Amtrak Provides $ 2 Million For Disabled Passengers With Obstacles At Stations

Amtrak has paid more than $ 2 million to more than 1,500 people with disabilities against whom it has been discriminated against at near...


Amtrak has paid more than $ 2 million to more than 1,500 people with disabilities against whom it has been discriminated against at nearly 80 stations across the country, from Tuscaloosa to Topeka, the Department of Justice. announcement Wednesday.

Payments are the first of several actions mandated by a settlement reached last year between the railroad and the Justice Department forcing Amtrak to rectify lingering obstacles across its rail system for people with disabilities.

Obstacles included narrow waiting areas, parking spaces without signs marking them as accessible, steep inclines for passenger platforms and level crossings, and washrooms that could not accommodate wheelchairs, according to a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against Amtrak, alleging that these “failures” caused continued damage and violated federal civil rights law.

Under the settlement, Amtrak is to redesign 90 stations across the country over the next nine years to make them accessible to all passengers and begin construction on 45 more stations. It must also train its staff to comply with the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, a landmark civil rights law passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

These efforts “will bring Amtrak and our country closer to the ADA’s promise of equal opportunity for people with disabilities,” Kristen Clarke, deputy lawyer in the civil rights division of the Department of Justice, said in a statement.

In a statement on Wednesday, Marc Magliari, a spokesperson for Amtrak, said the railway had “made significant progress in bringing many facilities to higher levels of accessibility.” He added that he had budgeted more than $ 143 million to improve accessibility at 43 stations this year.

The company operates about 500 stations in 46 states and the District of Columbia, according to court documents.

The Justice Department opened its investigation into Amtrak after receiving complaints about inaccessible stations and a critical report in 2013 by the National Disability Rights Network, an advocacy group that investigation the railroad regarding civil rights law and found that the railroad was “far behind” other transportation providers in providing accessible services to customers with disabilities. Passengers, the report concludes, were forced to “suffer embarrassment, discomfort and other indignities” throughout the process of train travel, from ticket purchase to disembarkation.

“Inaccessible stations are more than just an inconvenience,” Curt Decker, executive director of the group, said in a statement Wednesday. “Transportation is the keystone of community integration.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Amtrak Provides $ 2 Million For Disabled Passengers With Obstacles At Stations
Amtrak Provides $ 2 Million For Disabled Passengers With Obstacles At Stations
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