Comfort, Efficiency and
Convenience for All
Since the first passenger railway began operating in
Europe in the early 19th century, trains have been an
invaluable transportation option for people all over the
world. Today, we have other travel modes that have their
own unique benefits, but for many Americans—including
myself—train travel is still the first choice because of the
comfort, e;ciency and convenience it provides. Many
travelers with disabilities also prefer rail travel for these
This July 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the enactment
of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and we at Amtrak are
proud of our role as an important mode of accessible travel
for people with disabilities, and of the special services we
can provide for them.
Over the course of the past two decades, with input from
advocacy groups, we’ve taken initiative to go beyond what
is required by law to make travel on Amtrak more accessible
and to enhance our service to passengers with special needs.
In addition, all of our front-line employees are trained to
provide special service to passengers with disabilities, and
we have resources and policies in place to accommodate
those with unique service requests, such as at-seat meals.
Last year, 288,000 riders took advantage of the discounted
pricing Amtrak o;ers to passengers with disabilities. And as
I write this, that number is on pace to increase by 6 percent
Additionally, our reservation call centers have T T Y
capability (for deaf callers who still use the technology) and
specially trained teams to assist disabled passengers with
their travel planning needs. Amtrak’s Quik-Trak ticket kiosks
are accessible, and we have a capital program under way to
upgrade our passenger information displays in our stations
to improve our communication of important information
to all passengers, including those with hearing or visual disabilities. If you or any member of your party has a special
need when traveling with us, please don’t hesitate to make a
special service request when making your reservation.
All of Amtrak’s trains meet or exceed the requirements
of the ADA, and as we add to our fleet, every new rail car will
be accessible. Amtrak o;ers reserved spaces to park wheelchairs or scooters, accessible seating into which passengers
can transfer from a wheelchair, accessible bedrooms on all
long-distance trains, accessible restrooms, and other accessibility features and services. We’re also modifying our cars
to allo w for on-board storage of Segway devices for passengers who use them for mobility assistance.
Currently, 94 percent of Amtrak passengers begin or end
their trip at accessible stations. But we are focused on making each of the 529 stations we serve fully accessible, a challenge that requires significant funding. We are conducting a
capital improvement program to bring all covered stations
we serve up to the necessary standards at a cost of more than
$1.6 billion based on the comprehensive study we completed
in February 2009. In this fiscal year alone, we allocated
$144 million for station accessibility improvements.
Completing this program is extremely complicated
because Amtrak owns only 63 of the 483 stations we serve
(not including flag stops or foreign stations). Most stations
are owned by freight railroads or the local community, and
in many cases a station’s building structure, platforms and
parking facilities have di;erent o wners. We are committed
to making our stations accessible because it is the right thing
to do for our customers, as well as a requirement under the
law. We are working with organizations and station o wners
to create a nationwide rail system that is fully accessible to
each and every American. You can learn more about our outreach to communities at GreatAmericanStations.com.
Congratulations to the pioneers of the Americans with
Disabilities Act during this important anniversary year. Thank
you for riding with us, and please let a member of the crew
know if we can do anything to help you enjoy the journey.
JOSEPH H. BOARDMAN