Published on : Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Amtrak is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law on July 26, 1990. With input from station owners, stakeholders from the disability community and state and federal officials, America’s Railroad® has taken many significant steps to improve the travel experience for customers with disabilities – including trip planning, purchasing tickets, station and train access and onboard services.
“Amtrak continually evaluates best practices to ensure the company is enhancing its services, products and stations to meet – and exceed – the travel needs of customers with disabilities,” Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said. “We are committed to providing safe, efficient and comfortable service to our valued customers with disabilities.”
Since the ADA was enacted, Amtrak has improved accessibility at many stations, including making repairs and upgrades to platforms, ramps and sidewalks, and renovating entrance ways and restrooms.
Amtrak will continue to advance onboard accessibility with the delivery in 2021 of new Acela trainsets to replace the current fleet that operates on the Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston. All restrooms on these new trainsets will include a 60-inch diameter turning radius for customers who use wheelchairs. All Amtrak trains have accessible seating and restrooms, and long-distance trains have accessible bedrooms.
Amtrak is also enhancing accessibility at stations by installing new passenger information display systems (PIDS), which provide real-time updates and announcements in audible and visual formats. PIDS are currently operating in 44 stations.
Amtrak has made significant changes to its web platform and mobile app to improve accessibility for customers who have disabilities, including those who are blind or have visual impairments and those who wish to reserve space for a wheeled mobility device or an accessible room or who are traveling with service animals.
Additionally, newly designed composite bridge plates are being deployed or are in use at stations with level-boarding platforms. The new plates are larger to make it easier for customers using mobility devices to board on and off trains.