VIA Rail in Canada and Amtrak in the U.S. have excellent services for special needs. To be sure you receive the service you need, purchase your tickets over the telephone and let them know what you need. Services vary from train to train and station to station but if they know in advance what you need, they will be able to help you.
Canada: VIA Rail Accessible Services
Do the stations have wheelchair access? Can you bring a guide dog or get around in the trains by wheelchair? To find out what you need to know about the accessibility of VIA trains, consult the following links:
- In order to travel with VIA, passengers must be able to attend to their personal needs (eating, medical, personal hygiene) throughout the trip. If you are not able to do so, you must be accompanied by an escort. VIA will be pleased to carry your escort in the same class free of charge.
- Reduced Mobility information about booking, traveling with a companion, wheelchairs, electrical scooters, sleeping cars, meal service.
- Special Needs accessibility, adapted services, unaccompanied minors, occupy two seats.
- Accessibility Priority boarding and additional assistance
Crossing the Border New
Accessible Travel in Canada
Allergies, special meals, and medication
Get the information you need on the range of special meals offered on VIA trains, medication transportation and storage, and the policy on oxygen bottles:
- Allergies and special meals
- Oxygen bottles
U.S.: Amtrak Accessible Services
To make reservations for accessible space on Amtrak, purchase your tickets over the phone or in person at an Amtrak ticket counter.
- By telephone: Please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245). Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- By TDD/TTY: Please call 1-800-523-6590. Agents are available from 5 am to 1 am EST, seven days a week.
- At an Amtrak ticket counter: Ticket agents at staffed stations can sell tickets during regular ticket office hours. Please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) for details.
Up until 14 days before the departure of each train from its origin city, reservations for accessible bedrooms may be made only for passengers who are mobility impaired. After this period, and if all other Deluxe and Family bedrooms have been reserved, accessible bedrooms are made available to all passengers on a first-come, first-served basis. For this reason, you are urged to make your reservations as far in advance of travel as possible. On the Accessible Travel Services page, information about special needs and accessibility is available about:
Did you know that service animals are not always dogs. They can include monkeys, cats, and small horses!
There is not a comprehensive list of what types of animals can be service animals. Animals, like people, have different temperaments, limitations, skills, and abilities. Thus, different types and breeds of animals may be trained to perform specific tasks. Matching a particular animal's skills and abilities to the tasks that need to be performed can be an important factor for a person with a disability when selecting a service animal.
Often, phrases are coined to describe the type of impairment or task a particular animal is assisting with-such as "signal dog," "hearing cat," "assistance monkey," "guide horse," and "seizure response dog."
National Association of Guide Dog Users Comments on Silent Hybrid Cars New
Traveling with service animals?
- The Pet Travel Policies for North America’s Top Airlines: Which Pets Are Allowed to Fly and How New
- Dog Friendly Get tips and specifics for your travel destination. They also recommend parks and animal-friendly hotels.
- Traveling Internationally with a Guide Dog or Service Animal from MIUSA Mobility International
- National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU) is a proud division of the National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of the blind in the United States. (NAGDU) is an organization for blind people who currently use guide dogs as mobility tools, those considering getting a guide dog, or those who want to learn more about the use of such dogs. We provide a forum for those interested in the guide dog movement to discuss common issues and to increase opportunities for those who have chosen to use a guide dog for independent travel. NAGDU works to promote sound practices in the training and use of such dogs for mobility by offering input and advice to guide dog training programs. We are also committed to educating business owners, law enforcement officers, and the general public about state and federal laws that give disabled people the right to be accompanied by their guide dogs. New
- Service animal resources Information from the assistivetech.net: National Public Website on Assistive Technology, Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA).
- TSA service animal travel recommendations Recommendations about service animals when traveling from the US Transport Security Administration.
- Traveling with Pets
- Animal Travel and Transport by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): Planning to transport your pets or other animals within the U.S. or internationally? If so, you will likely need a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI).
- People and Pets Dog Airlines LLC started by a 13-year old boy after a traumatic experience with his pet. "People and Pets Dog Airlines transports dogs and cats to any airport in the contiguous United States. We fly two weeks a month, we're safer and more convenient than cargo holds, and we're easier than driving! Pets are constantly monitored by our crewmembers, and our pilots can contact vets on the ground in case of any problems." As of March 1, 2015, they are also operating free flights with their charity program PAWfund.
- Traveling with Your Pet FAQ by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- PETA: Traveling With Companion Animals
- What to Know When Traveling With Your Pet, The New York Times
- United Airlines Bans Long List of Dog Breeds After a Number of Pet Deaths and Mix-Ups United Airlines will only accept cats and dogs for air travel and ban any short-nosed or snub-nosed dogs such as Pugs and French Bulldogs.
- 8 Most Dog Friendly Airlines and Their Pet Policies New
- The Best Airlines for Pet Travel New
- Airlines That Allow Large Dogs | USA Today New
Additional links about service animals
- Service Dogs in Wikipedia
- Fidos for Freedom Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for people in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan community by providing specially trained hearing dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs. Fidos also educates the public about individuals with disabilities and about the benefits of assistance dogs and therapy dogs and the work that these specially trained dogs do for individuals with disabilities, children with reading difficulties, and patients in health care facilities.
- Assistance Dogs International, Inc.. The global authority in the service dogs industry. Standards
- Assistive Pooches: Service Dogs
- Canadian Guide Dogs For The Blind / Chiens Guides Canadiens Pour Aveugles
- Epilepsy Ontario Service Dogs [Canada]
- Guide Dogs of America Guide Dogs of America provides guide dogs and instruction in their use, free of charge, to blind and visually impaired men and women from the United States and Canada.
- Guide Dogs for the Blind Association [United Kingdom]]
- Guide Dogs For The Blind (GDB) Guide Dogs for the Blind is more than an industry-leading guide dog school; we are a passionate community that serves the visually impaired. With exceptional client services and a robust network of trainers, puppy raisers, donors and volunteers, we prepare highly qualified guide dogs to serve and empower individuals who are blind or have low vision. All of our services are provided free of charge; we receive no government funding.
- Kansas Specialty Dog Service, Inc. changing lives one dog at a time.
- They Said What? (overheard conversations with the public on service dogs)
- Working Dog Breeds from K9 Research Lab
- WorkingDog Magazine Updated
- Therapeutic Horses
- Adaptive Riding – Horse
- Hippotherapy and Therapeutic/Adaptive Riding "Which one is best for my child?" by The Children's TherAplay Foundation, Inc. Through hippotherapy, specially-trained physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech/language pathologists apply the movement, rhythm, and repetition of the horse's movement as a treatment strategy to help patients achieve therapeutic goals. Using different combinations of patterns, speeds, and riding postures, highly-trained therapists are able to provide precisely the sensory and neurological input each child will benefit from most.Therapeutic / adaptive riding is a recreational activity that has been adapted for those with special needs and tend to be related to riding skills, confidence- and relationship-building, and emotional well-being. Updated
- Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program
- Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International), a federally-registered 501(c3) nonprofit, was formed in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for individuals with special needs.