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Amtrak to pay $2.25 million over lack of accessibility to stations; find out how you can apply for compensation

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© by James G. Howes, 2019

Amtrak has begun accepting claims for monetary compensation for people with mobility disabilities who traveled or wanted to travel from or to one of the 78 stations listed below, including the Westerly, Rhode Island station. Claims must be submitted by May 29, 2021.

On Dec. 2, 2020, the Department of Justice and Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, entered into an agreement to resolve the department’s findings of disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the agreement, Amtrak will fix inaccessible stations and pay $2.25 million to victims hurt by inaccessibility at the 78 stations listed below.

To be eligible for monetary compensation, an individual must:

•Have a mobility disability;
•Be harmed physically or emotionally because of accessibility issues, including, for example, inaccessible parking; steep slopes or steps to get to the station; lack of directional signs; toilet rooms with inaccessible entrances, stalls, or sinks; high ticket counters; deteriorated platforms; and narrow routes at stations, at one or more the stations listed below between July 27, 2013, and Dec. 2, 2020;
•Have lived at, visited, or desired to visit a place closer to one or more of the stations listed below than an accessible, alternative Amtrak station; and

Submit a claim form and declaration by mail, fax, email or online to the claims administrator by no later than May 29, 2021. Help is available from the settlement administrator for those who are unable to complete the claim form due to a disability.

Questions about making claims should be directed to the settlement administrator by any of the following methods:

Online: AmtrakDisabilitySettlement.com

Email: info@AmtrakDisabilitySettlement.com

Telephone (toll-free): 1-888-334-6165

TTY Telephone (toll-free): 1-866-411-6976

Questions about making claims should be directed to the settlement administrator by any of the following methods:

• Online: AmtrakDisabilitySettlement.com

• Email: info@AmtrakDisabilitySettlement.com

• Telephone (toll-free): 1-888-334-6165

• TTY Telephone (toll-free): 1-866-411-6976

Under the agreement, Amtrak has committed to make its intercity rail stations accessible, prioritizing stations with the most significant barriers to access. Over the next 10 years, Amtrak will design at least 135 stations to be accessible, complete construction at 90 of those stations, and have at least 45 more under construction. Amtrak will also train staff on ADA requirements and implement an agreed-upon process for accepting and handling ADA complaints. As part of this commitment, Amtrak recently established an Office of the Vice President of Stations, Properties & Accessibility to coordinate its compliance with the ADA.

The 78 stations are:

• Tuscaloosa, Alabama

• Yuma, Arizona

• Fort Morgan, Colorado

• Glenwood Springs, Colorado

• Granby, Colorado

• Old Saybrook, Connecticut

• Windsor, Connecticut

• Windsor Locks, Connecticut

• Newark, Delaware

• Gainesville, Georgia

• Jesup, Georgia

• Toccoa, Georgia

• Centralia, Illinois

• Effingham, Illinois

• Gilman, Illinois

• Homewood, Illinois

• Mattoon, Illinois

• Plano, Illinois

• Princeton, Illinois

• Rantoul, Illinois

• Summit, Illinois

• Connersville, Indiana

• Crawfordsville, Indiana

• Elkhart, Indiana

• Hammond-Whiting, Indiana

• Waterloo, Indiana

• Burlington, Iowa

• Creston, Iowa

• Mount Pleasant, Iowa

• Newton, Kansas

• Topeka, Kansas

• Maysville, Kentucky

• South Shore-South Portsmouth, Kentucky

• Lake Charles, Louisiana

• Aberdeen, Maryland

• Cumberland, Maryland

• Niles, Michigan

• Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

• St. Cloud, Minnesota

• Staples, Minnesota

• Picayune, Mississippi

• Kirkwood, Missouri

• La Plata, Missouri

• Poplar Bluff, Missouri

• Cut Bank, Montana

• East Glacier Park, Montana

• Malta, Montana

• Holdrege, Nebraska

• Elko, Nevada

• Hudson, New York

• Plattsburgh, New York

• Port Henry, New York

• Devils Lake, North Dakota

• Coatesville, Pennsylvania

• Downingtown, Pennsylvania

• Johnstown, Pennsylvania

• Lewistown, Pennsylvania

• Parkesburg, Pennsylvania

• Westerly, Rhode Island

• Dillon, South Carolina

• Alpine, Texas

• Marshall, Texas

• McGregor, Texas

• Helper, Utah

• Castleton, Vermont

• Montpelier, Vermont

• Ashland, Virginia

• Clifton Forge, Virginia

• Petersburg, Virginia

• Richmond Staples Mill Road, Virginia

• Bingen-White Salmon, Washington

• Kelso-Longview, Washington

• Wishram, Washington

• Charleston, West Virginia

• Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

• Hinton, West Virginia

• Columbus, Wisconsin

• Tomah, Wisconsin

This action was brought by the Disability Rights Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

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