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Home / Amtrak pays over $2 million to disabled who could not access trains

Amtrak pays over $2 million to disabled who could not access trains

By | January 13, 2022

Over 1,500 to receive payments

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Glass-backed Amtrak observation car alongside a station platform.
Glass-backed Amtrak observation car alongside a station platform.
The platform at Bay St. Louis, Miss., seen during the Feb. 18, 2016, stop by Amtrak’s inspection train, will need minimal work for the launch of Gulf Coast service. A full ADA-compliant platform is planned for the second phase of construction. Photograph by Bob Johnston

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced that Amtrak will pay over $2 million to more than 1,500 individuals who experienced disability discrimination while traveling or attempting to travel by train. The payments were part of a settlement agreement reached on Dec. 2, 2020, to resolve the United States’ determination that Amtrak failed for over a decade to make existing stations in its system accessible to people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The payments follow a year-long process to identify victims of that discrimination. More than 1,500 people are receiving compensation. The action was brought by the Disability Rights Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The December 2020 agreement requires Amtrak to make its system accessible, prioritizing stations with the most significant barriers to access. In the next nine years, Amtrak is required to complete designs to make at least 135 of its existing stations accessible, complete construction at 90 of those stations, and begin construction at 45 more. Amtrak will also train staff on ADA requirements and implement an improved process for accepting and handling ADA complaints.

Amtrak recently established an Office of the Vice President of Stations, Properties & Accessibility to coordinate its compliance with the ADA.

6 thoughts on “Amtrak pays over $2 million to disabled who could not access trains

  1. Ever seen the bathroom on Delta Airlines? Wheelchair accessible? A perfectly healthy person weighing 150 pounds can barely use it.

  2. Greyhound buses have a wheelchair lift and can provide space for 2 wheelchairs, but that’s about it. There is no access to the restroom, or even down the aisle.

  3. Not sure if you are both suggesting that we should not try to make Amtrak accessible or that if Amtrak is made to be accesible so should busses and airplanes? (Also both your examples are about the toilets not about ability to get on train; most major jets are accessible if access is via jet bridge. Not sure about regional jets. Of course if you can not go to the bathroom how accessible is riding a transport mode really!)

  4. Since Congress did not give Amtrak the money to make stations, platforms and coaches accessible, in order for Amtrak make the necessary modifications by the deadline the law they enacted stipulated, why did they not exempt Amtrak until such a time as Amtrak would be in compliance? Now a smart lawyer has cost the taxpayers money.

  5. Over the years Amtrak and local transit authorities added raised platform areas at stations so individuals with wheel chairs could roll onto the train. Then several groups sued claiming that made them feel like an outcast because they were forced to use that lift to get on a train. Instead they wanted the entire platform at every station to be raised up.
    Reminds me of the argument on the Washington DC Metro. The visually handicapped wanted something to warn a person with a guiding stick to be warned they were approaching the edge of the platform. So WAMTA spent millions putting in a yellow raised edge that was a foot wide along every platform in the entire system. Right afterwards the groups in wheelchairs sued claiming that interfered with them “smoothly” rolling on and off trains and wanted them all removed.

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