users are just getting sick of it and not even bothering picking up the phone," Tauwhare said.

Barkman said the time she spent on the dedicated wheelchair line was between one to two hours.

Tauwhare said it was affecting their psychological wellbeing.

"It stops them from going out because a lot of them are not on big wages."

Disability Support Network chief executive Peter Reynolds said things need to change.

"The charges that are being made by the ticket organisers for some of these events do need to be seriously looked at.

"They shouldn't be charging any more for a seat than anybody else who might be attending the event and it sounds completely unreasonable for it to be three or four times what a normal ticket price might be."

The disabled community has every right to protest the prices, he said.

"It certainly borders on discrimination, doesn't it? It sounds to me like it is discriminating against a person with a disability and there is no rhyme or reason that I can think of why somebody should be charged four times a normal ticket price to attend simply because they have to use a wheelchair."

Leefe said ticket companies are just adding more barriers.

"It's always harder than it is for your average Joe. I've been in my chair for 29 years and that's just life when you're in a chair.

"It's certainly not a case of buying a second-hand ticket off Viagogo and off you go."

Tauwhare said it was plain discrimination.

"We shouldn't be put into these positions where we have to pay double the price as a normal able bodied person just to be able to get into see the same same sporting event or the same concert or same entertainment as everyone else."

Barkman said she should be able to enjoy sports and gigs with her friends.

"If there are 10 of us going why can't I be out the front in general admission with them?"

Ticketek has been approached for comment.