Accessibility advocates say some Austin food trucks are impossible to visit

An early morning protest at the Veracruz All Natural food truck in East Austin.

"I've never seen one as bad as this, I haven't. The gravel, the steps, the tables," said Julie Espinoza with ADAPT of Texas.

Espinoza says the group's goal is to remove barriers both architecturally and socially.

Espinoza and other members of the group are fans of Veracruz. But they say the new design of the truck itself and the dining area is not wheelchair friendly.

"This gravel, I pulled in...it took me, I don't know how long with people pushing and pulling just to turn me around, I am stuck. What if I was alone?" Espinoza said.

Heiwa Salovitz says he's been coming there for years and up until recently he was able to actually get to the counter to order.

"They did not have the steps. The gravel was more compact. They did have some accessible seating," Salovitz said.

Veracruz employee Lis Mariscal says they had to get a new truck because the old one was falling apart and the recent rains presented another problem.

"Customers had to walk through puddles to get through the front to even order. And that was an issue as well," Mariscal said.

She says they're trying.

"We love the people we serve, we love the people that are here and we want to help them. But it's hard because we're a food truck. We're not a restaurant, we're not a building, We're a food truck," Mariscal said.

ADAPT is demanding an accessible path from the street to the ordering area and tables, along with a ramp, accessible tables and an alternate menu format for vision, speech and hearing disabilities.

Mariscal says they have to go through both the city and their landowner to determine what they can do on a permanent basis. In the meantime, they'll do everything they can.

"So we're going to have 2, 3 tables for them so that they can come in, sit down. Our cashiers are going to start coming down and taking their orders from where they are, charging them from where they are, anything to make it easier for them right now," Mariscal said.

Members of the group realize this may be indicative of a bigger problem, it's not just Veracruz. They say many food trucks in the city are like just like this.

"They seem receptive. Maybe we can work together and start a trend of accessibility and inclusion for everybody and really set the tone for all food trucks all over the city," said Jennifer McPhail with ADAPT.

Talking with several city departments, there doesn't seem to be anything on the books there about ADA compliance when it comes to food trucks.

Speaking with one state ADA official, these stationary food trucks are such a new thing, there is no special language for them just yet saying the experience is equal or comparable between persons with disabilities and those without.


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