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Getting to the Train

May 02, 1999

Regarding "Airlines' Treatment of Disabled Is Criticized" (News, Tips & Bargains, April 4): The National Council on Disability's recent report, on how the airlines fail to provide for the needs of disabled passengers, was greatly appreciated. Having had such experiences three times within six months at LAX, I decided to try the train.

To my dismay, I learned that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) only requires Los Angeles' Union Station to have a barrier-free entrance.

It's at least three blocks from the entrance, through the station, up the ramps to the trains. My walking range is limited to about half a block. I was told by Amtrak that I might be able to persuade a Red Cap to take me to the train, if his cart wasn't already filled with baggage. But that's far too risky if someone is waiting to meet me in San Diego, for instance.

Since all of us are subsidizing the transportation at Union Station through our taxes, I believe all of us should be able to rely on utilizing Amtrak and MetroLink trains there. No more than two additional electric carts, dedicated to serving passengers with disabilities, would make that possible.

ELLEN STERN HARRIS, Beverly Hills

Editor's note: Amtrak spokesman Dominick Albano confirmed that the ADA doesn't require "curb-to-platform" aid but said Amtrak tries to provide it when possible. He urged customers to contact a station supervisor about special needs.

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