Train operator Amtrak to pay $2.25 million to settle discrimination claims

An Amtrak train is parked at the platform inside New York's Penn Station, the nation's busiest train hub, which will be closing tracks for repairs causing massive disruptions to commuters in New York City, NY, U.S. July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amtrak, the U.S. passenger railroad, will pay $2.25 million to resolve civil claims by the Justice Department that it discriminated against passengers with disabilities, and agreed to fix up train stations that failed to accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers and others with limited mobility.

The Justice Department said on Wednesday Amtrak had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to upgrade its stations to accommodate passengers, even though the railroad was given 20 years to do so since the law’s 1990s passage.

Amtrak was meant to have implemented the appropriate changes by July 26, 2010, the department added.

A spokesperson for Amtrak did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under the terms of the settlement, Amtrak will be required over the next 10 years to design at least 135 train stations to be more accessible to disabled patrons, complete construction at 90 of those stations and have at least 45 more under construction.

The $2.25 million will be placed into a settlement fund that will be used to compensate victims who were harmed and unable to readily travel.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; additional reporting by David Shephardson; Editing by Bernadette Baum