If you have been following our blogs, you may remember that handicapped parking spaces in Costa Rica often have a removable barrier so I wasn’t sure how folks actually used them if no one was around who could remove the barrier.
I’m happy to report that Panama doesn’t have those barriers. I haven’t seen them but I read that people with disabilities can get a handicapped parking permit. They had to submit 2 pictures along with other information; it is a card be something that they put on their dash when they park. It is vehicle specific.
That said, the website I went to said:
Travel and Parking
Getting around Panama can be challenging for people with disabilities. Compliance with access requirements can be very inconsistent. Businesses are increasingly installing ramps; however these can be steep. Many roads do not have pavements. Where there are sidewalks, they are often in disrepair, with many potholes or overgrown tree roots.
Panama’s public transport can also be difficult to access for people with disabilities. Buses in Panama City are currently inaccessible for wheelchairs. At the time of writing, projects to enable people who use wheelchairs to board Panama City buses are due to be completed in 2013.
It is very true that sidewalks are often in very bad shape. When we walk to town, I keep my trekking pole out for a while because there are gaps in the sidewalk, at least one or two of which require you to go onto the side of the road because they are impassible by pedestrians and several additional places would be impassible by wheelchair. There are a few ramps especially at newer buildings.