Accessibility

From 36C3 Wiki

With its diverse community, Chaos Communication Congress has always been about improving people's access to the event and providing individual help to everyone in need. This page collects the various facilities you may contact as a person with disability, as well as information on the challenges you might face at the event.

Facilities and peer groups

These groups all use the DECT network provided by POC for their communication needs, so you should bring a compatible DECT phone or a SIP client if you think you will have to reach someone quickly. However, most of them can be reached via email and twitter as well, albeit response times are much slower.

  • CERT handles first response to medical emergencies. (DECT 112)
  • The Awareness Team will resolve conflicts and help create a safe and enjoyable atmosphere especially for minorities. (DECT 113)
  • For people in the spectrum of autism: C3Auti will help you out with a safe space in meltdown and overload situations (DECT 2884)
  • The C3Auti-team also operates the QuietQube as a space at Congress without much visual or auditory stimuli.
  • c3blind is an assembly for blind and visually impaired individuals attending Congress that also provides informal help if necessary. (DECT 2563)
  • c3subtitles will provide subtitles and closed captions for some of the talks after the event. They're looking for Angels, so you can help make content produced at the Congress more accessible!

Obviously, we cannot cover everything in this article due to the sheer amount of different needs and requirements different people bring to the table. Your peer group will be happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have about acceesibility, though.

Congress

Messe Leipzig

Most of the space at Messe Leipzig will be fairly crowded during the the event, not all of which being open and wide. You will have to use narrow tunnels to reach assembly halls and lecture rooms. Most of Messe Leipzig is accessible by elevator, escalator and regular staircases. Some locations can only be reached through separate entrances. If you would like to access such spaces, it is probably best to ask someone to take you there from outside the buildings. Wheelchair accessible and spacious toilets are available. More information on the wheelchair accessibility of the venue is collected on the website of Messe Leipzig. (Mostly screenreader accessible, with caveats) There is no tactile guide system for blind and visually impaired attendees anywhere at Messe.

Lighting

While the glass hall and CCL are usally well and evenly lit, this isn't the case in the much darker assembly space and sometimes the lecture halls, especially at their entrance. Please also note that there will be lots of installations with rapidly changing lights (intensity, color, ...) and noisy elements.

Scooters

Some people use quiet electric scooters to get around the large and crowded venue quickly. Not many have added lights or driving sound effects to them, so be a bit careful when you move around.

Lecture halls

In the lecture halls, there will be reserved seats for visually impaired attendees in the front. Induction loops for hearing aids will also be available next to the VOC camera setup and the wheelchair area. More information follows as it is decided on.

Queues

Queues for merchandise, lecture halls or basically anything else can become very long at times. Expect to wait a bit frequently. Live and historical data for the entrance queue is available on c3queue.de. (Historical data is inaccessible to screen readers) - but others are much longer.

Getting to and from Congress

see also → Travel and Local Transport

Coming to Leipzig

Most hackers from Germany prefer to pilgrimage to Leipzig by train.

Rail

You can book your tickets on bahn.de or inside the "DB Navigator" app. If you prefer cheaper fares and can accept travelling at off-peak times, use "Sparpreis-Finder".

Long-distance trains in Germany (IC, ICE, EC, ECE) do not stop at Messe Leipzig, but take you to Leipzig Main Station instead. They provide space for wheelchair users, but are never accessibly usable without pre-registering "help" from MSZ.

If you require further travel assistance for S-Bahn, regional or long-distance trains e.g. when changing at an unfamiliar station or you're travelling with a wheelchair, contact Deutsche Bahn's MSZ (German) directly or get in touch with your peer group for help with this. The services of MSZ are provided free of charge, but should be registered at least 36 hours before you intend to travel. Expect email and SMS spam.

We'll make sure you get to Leipzig safely!

Car

Parking space for the disabled is available directly at Messe, but still quite far away from the entrance. To use them, you require a special, blue permit. Your disability pass is not sufficient for this. Parking inside Leipzig can be rather difficult.

Messe Leipzig is located next to highway A14.

Air

Please contact your airline for more information. As you will have to either take a train or a taxi to Messe afterwards, you should also contact MSZ for further help.

Hotels

Please ask the hotels directly about your individual requirements.

Public Transit in Leipzig

If you need to get somewhere in Leipzig using public transportation, check out the city's official app called "easy.GO". It also features an accessible interface for the blind and visually impaired.

For regional and long-distance trains operated by Deutsche Bahn, the "DB Barrierefrei"-App may be of your interest.

Trams

Recent years in Leipzig have shown that most of the trams to and from Messe Leipzig on lines 16/16E are wheelchair accessible. However, the lines are sometimes served by old Tatra vehicles with a single accessible carriage at the end of the train. All stops between Leipzig Main Station and Messegelände are level with the trains and therefore barrier-free. However, some lines in Leipzig - particularly the ones which are least used - are served only by the Tatra trains and sometimes without the accessible carriage as of 2019. During rush hour, trams can get quite busy and you may have to ask people to make some space for you. The tram stop at the Congress is a few hundred metres away from the main entrace. Audio announcements for the trams are played by newer vehicles when the driver identifies one of the potential passengers as a blind or visually impaired person. They tell you the line number and the destination of the vehicle. Note that the tram stations at Leipzig Main Station and Messegelände are "double stops", which means that there is space for two vehicles at the same time. However, if you are identified as blind or visually impaired and waiting by the special ground markers for tram stops (tactile, easily discernible with a white cane), drivers will stop again at the anterior end of the station for you to get on.

At night, extra tram services will terminate at Main Station, but at a stop called "Hauptbahnhof (Westseite)" a few metres away from the regular stop. If you find yourself lost, please ask the other people around you for help or use the maps application of your choice. You might have to cross a larger street in the process. Signal tones of traffic lights and other Points of Interest are disabled at night. The streets will be quiet and mostly empty. As Main Station is the central connecting hub in Leipzig, you should expect drunk people waiting at the tram stops - especially during weekends.

To get from Leipzig Main Station to Congress or back takes you roughly 20 minutes on the tram.

S-Bahn and regional trains

S-Bahn is the name for a local rapid transit network in Germany. S-Bahn services take you to a station called "Messe" that is around 750 metres away from the main entrance. All trains in operation on the S-Bahn network are wheelchair accessible, but getting to and from the platforms requires the use of an elevator or stairs on the relevant stations. Announcements at the platforms tell you which train is arriving and relevant stops it makes. While guide systems for the blind and visually impaired are available at all major S-Bahn stations inside Leipzig, "Messe" station lacks such an installment. From Main Station to Messe using S-Bahn it will take up to ten minutes, but S-Bahn services are not as frequent.

Some regional trains (RB, RE) stop at "Messe" station as well, but this is not announced audibly. Not all regional trains are wheelchair accessible without pre-registered "help". Train staff is not allowed to help you. They reach "Messe" a tiny bit quicker than S-Bahn, but they only run once every one or two hours.

Bus

Several bus lines terminate at Messe. Most vehicles operational in Leipzig are wheelchair accessible by ramp. The drivers will assist you in getting on the bus. If you require information on line and destination, you have to ask the driver. On highly frequented stations, there are automatic announcements for this when the doors open.