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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 04:57 PM ET, 09/15/2011

Amtrak raises age for unaccompanied minors


(Peter Haley - AP)
Amtrak is changing its policy for allowing unaccompanied minors to travel on its trains.

The most surprising part of the policy, which sets the age as 13, may be that previously the railroad allowed children ages 8 through 14 to travel as unaccompanied minors and allowed 15-year-olds to accompany children of any age.

Under the new guidelines, which take effect Nov. 1, unaccompanied minors 13 to 15 can travel on their own as along as certain conditions are met, while children 16 and 17 years old are exempt. Anyone 12 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.

“This is not a response to any incidents,” said Jeff Snowden, Amtrak’s senior director of service delivery. “Rather, as record numbers of passengers are riding Amtrak trains, we are taking this action out of an abundance of concern for the comfort and safety of all our customers.”

Travel for unaccompanied minors includes the following conditions, according to the policy:

• The minor can only travel on Amtrak trains.

• The scheduled departure may be no earlier than 5:30 a.m.; arrivals no later than 9:05 p.m.

• Transfers aren’t permitted.

• Boarding and arrival stations must be staffed.

• An adult must bring the child to the station.

• Station personnel must interview the child.

Weigh in by posting a comment below: How old would your child have to be before you would allow him to travel as an unaccompanied minor?

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