June 14 2018
For millions of veterans, public transportation provides essential mobility that helps them return to civilian life. We’ve heard from vets who ride public transit to connect with family and friends, access health care and reach work. For vets who can’t drive—due to age or disability—public transportation is often their only mobility option.
Our Voices for Public Transit community is proud to include veterans who have shared their own stories about the benefits of public transportation.
For Michelle, a veteran in Melbourne, Florida, public transit helps her travel—and helps her family as well.
“If it weren’t for public transportation, how would I get my loved ones from their homes to their appointments?” she said. “They can’t afford cabs, and they’re too far to walk.”
William of Ft. Worth, Texas—a veteran with a 100 percent service-connected disability—is able to carry out his duties as a preacher because of public transportation.
“Being unable to drive, I completely need public transportation to get to church and visit parishioners,” he told us.
America’s public transit systems have welcomed veterans into their workforce—at every career level. One of our nation’s fastest-growing transit systems—the Los Angeles Metro—is led by U.S. Army veteran Philip Washington.
“The public transportation industry has a welcome mat out for returning veterans,” said Washington.
VIA—San Antonio’s transit system—has filled many of its vacancies with veterans.
“I’m proud to say that one out of every four VIA employees is a military veteran,” explained Sergio Gonzalez, VIA’s Recruitment and Outreach Administrator and a veteran himself.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) provides a portal to help connect veterans with jobs in transportation, including public transit. Many skills developed in the military—from technical and mechanical know-how to leadership—transfer to careers in public transportation.
Many public transit systems around the country honor and serve America’s veterans and active service members by providing free or discounted rides. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides grants to help improve access to transportation options, including public transit, through the Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative (VTCLI).
The evolving need for transportation options requires funding. This is especially true for rural American communities—home to one-third of our nation’s veterans. A 2017 study from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found transit brings numerous benefits to rural communities and demand for rural public transportation is rising.
The 2018 federal budget provided increased funding for addressing transportation challenges in rural America—funding that will help veterans and their communities. But we need to keep this momentum going in next year’s budget, as well as support public transit investment in any infrastructure legislation.