WASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), issued a statement Sunday after Amtrak attempted to charge a group of passengers traveling from Chicago to Bloomington $25,000.
According to NPR, a one-way ticket to take the Amtrak from Chicago to Bloomington costs $16, but two people who use wheelchairs were told their tickets would cost $25,000.
One of the passengers, Adam Ballard, told NPR he thought it was a mistake. Ballard said he uses a power wheelchair so it takes up a little extra space. But in the past, it was never a problem to get everybody on board.
Duckworth said in her statement:
“It is outrageous that Amtrak asked a group of passengers with disabilities to pay $25,000 to ride from the City of Chicago to Bloomington, Illinois. It is also disappointing that Amtrak leadership appears to have failed to offer a public apology for its initial mistake.
“The Americans with Disabilities Act has been the law of the land for 30 years. Yet in 2020, Amtrak believes it would be an unreasonable burden to remove architectural barriers that would enable a group with five wheelchair users to travel together.
As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, I believe Amtrak must do better moving forward. To prevent future incidents, I will be requesting that Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson meet with me to discuss eliminating Amtrak’s nationwide policy of refusing to absorb any costs associated with reconfiguring a railcar to accommodate a group of wheelchair users.”