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Wheelchair Friendly

September 21, 1997

Our kudos to Amtrak. My wife and I just returned from a four-day trek to Santa Barbara via Amtrak. We needed a short break to celebrate our 51st wedding anniversary. Since I was in a wheelchair and my wife was using a cane and a walker, we lacked the stamina to drive.

At the Santa Ana Station the station agent saw that I was in a wheelchair and asked if we needed assistance in boarding. When the northbound train came in, he wheeled out a portable lift, lowered a ramp and pushed me backward onto the level platform. He then cranked me up to the train's level and the conductor lowered another ramp and pulled me on board. The station agent then lowered the platform and assisted my wife onto it and raised the platform for her to walk on board. When we arrived in Santa Barbara the train crew had called ahead and the local agent had another portable lift platform to help us off. We were unaware this service was available for people with special needs. Amtrak should advertise this service.

In Santa Barbara we stayed at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort, which is totally accessible for people with special needs. They pick you up at the Amtrak station and they have an electric cart to take you to your room. Our room had a wheelchair-accessible shower with a pull-down seat.

In this era of downsizing and the general lack of service, we were pleased that Amtrak cheerfully provides extra services for people with special needs.

DAVE KING

Tustin

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