Inaccessible Amtrak

A study finds that Amtrak stations have notable accessibility problems

A report published by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) in October found 89 out of 94 Amtrak stations examined, to have notable accessibility problems.

Even the busiest stops, like Union Station, lack ramps and elevators as well as wheelchair-accessible restrooms and ticket counters. Many stations’ platforms are also not level with the trains, making it difficult to wheel aboard.

“There is a variety of problems,” Curtis Decker, executive director of NDRN, tells The Washington Post.  “Some of them are minor that could have been fixed quickly without a whole lot of expense. Some of them are more difficult.”

NDRN is a national nonprofit providing advocacy services for the disabled. The network has been working with Amtrak on accessibility issues for the past four years, during which Amtrak has improved more than 200 stations. The company says they have repaired and upgraded platforms, ramps, sidewalks and restrooms to increase accessibility.

Amtrak tells The Washington Post ridership among passengers with disabilities has increased by 20% in 2013. Because of this, spokesman Steve Kulm says Amtrak is continually working to improve accessibility for all passengers.

“Every day we are taking action to advance our station accessibility improvement program,” Kulm tells The Washington Post.

“We are hoping that the report will get the attention of Congress and the Department of Justice to put pressure and get some concrete commitment from Amtrak to fix these problems,” tells The Washington Post.

Read the entire report here


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