Amtrak Asks Two People Who Use Wheelchairs To Pay $25,000 For A Ride (NPR 1/17/20)

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Pere Flyer, Jan 18, 2020.

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  1. Jan 20, 2020 #26

    Cho Cho Charlie

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    From what I am reading, it isn't wheelchairs, but instead larger power scooters. These people can be easily accommodated in regular seats, but don't want their power scooters put in with luggage or baggage because they claim the power chairs can be (will be?) damaged.
     
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  2. Jan 20, 2020 #27

    Just-Thinking-51

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    No the guy in the story is in a powered wheelchair, a scooter is a different beast.
     
  3. Jan 20, 2020 #28

    Seaboard92

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    On that route I believe you could get quite a lot. I don’t have the milage figures ahead of me because I have no internet on the Heartland Flyer. But if the milage is what I remember it’s 2,000 ish a car round trip. So you could do five cars if each was 2,000 per day and had no deadhead. Now that doesn’t include food/drink. If you originate the trip in STL and not in Chicago and stay on the same consist there is no switching charge in STL.
     
  4. Jan 21, 2020 #29

    Just-Thinking-51

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    NPR has a update that contains the above quote. Seem there a lot of people using the train to get there.
     
  5. Jan 21, 2020 #30

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Duckworth is the US Senator she a veteran that uses a wheelchair herself. Close encounter with a RPG.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  6. Jan 21, 2020 #31

    crescent-zephyr

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    Good news!

    I agree with her, if Amtrak has the ability to reconfigure a railcar to allow for the passengers, they should have to do so when requested.

    “Duckworth, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, went on to say she planned to request a meeting with Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson "to discuss eliminating Amtrak's nationwide policy of refusing to absorb any costs associated with reconfiguring a railcar to accommodate a group of wheelchair users."
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  7. Jan 21, 2020 #32

    jis

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    The sad thing is that sometimes an unintended consequence of such things turns out to be service discontinuance. I am hoping it won’t come to that and Ms. Duckworth will make sure that Congress appropriates adequate funds for Amtrak to serve ADA customers at the level that everyone appears to desire.
     
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  8. Jan 21, 2020 #33

    FrensicPic

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  9. Jan 21, 2020 #34

    crescent-zephyr

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    Yes. It will clearly be the ADA customers fault for wanting to use a public transit service....
     
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  10. Jan 21, 2020 #35

    Devil's Advocate

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    This is the kind of reaction Amtrak risked with their clumsy execution and sloppy response. It's not inconceivable that Amtrak could have started charging a substantial mitigation fee or imposed a long lead time for performing this service, but raising the price from trivial to $25,000 in a single leap requires a compelling justification. My guess is that Anderson is going to struggle with supplying a plausible good faith explanation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  11. Jan 21, 2020 #36

    jis

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    Who said anything about anyones fault? Services have to be paid for and adequate budgets help provide desired service. It makes sense to adequately fund things with clear instructions on what is funded and what is not so that a good audit can be carried out to determine whether appropriated money was spent properly for its intended purpose.
     
  12. Jan 21, 2020 #37

    Manny T

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  13. Jan 21, 2020 #38

    Just-Thinking-51

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    What change is Richard Anderson.
     
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  14. Jan 21, 2020 #39

    MikefromCrete

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    How many PV's are handicapped accessible?
     
  15. Jan 21, 2020 #40

    crescent-zephyr

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  16. Jan 21, 2020 #41

    fairviewroad

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    Perhaps, but I think $5,000 per person to go from Chicago to Bloomington would be pretty eye-popping as it is.

    Amtrak clearly dropped the ball with its outrageous quote, the kind of quote that's designed to make the "problem" go away. Clearly a violation of the ADA, if not the letter of the law than the spirit of it. People with mobility issues are not a "problem."

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned on this thread is that one of the causes of this situation is the relatively infrequent service on this corridor. I mean, it's pretty decent by Amtrak (non-NEC) standards, but if you had hourly trains then I suspect the group would have been far more amenable to splitting up.
     
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  17. Jan 22, 2020 #42

    Seaboard92

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    I know of a few former Marc cars that probably could accommodate. If not a PV that is a party car out of a former baggage car could definitely. If they want to ride in their chairs it would make perfect sense. Use the baggage doors for loading.
     
  18. Jan 22, 2020 #43

    mgl1978

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    The typical equipment used on the route is several Horizon and/or Amfleets which are wheel chair accessible. It think the group could have been accommodated without changing around seating by having them sit in two separate cars. The group would be split in half but without modifying cars. My $.02
     
  19. Jan 22, 2020 #44

    jamess

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    Local transit agencies run paratransit services at a great cost in order to meet ADA requirements.

    Amtrak should have chartered a bus, at their own cost, for the group, if they could not accommodate the passengers on board.

    It is not the fault of the customers that Amtrak has not designed their vehicles to allow for quick modification needed to serve wheelchair passengers. ADA passed in 1990. Amtrak has had 30 years to update their procedures.
     
  20. Jan 23, 2020 #45

    Barb Stout

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    Three of them did sit in 3 separate cars. What surprises me is that there was only 1 space per car for a person in a wheelchair. I'm pretty sure, although not totally sure, that I have seen 2 wheelchairs with people in them in the same car when I got on a superliner in ABQ.
     
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  21. Jan 23, 2020 #46

    Eric S

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    The Amfleet and Horizon equipment used on Midwest corridors has typically had seats (semi-permanently) removed for a wheelchair location. There might be space to fit two traditional/standard wheelchairs there, but likely only room for one larger motorized device.
     
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  22. Jan 24, 2020 #47

    Thirdrail7

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    To be fair, the Ski Train has its costs reimbursed.

    To be fair, the Train Jam is operating with less equipment since they decided they didn't want to pay the new fees:

    My response was:
    With a much earlier commitment. At the end of the day, you are correct in saying it boils down to

    Indeed. Go for the profit. I suspect that he may spin it to Senator Duckworth this way...that he is following the law and must operate to obtain a profit and eating costs aren't profitable. After all, this is the same group that didn't want to help out with the Toys For Tots train and now its probably gone for good.
     
  23. Jan 25, 2020 #48

    adamj023

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    The American Disabilities Act combined with the fact that Amtrak is subsidized by the government shows this policy to be unjust. If Amtrak could not have made real accommodations to do this, they should not have even mentioned a 25,000 cost but just said it couldn’t be done.

    Amtrak should have disability friendly trains. Amtrak and state and local transit agencies should be ADA compliant as much as possible.

    The government does have a right to cater to transportation for these people.

    My own method would be to privatize Amtrak and state and local transit BUT require ADA compliance spending to be added to the private sector as disabled people are one group which deserve transportation that has subsidies. But the problem is the subsidized transit for fully able bodied individuals where it just costs too much and cutbacks are needed as private sector can handle better transportation methods for a lower cost.

    This isn’t a partisan issue however and Amtrak was in violation of the American Disabilities act signed into law in 1990.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
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  24. Jan 25, 2020 #49

    jis

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    ADA is the law. Private companies have to comply with it too. So no, the private companies cannot just have their own policies that violate ADA.
     
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  25. Jan 25, 2020 #50

    adamj023

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    What I mean by private companies is lets say you have an issue with one vendor who can’t cater to ADA needs because they don’t have expertise in it or it is cost prohibitive but there are other firms who can do it, there is no need to force everyone to comply as you can choose appropriate vendors which are competitive. But there should be vendors who are ADA complaint and there should also be profit in it as well.

    With Amtrak, the agency is subsidized by taxpayers. Not every private transportation firm has to deal with handicap accessible passengers in the private sector but some do offer options.
     
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