Disability discounts for special need travel by train
(The Special Life)
Amtrak offers disability discounts for special needs travelers. It isn't especially easy to access though.
For starters, it isn't available if you book online - which is rather strange considering the requirements of their potential special needs travelers. Ease of access would be a good start.
Also, although we're always grateful to see discounts for special need travel, it's rather odd that they don't really want to tell you what it is unless you contact them to book travel - either by phone or in person at the ticket counter.
The disability discount is available to the person with the disability only, and in order to qualify they also must provide written documentation at the ticket counter, and again when boarding the train.
This is what they will consider as acceptable documentation:
- a letter from your doctor
- an ID card from a transit system (presumably identifying your disability)
- a membership card from an organization for people with disabilities
Then, just to make sure that you don't save too much money, any discount you receive can't be combined with any other discount program either.
They don't make it easy don't they?
On the plus side, they do at least offer some
limited specific services to meet special travel needs.
But of course, you'll need to reserve these in advance - even for trains that don't normally need a reservation. And of course, since spaces are very limited, lots of notice is a good idea.
Once you've met all of these conditions, this is what they make available for special needs travelers:
- a wheelchair space
- a transfer seat if you can use regular seating
- accessible sleeping quarters - but this will need at least 14 days notice for a guaranteed spot
So, if you're interested in special need travel, then traveling by train can in fact be a comfortable way to go. And, by all means be sure to take advantage of any disability discounts they offer.
Just make sure you plan first, and give yourself lots of time before the intended travel date to make sure that you get what you need.
For more information on these disability discounts, you can check out the Amtrak web site
. It lists the contact information you need. It will also reflect any updates to their policy made since we did our research.
I also recommend that you do some additional research by consulting special needs travel books as well. They may also offer important tips for you.
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