Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CONVENTION DIRECTOR: No "win-win" in dinner train dispute

COLUMBIA, 9/28/10  (Beat Byte) --  For the City of Columbia, a private business, and patrons who require disability-friendly access, a vintage dinner train proposed to run between Columbia and Centralia poses a "unique problem," Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) director Lorah Steiner told the Columbia Heart Beat.  
In receipt of $45,000 from the CVB Tourism Attraction Development Fund, Central States Railroad Company wants to restore vintage dining cars to run on the publicly-owned COLT railroad.  Local disability advocates are unhappy that a project receiving public support won't be accessible to all members of the public, including elderly patrons for whom the historic attraction would be especially appealing. 
"I understand the concerns of the Disabilities Commission and Services for Independent Living," Steiner said.  "But this is a situation that has no true 'win-win' solution." 
A disability-modified vintage dining car is unprecedented enough that it might be the nation's first, she 
explained.   ADA modifications are pricey and "would reduce passenger capacity to about 50% of a non-modified car." 
Likening trains to planes, Steiner said that "every plane on which you have ever traveled does not have accessible aisles or restrooms.  I assume such modifications would reduce the carrying capacity to such an extent as to make it impossible for the airlines to operate profitably."   
On the plus side, Steiner said the dinnner train "would bring about 12 to 15 new jobs to the Columbia, along with hundreds of group tours each year and many hotel overnight stays." 
The dinner car's operators are "good folks who would like very much to make an accessible car available," she concluded.  "The operators, the CVB and all concerned are trying to find a way to make an accessible car a reality.   But it isn't as simple as it might seem."  


  1. Excuses excuses and still more excuses to be an exclusive business catering to the elitists of this community. Why wasn't ADA Compatibility thought of in the beginning by the ADA Coordinator Tony St Romaine and the Convention and Visitors Bureau since the City of Columbia is working on it's ADA Transition Plan Update on this the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the ADA.

  2. You know another thing in this issue that disgusts me is that Mayor McDavid made a big show of reading a City Proclamation at the 20th Anniversary ADA Parade showing and then pulls this stunt by not following the ADA and Federal Transportation Guidelines concerning accessibility for the disabled.

    Didn't our Mayor swear to take an oath to uphold the ordinances of this community and that includes the ADA? By not upholding his oath in upholding the requirements of the ADA which is a City Ordinance and a Federal Statute isn't that a impeachable offense of sorts? Not like that would happen just saying.

    This really just eats me every day,all day and just makes me even more bitter as I remember Mayor McDavid standing there reading that proclamation in front of all those disabled citizens and a lot of them mobility challenged and then to just slap us all right in the face.

    Things that make you go gggrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!