Amtrak backs away from $25,000 charge, will carry Illinois passengers in wheelchairs at regular price

Passenger railroad responds to criticism, including that of U.S. senator, over fee to carry members of advocacy group to conference
RELATED TOPICS: AMTRAK | PASSENGER | CHICAGO
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CHICAGO — Amtrak has retreated from its stance that two wheelchair users would have to pay $25,000 to take a train from Chicago to Bloomington, Ill., saying it would find a way to carry those passengers — and two others headed to the same conference — for the regular $16 ticket cost.

National Public Radio, which first reported the case of staff members for disability service and advocacy group Access Living [see “Amtrak asks passengers in wheelchairs to pay $25,000 for trip in Illinois,” Trains News Wire, Jan. 20, 2020], reported Monday evening that “two senior Amtrak officials” called a lawyer for Access Living and said the passenger railroad would find space to carry all the passengers in wheelchairs at the regular price.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost both legs in military service in Iraq, had called Amtrak’s stance “outrageous” and requested a meeting with CEO Richard Anderson. In a statement to NPR, Amtrak apologized to Access Living “for their inconvenience as we have been working through how to serve their travel needs.” The company said it would review its poiicy and meet with Duckworth.

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