Entry Residing stated it bought the $25,000 round-trip quote final month, after it instructed an Amtrak agent that 5 of the 10 individuals making the journey are in wheelchairs.

“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.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) tweeted on Sunday that the $25,000 charge was “outrageous.”
“The Individuals with Disabilities Act has been the regulation of the land for 30 years. But in 2020, @Amtrak believes it might be an unreasonable burden to take away architectural obstacles that may allow a bunch with 5 wheelchair customers to journey collectively,” she wrote.
Duckworth is the rating Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Security, which focuses on security and infrastructure growth associated to each freight and passenger rail, together with Amtrak.
The senator misplaced each of her legs and partial use of her proper arm in 2004, when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Black Hawk helicopter she was flying in Iraq. She generally makes use of a wheelchair.

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.

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