Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act rules for theater ticketing

(Last updated on: September 1, 2014)

You probably know that changes to the ADA Act require all performing arts venues to to comply with several revisions to the law. The revised regulations include a new section devoted exclusively to the regulation of ticketing for wheelchair accessible spaces and companion seating. So, your online ticketing software must comply, as well.

ADA ticketing regulations
What affects Webtix the most is that you must sell wheelchair accessible and companion seats the same way as other seats. For example, if you sell tickets online, patrons must be able to buy those seats online and not have to call the box office to purchase them. You also need to clearly identify those seats on a seating plan (for reserved seats) and provide one companion seat for each wheelchair accessible seat. Also, ticket buyers will need to verify they are eligible to purchase those tickets.
The highlights of the revised ticketing regulations include, but are not limited to, the following requirements:
1. Tickets for accessible seating must be available for purchase during the same times and in the same ways as the purchase of other tickets;
2. Accessible seating must be identified to the same level of specificity as other seats on maps, seating charts, and brochures, and, if asked, the location of all available accessible seating must be identified;
3. Tickets for accessible seating must be available at all price levels;
4. A wheelchair user may purchase up to three companion seats that are contiguous and in the same row so long as such seats are available and all patrons may purchase that number of seats;
5. Accessible seating may only be released when all other tickets are sold out or all other tickets in a specific price range or area are sold out;
6. Individuals with disabilities must be able to transfer their tickets to others under the same terms and conditions as other ticket holders;
7. Venues must honor tickets in non-accessible locations held by a wheelchair user purchased on the secondary market (i.e. tickets that are re-sold by the original purchaser) so long as comparable seats
are available at the time the ticket is presented; and
8. Venues may not ask for proof of disability or ask what the individual’s specific disability is, but may ask if the individual is purchasing tickets for someone with a mobility disability. The venue may investigate if it has reason to believe fraud has been committed.

Important links
Here are some very helpful links to learn more. In particular, the Tip Sheet from the National Endowment of the Arts has a very good synopsis that includes much more than the ticketing issues.
National Endowment of the Arts Laws and Compliance Standards
ADA Revised Rules for Ticketing
ADA Revised Effective and Compliance Dates
2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design
The revised regulations in their entirety:

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