Jul 20, 2013

Train Week - How Accessible is Amtrak in Florida?

Friday, July 19, 2013

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, known as Amtrak, has provided critical cross-country transportation services since its founding in 1971. An average of over 85,000 passengers ride Amtrak trains every day. During the 2012 fiscal year, Amtrak had more than 31.2 million passengers.

Amtrak Florida has 31 Amtrak stations of various types - auto, bus, and train.Yet according to its 2010 Report to Congress, only about 10% of Amtrak stations nationwide (about 48) are fully compliant with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. According to recent information, the number has risen only slightly.

The result is that today many people with disabilities are unable to access America’s Amtrak trains to get to where they need to go. They encounter barriers such as inaccessible bathrooms, parking lots, and ticketing kiosks, audio systems with no visual equivalent,and a website and mobile app that many people with disabilities cannot use. Many Amtrak stations do not have platform lifts or level boarding which makes it impossible for some people to get on and off the trains. Amtrak also does not allow people with disabilities to purchase tickets to some destinations because there is no way for them to get off the train once they arrive.

To highlight these issues, Disability Rights Florida, is joining with other state and national disability rights organizations to conduct Train Week. In recognition of the 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, our staff will visit Florida's bus and rail stations across the country to review and record accessibility problems, as well as accessibility accomplishments.

If you encounter accessibility problems attempting to use Amtrak in Florida, you may call Disability Rights Florida at 1-800-342-0823 to request information and assistance. You may also request assistance via our online form at http://www.disabilityrightsflorida.org/contact/select_form