Amtrak pays $2.25M to passengers with disabilities over station access

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Amtrak paid $2.25 million to more than 1,500 people as part of a settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

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big picture: Train operators and the DOJ settled in December 2020 on violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – in which people with disabilities face “significant access issues” at 78 designated stations across the US, a settlement states.

  • “Amtrak failed to make its stations easily accessible and usable for persons with disabilities … with regard to parking, routes from accessible parking to buildings, entrances, waiting areas, elevators, toilet rooms, signs, routes from buildings to passenger platforms, passenger platforms, passenger platform heights, and track crossings,” according to a complaint,
  • The agreement requires Amtrak to make its intercity rail system accessible, prioritize stations with the most significant bottlenecks, and train staff on essential needs and handle complaints, according to one Justice Department statement,

By numbers: Amtrak operates some 500 stations in 46 states and the District of Columbia, and is responsible for the accessibility aspects of “more than 400 of the approximately 514 stations,” notes the DOJ.

  • ,The Justice Department said in its statement, “Over the next nine years, Amtrak is expected to complete designs to make at least 135 of its existing stations accessible, complete construction on 90 of those stations, and begin construction on 45 more.” the wanted.”

Running news: The DOJ launched an investigation after a 2013 report by the advocacy group the National Disability Rights Network found that railroads “lag far behind other transportation providers in providing accessible services” and after receiving complaints about inaccessible train stations. , new York Times Report.

  • “Amtrak’s ongoing efforts to make rail stations accessible pursuant to our settlement agreement help both Amtrak and our nation realize the promise of equal opportunity for the people of the ADA,” DOJ Assistant Attorney Kristen Clark said in a statement. Take us one step closer. Disabled.”

What are they saying: Kurt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, said in a statement that the inaccessible train stations are “more than just an inconvenience.”

  • “Transportation is the cornerstone of community integration,” Decker said.
  • an Amtrak spokesperson told Newsweek The company has “made significant progress in bringing many facilities to a higher level of access” and “plans to spend more than $143 million on access planning and construction of more than 43 additional stations in 2022.”
  • Amtrak did not immediately respond to Nerdshala’ request for comment.
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