“We have been shocked, we thought there was a mistake within the e-mail they despatched us,” Bridget Hayman with Entry Residing instructed CNN.
In an e-mail trade obtained by CNN, an Amtrak agent defined that the practice solely had three areas for wheelchairs, so it must take a automobile out of service and take away some seats to accommodate the group. Amtrak cannot promote seats within the automobile till it is returned to its common configuration, in order that contributed to the price, in keeping with the e-mail.
The agent instructed the group that Amtrak had absorbed the price of reconfiguring the automobiles prior to now however stated that coverage had modified final 12 months.
“We could not discover the coverage they have been citing. If this can be a coverage, this can be a downside for lots of people,” Hayman, who makes use of a wheelchair herself, instructed CNN.
Hayman stated the group had tried to resolve the problem and even reached out to the Amtrak govt accountable for the rail service’s stations.
The story drew nationwide consideration, and the group heard from the railroad service on Monday.
“Amtrak officers have contacted Entry Residing and we apologize for his or her inconvenience as we’ve been working by way of how you can serve their journey wants,” Amtrak stated in a press release supplied to CNN. “We assured them that as valued prospects we are going to accommodate all passengers who use wheelchairs aboard the identical Amtrak trains they initially requested between Chicago and Bloomington-Regular, Illinois.”
Hayman instructed CNN that Amtrak instructed the Entry Residing that they might accommodate the group and solely cost the common fare.
“We’re happy that Amtrak now says it may possibly accommodate all of our wheelchair riders tomorrow for no further charge, however we stay deeply involved about its new coverage charging disabled prospects big charges to take away seats to accommodate wheelchairs,” she stated. “The coverage should change. We’re anxious about future journeys.”
An Amtrak spokesman stated that it’s scheduling a gathering with Duckworth’s workplace to evaluation and talk about Amtrak insurance policies for future situations the place rail automobiles want particular reconfiguration and modification to accommodate passengers with disabilities.