Amtrak Disability Settlement Paid

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Amtrak recently paid out over $2 million to some 1,500 disabled travelers, under the terms of a settlement agreement reached with the Department of Justice on December 2, 2020. This agreement was reached after Amtrak failed to make its existing stations accessible to passengers with disabilities.

Says Assistant Attorney Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department, “As a result of the Justice Department’s efforts, more than 1,500 people with disabilities harmed by Amtrak’s inaccessible rail stations are receiving compensation for the discrimination they experienced.”

That’s not the end of the story though. Although compensation is great, the root problem still needs to be fixed. To that end, in the next nine years Amtrak is required to make at least 135 of their stations accessible. Amtrak will also provide training to staff on the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements, and implement an improved system for handling ADA complaints.

And it appears that they are moving forward with a new focus on accessibility, as Amtrak recently established the Office of the Vice President of Stations, Properties & Accessibility.

Rail travel is about to get more accessible. Finally.

 

 

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US Access Board to Update Rail Car Access Guidelines

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The US Access Board recently announced that they will be updating the access guidelines for rail cars. To that end they are seeking public comments on the issue. The regulations, which were last updated in 1991, apply to rail cars used in rapid, light, commuter and intercity rail systems. Continue reading

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Ho Chi Minh City to Build Accessible Public Transport

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Access is looking up these days in Vietnam, as the powers that be in Ho Chi Minh City have announced that the new metro and monorail systems will be wheelchair-accessible. The last time I visited the city, access was extremely lacking, so I’m happy to hear of any move in a positive direction. Continue reading

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Mumbai Rail Officials Consider Decreasing Disabled Space

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According to the Mid Day, pregnant women may soon be allowed to board the Mumbai commuter train cars reserved for disabled passengers. Apparently this isn’t the first time this rule change has been proposed by the National Railway Users Consultative Committee; however last time up, rail officials rejected it outright. Their reason? “It would be difficult to identify all pregnant women.”

Point taken.

So this time they are thinking about limiting the privilege to women in their third trimester. Presumably they would be easier to identify. Continue reading

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