Amtrak Pays $2 Million to Passengers With Disabilities Who Faced Obstacles at Stations

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U.S.|Amtrak Pays $2 Million to Passengers With Disabilities Who Faced Obstacles astatine Stations

Under a colony agreement, the railroad volition besides overhaul 135 bid stations to marque them accessible to all.

Amtrak has settled with much  than 1,500 radical   implicit    bid     stations that were inaccessible to those with disabilities. 
Credit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Christine Chung

Jan. 12, 2022

Amtrak has paid much than $2 cardinal to implicit 1,500 radical with disabilities whom it discriminated against astatine astir 80 bid stations crossed the country, from Tuscaloosa to Topeka, the Justice Department announced connected Wednesday.

The payments are the archetypal of respective actions mandated by a settlement reached past year betwixt the railroad and the Justice Department that requires Amtrak to rectify persistent barriers crossed its obstruction strategy to those with disabilities.

Obstacles included constrictive waiting areas, parking spaces without signs marking them arsenic accessible, steep inclines for rider platforms and way crossings, and toilets that didn’t accommodate wheelchairs, according to a suit that the Justice Department brought against Amtrak alleging that those “failures” caused continued harm and violated national civilian rights law.

Under the presumption of the settlement, Amtrak must, implicit the adjacent 9 years, redesign 90 stations crossed the state to marque them accessible to each passengers and commencement operation astatine 45 different stations. It indispensable besides bid its unit to comply with the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, a landmark civilian rights instrumentality passed successful 1990 that prohibits favoritism against radical with disabilities.

Those efforts volition “bring some Amtrak and our federation 1 measurement person to realizing the A.D.A.’s committedness of adjacent accidental for radical with disabilities,” Kristen Clarke, an adjunct lawyer with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said successful a statement.

In a connection connected Wednesday, Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman, said the railroad had “made important advancement successful bringing galore facilities into higher levels of accessibility.” He added that it had budgeted much than $143 cardinal for accessibility improvements astatine 43 stations this year.

The institution operates astir 500 stations successful 46 states and the District of Columbia, according to tribunal documents.

The Justice Department opened its probe into Amtrak aft it had received complaints astir inaccessible bid stations and a captious study successful 2013 by the National Disability Rights Network, an advocacy radical that investigated the railroad successful narration to civilian rights instrumentality and recovered that the railroad had “lagged acold behind” different proscription providers successful providing accessible services to customers with disabilities. Passengers, the study concluded, had been forced to “suffer embarrassment, discomfort, and different indignities” passim the process of bid travel, from purchasing a summons to disembarking.

“Inaccessible bid stations are much than conscionable an inconvenience,” Curt Decker, the group’s enforcement director, said successful a connection connected Wednesday. “Transportation is the linchpin of assemblage integration.”

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