Indiana disability rights group files complaint against Amtrak

Marilyn Odendahl
December 13, 2013
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The Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission has filed a disability discrimination complaint against Amtrak for non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

IPAS surveyed all 11 Amtrak stations in Indiana and found accessibility problems at every one.

As a result, the organization announced Dec. 12 it has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, the federal agency responsible for enforcement of the ADA. IPAS is requesting that the Justice Department investigate the compliance issues and ensure Amtrak makes the necessary changes to the Hoosier stations to become fully accessible for individuals with disabilities.

The survey of stations conducted by IPAS was part of a national review done in coordination with the National Disability Rights Network and 24 other organizations to inspect Amtrak train stations for accessibility compliance. After passage of the ADA in 1990, Amtrak was given 20 years to update its system to meet the new standards.

The National Disability Rights Network released a report in October 2013, detailing the results of the review. It concluded that 23 years after the ADA was signed into law, 95 percent of all surveyed stations had barriers to accessibility.   

IPAS surveyed the stations in Indiana located in Connersville, Crawfordsville, Dyer, Elkhart, Hammond, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Michigan City, Rensselaer, South Bend, and Waterloo.

It found ticket counters were too high for people in wheelchairs, restroom doors were heavy and the stalls were too narrow for a wheelchair, and parking lots did not have accessible spaces marked. In South Bend, passengers had to cross the tracks with large gaps to get to the platform and there was no sign of an elevator to the platform.

“People with disabilities have been very patient with Amtrak and IPAS believes that enough is enough; 23 years is a long time for individuals with disabilities to wait for equal access,” said Gary Richter, IPAS executive director.   


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues