Amtrak makes changes to better serve passengers with disabilities

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Federal Government is monitoring the Staples Mill Road Amtrak station, after a customer filed a complaint that said the station provides inadequate services for passengers with disabilities.

This complaint against Amtrak was made months ago, when a passenger who’s deaf said he had no idea of what changes were being made to his itinerary because he couldn’t hear the announcements via the loudspeakers and the announcements on the screens weren’t always accurate.

“Many people can’t  hear, they just can’t understand. You make these public announcements, it’s often gargles and muffles and so people who are just hard of hearing miss what happens,” says Gary Talley.

After Talley’s complaint, Amtrak responded. The company is now working on installing technology both inside and outside the Staples Mill Road station that will instantly show loudspeaker messages on screens.

“The technology is there, the Philadelphia airport has it, the Phoenix airport has it, every verbal announcement is also posted where you can read word for word what’s being said,” says Talley.

Amtrak released the following statement:

“Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have been working on plans to improve accessibility at the Staples Mill Road station in Richmond. Design work is under way for a Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) for the station. The PIDS will be installed inside and outside the station and will communicate real-time train status, general boarding announcements and security messages in both audible and visual formats,” wrote Kimberly Woods with Amtrak Media Relations.

The company says the system has been approved for fiscal year 2016.

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