Public transportation is a critical service for veterans across the country whether they are traveling to work, attending school, or going to a medical appointment.
“We owe our veterans a profound debt of gratitude. While many public transit systems honor service members on Veterans Day, they also provide an important lifeline for veterans every day,” said APTA Chair and Jacksonville Transportation Authority Chief Executive Officer, Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. “Public transportation agencies work with veteran and community organizations on a regular basis to identify transportation solutions for veterans to get to and from VA hospitals and other locations.”
Metro Transit (Minneapolis, MN) has train and bus stops at the VA Medical Center. The light rail stop is named the VA Medical Center, since it is located nearby. One of Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (Dallas, TX) earliest rail stations is the VA Medical Center Station, which is located by the region’s largest VA hospital. Tri Delta Transit (Antioch, CA) has a special brochure that identifies which bus goes to the VA hospital. This brochure is distributed locally to Veterans halls, Veteran Foreign Wars lodges, the VA Hospital, and local veterans organizations. The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (Canton, OH) has a partnership with the Stark County Veterans Service Commission for the operation of a bus route that goes to the VA hospital in Cleveland. The service is free to veterans and their travel companion who are going to the VA hospital for medical appointments. Since 2013, more than 45,000 rides have been provided.
“According to the recently released report by APTA, Public Transportation’s Impact on Rural and Small Towns, there are 2.9 million veterans living in rural and small towns, making up 33 percent of the veteran population enrolled in the VA health care system,” said Acting APTA President and CEO Richard A. White. “Public transit services help them access needed help and opportunities.”
Public transportation agencies partner with local veterans organizations to provide services to veterans year-round. Here are a few examples of partnerships that public transit agencies who serve rural veterans are doing. The Coast RTA (Conway, SC) partners with AARP’s Veterans Stand-down, one of the largest Stand-down events in the southeast. By providing free rides to the Veterans Stand-down, individuals can go to a job fair and receive other services such as free haircuts, flu shots, legal advice, and clothing. Laketran (Painesville, OH) has a longstanding partnership with Lake County Veterans Service Commission and Lake County Commissioners to provide free Dial-a-Ride transportation to Lake County veterans to the veterans medical facilities and offices.
Some public transit systems have generously donated vehicles to veteran organizations. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (San Jose, CA) has donated four of its community buses to the Homeless Veterans Emergency Housing Facility in San Jose. Spokane Transit (Spokane, WA) recently donated a van to the local Veterans’ Administration to transport veterans with disabilities.
Some public transit systems offer reduced or free fares for veterans year-round. Listen to the story of one veteran who was the recipient of free monthly bus passes, thanks to a partnership between the Monterey-Salinas Transit and the Veterans Transition Center of Monterey County. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ5sqIdJZ7Q
According to an informal survey conducted by APTA, the following systems offer reduced fare or free service to veterans: Capital District Transportation Authority (Albany, NY); Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (Birmingham, AL); Chicago Transit Authority (Chicago, IL); Pace Suburban Bus (Arlington Heights, IL); Metra (Chicago, IL); Antelope Valley Transit Authority (Lancaster, CA); Metro Transit (Minneapolis, MN); Monterey-Salinas Transit (Monterey, CA); New Jersey Transit (Newark, NJ); Gold Coast Transit (Oxnard, CA); Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (Peoria, IL); South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Pompano Beach, FL); St. Cloud Metro Bus (St. Cloud, MN); Omnitrans (San Bernardino, CA); Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (Tampa, FL).
On Veterans Day, many transit systems will honor veterans in their workforce and in their communities.
Below is a sampling of activities that public transportation systems across the country are holding for Veterans Day to show their support for veterans.
According to an informal survey conducted by APTA, some public transit systems are offering free fares for veterans on Veterans Day this year in the following communities: Golden Empire Transit (Bakersfield, CA); Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (Birmingham, AL); Stark Area Regional Transit (Canton, OH); Central Ohio Transit Authority (Columbus, OH); The Coast RTA (Conway, SC); TransIT Services of Frederick County (Frederick, MD); Antelope Valley Transit Authority (Lancaster, CA); Capital Area Transportation Authority (Lansing, MI); Denton County Transportation Authority (Lewisville, TX); Memphis Area Transit Authority (Memphis, TN); Mountain Line Transit Authority (Morgantown, WV); Gold Coast Transit (Oxnard, CA); Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (Peoria, IL); Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (Reno, NV); St. Cloud Metro Bus (St. Cloud, MN); Bus Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (St. Petersburg, FL); Omnitrans (San Bernardino, CA); Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (St. Petersburg, FL); San Joaquin Transit District (Stockton, CA); Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (Tampa, FL); C-TRAN (Vancouver, WA). The states of Rhode Island and Delaware are also providing free rides for their statewide service.
Some public transit systems are hosting a Veterans Day luncheon for their employees. Jacksonville Transportation Authority (Jacksonville, FL) is doing a number of activities to recognize employees who served in the military, including creating a video of employees that will be shared on social media platforms and inviting some veteran employees to the JAX Chamber Military Appreciation Luncheon. LA Metro (Los Angeles, CA), Regional Transportation District (Denver, CO) and Capital District Transportation Authority (Albany, NY) will have luncheons for employees that have served in the military. The Central Ohio Transit Authority (Columbus, OH) will host a recognition ceremony for all employees who are veterans. Afterwards, the veterans will walk in the Columbus Veterans Day Parade with a specially wrapped bus. Likewise, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (Dallas, TX) will march in the Dallas Veterans Parade, one of the nation’s largest veterans parades, alongside a DART bus.
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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.