National Disability Rights Network releases a report demonstrating Amtrak’s failure

Legal Aid News | Posted on November 07, 2013

Following a review done by the Protection and Advocacy Network with other disability organizations that visited 94 stations in 25 states and the District of Columbia, the National Disability Rights Network released a report today demonstrating Amtrak’s failure in following the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Amtrak was given 20 years to come into compliance with the ADA because it was understood the time and resources required to update the system were extensive,” continued Decker. “But here we are 23 years later and not only has Amtrak ignored the larger architectural barriers, they have not even addressed easily fixed issues like the restrooms.”

The barriers found during the reviews include things like stairways with no ramp or elevator alternative, restrooms that were too narrow for people using mobility devices to access, ticket counters that were too high for people using wheelchairs to reach, parking lots with poorly marked, crumbling, or uneven accessible spaces, and platforms that were deteriorated or lacked detectible warnings.

In addition to architectural barriers, reviewers found many stations lacking the visual displays that allow people who are deaf or hard of hearing to get the same train information from announcements made with loudspeakers.

The stations reviewed were in: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

NDRN’s report is called “All Aboard (Except People with Disabilities).” It contains a full review of Amtrak’s non-compliance with the ADA, state-by-state findings of the reviews, and recommendations for Amtrak, Congress and the Administration.

Specifically, NDRN calls on Congress to utilize federal funding for Amtrak to enforce compliance with the ADA. NDRN has also reported the violations to the Department of Justice and is requesting both the Departments of Justice and Transportation to develop a plan with Amtrak to reach full accessibility.