By: Lisa Boren | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: May 2019
Veterans’ Ride Connect is a ground-breaking cooperative agency of transit providers who work together to provide veterans with safe, reliable and local transportation services across eastern Oklahoma.
Veterans’ Ride Connect has added a new transit provider to its consortium, allowing the agency to expand its transportation services for veterans to include four new counties, bringing the total counties served in eastern Oklahoma to 29.
The first of its kind in the state, Veterans’ Ride Connect is a ground-breaking cooperative agency of transit providers who work together to provide veterans with safe, reliable and local transportation services across eastern Oklahoma.
Veterans’ Ride Connect utilizes a state-of-the-art Mobility Management Center located in rural Oklahoma. The consortium established a one-call/one-click system that links its transit providers, so veterans with transportation needs anywhere in the service area have only one phone number to call to schedule a ride.
The Veterans’ Ride Connect consortium is comprised of the following public transits: Pelivan Transit, KI BOIS Area Transit (KATS), Cimarron Public Transit System, Muskogee County Transit Authority, Muscogee (Creek) Nation and, as of March 2019, Veterans’ Ride Connect welcomed JAMM Transit as the newest of its well-known and well-established transit providers.
All of the Veterans’ Ride Connect transit agencies use ADA-compliant vehicles, including mini vans and shuttle buses. Its drivers are also highly trained in wheelchair securement and all other aspects of transit safety.
JAMM Transit, a public transportation program of INCA Community Services, provides rural public transportation services in Johnston, Atoka, Marshall and Murray counties.
The addition of these four counties increases the Veterans’ Ride Connect service area to more than 29 counties across eastern Oklahoma. That’s 29 counties where more than 122,000 veterans reside who can benefit from the transportation services offered by Veterans’ Ride Connect.
These 29 counties include Adair, Atoka, Cherokee, Craig, Creek, Delaware, Haskell, Hughes, Johnston, Kay, Latimer, Le Flore, Marshall, Mayes, McIntosh, Murray, Muskogee, Nowata, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pittsburg, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington. Veterans’ Ride Connect also serves a portion of Seminole County.
JAMM Transit has provided transportation resources to the Veterans Center in Sulphur for many years; however, the transit provider recognized that veterans in its service area were still in need of transportation to other veterans’ centers throughout the state. Joining Veterans’ Ride Connect allows JAMM Transit to help even more veterans meet their transportation needs and ensure they have the resources needed to maintain health and well-being.
“Since Veterans’ Ride Connect is proving to be a viable resource for veterans with transportation needs in eastern Oklahoma,” said a JAMM Transit representative. “JAMM is excited for this opportunity to join its network.”
In 2018, the consortium partners provided more than 16,000 trips for veterans. As it works to meet its goal to provide safe and reliable transportation to enhance the quality of life for veterans living in eastern Oklahoma, Veterans’ Ride Connect continues to collaborate and build partnerships with other transit services throughout the eastern half of the state.
Veterans’ Ride Connect transportation services are provided to all veterans regardless of age or financial status. Any person who has served in a military force is considered to be a veteran.
Veterans’ Ride Connect will coordinate with any medical facility, as well as Veterans Administration clinics and hospitals. The agency will also work with Veterans Transportation Services (VTS) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
There are fees for the transportation services, but an ongoing goal of the consortium is to bring veterans’ costs down through donations and grants.
All of the Veterans’ Ride Connect transit agencies use ADA-compliant vehicles, including minivans and shuttle buses. Also, its drivers are highly trained in wheelchair securement and all other aspects of transit safety.