Amtrak Suspends Policy That Had Disabilities Advocacy Group Being Charged $25,000 To Go From Chicago To Bloomington, Ill.

Chicago News USA
CHICAGO (CBS) — Amtrak announced Wednesday that it is changing its policy so people with disabilities will not be charged $25,000 for train tickets.

The rail line tried to charge the disabilities advocacy group Access Living the extra money to remove seats to make room for wheelchairs.

The group was going to downstate Bloomington for a retreat – a trip for which a ticket should cost about $16.

But Amtrak said because the group wanted to travel together, Amtrak would have to remove the seats to accommodate the wheelchairs and pass the cost on to Access Living. It is a new Amtrak policy.

“Regardless of what the technicalities of the law are, that just seems highly unjust on the face of it,” Adam Ballard of Access Living told CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar earlier this week.

After U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) complained, Amtrak took the group for the regular price.

Customers also staged a protest against Amtrak in Bloomington Wednesday afternoon, though Amtrak said it was after the train had arrived.

Amtrak apologized and said the seat removal fee was never meant to be applied to situations like the one Access Living was in.

The policy is now suspended.

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