Recently, I took the Amtrak Downeaster train for a day trip to Boston with my family. I’d like to talk to you about my wheelchair accessibility experiences on the Amtrak train and the MBTA in the city.
Taking the Amtrak Train
Boarding the Amtrak train went smoothly. When I reserved our tickets online, they had a handy little section that asked if anyone boarding had any disabilities and would require assistance. It asked all sorts of things down to the type of wheelchair you use and if you would be boarding with a service dog.
When the train arrived at the platform, the conductor popped out a small and sturdy ramp for me to use to get onto the train. I admit, turning the corner to get to my seat was a bit… interesting. If I were in a chair with a base wider than my Stretto, I don’t believe I would have been able to fit easily. After that, I parked myself in the designated disability seating/wheelchair area and we rode to Boston! Departing on the Amtrak was pretty good overall!
Navigating Wheelchair Accessibility on Public Transit in Boston
I did have some issues when we rode the T subways in Boston. The Orange Line was fantastic! The trains are outfitted with blue buttons (like a disabled parking sign) that you can push to alert the operator that a ramp/assistance is needed. These same buttons were inside as well.
The Red Line did not have these buttons. At one point, there was no way for us to alert the operator that we needed the bridge plate to get off the subway. The bridge plates are locked to the wall at the platforms, so someone needed to open it. Even though the operator got out of the train and saw us, we still ended up getting left behind and had to find an MBTA worker to help us.
While the Green Line is outfitted with the blue buttons, the one elevator was completely out at the station and it was not listed online. I needed this to get to the correct train or else we would miss our Amtrak train back to Maine (which we almost did). The advice given to us was to board the train to the next station and then turn around there. We ended up taking a 17 minute power walk/roll to get to our origin station, North Station.
Overall, navigating the MBTA in Boston was honestly not so great this time around. I had no recollection that the red line especially was so bad, and I believe that they can do better. I’m going to be emailing them with some suggestions that hopefully get taken into account.
About Chrysanthemum Chan: Chrysanthemum is an award-winning cosplayer and Quantum brand ambassador. She enjoys fashion, cosplay and music and has a TikTok channel with over 380,000 followers. Click here to learn more about Chrysanthemum.
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