Rural Transportation

Idea#6

Stage: Active

Campaign: For Individual Participants: Overcoming Barriers

Living in a rural community, we find the greatest challege our veterans face is finding transportation to the services they need. There is public transportation in only one city. We developed a program to provide volunteer transportation, yet it receives no funding. We rely soley on donations and grants. Rural transportation is a serious issue in allowing our veterans to access medical services, mental health services, jobs, social services and access to Veteran Centers. Funding needs to go to these types of providers out in the field providing the services our veterans need.

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  1. The idea was posted

Comments

  1. Comment
    heather

    I agree. Rural transportation to support communities is hard to come by for non-profits and volunteers. We're competing over a couple thousand dollars. People live outside the city for afforadability, but can't afford to access services. Veterans especially need care as well as the elderly who have aged in place...often veterans themselves.

  2. Comment
    jwarriner ( Idea Submitter )

    You are so right. Many elders are veterans who are trying to age in place and cannot get to needed services.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      Community Member

      Thank you for you comment. We have are in the same situation where I'm from, and we are trying to get the VA to contract our local government office of "Vocational Rehabilitation" to use their vans for our veterans.

  3. Comment
    Karen Wolf-Branigin

    Volunteer transportation is a lifeline for so many people. Have you been able to include vehicles with ramps or lifts for military community members who need them?

  4. Comment
    jwarriner ( Idea Submitter )

    We do have one wheelchair van, but it so very expensive to run. It is cheaper to use our dollars to hire a wheelchair service for the seniors and veterans who need it.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      Community Member

      this is not true, a minivan with ramp is usable by many and costs are minimal. the van services are rude, crude and expensive, EVERY vehicle used should be an accessible vehicle. pawning this off is the easy way out and when it comes time to actually try and get service we are told "Sorry we're out of money for that.

      Bob

  5. Comment
    Community Member

    The veterans here in American Samoa have no type of transportation service at all. There are a couple of vans on Island that are accessable that belongs to the "Vocational Rehabilitation" office, and I was wondering if it's possible for the VA to contract (VR) services to transport our veteran population to their appointments.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      mobilitymanagementa

      That's a great idea, especially if the vans sit empty at times, it could be a win-win if the VA were to contibute financially. You should make this an "idea" (click "submit new idea") so that it can be discussed on its own track.

  6. Comment
    Rik Opstelten

    It can be helpful in situations where there are few resources, but many organizations or people interested in support a service, to coordinate and share costs. The example mentioned above, of the VR agency’s accessible van makes me wonder if it might not be possible for a group of organizations to approach VR about buying into the use of the vehicle. Hopefully the vehicle’s time is not fully booked, and the financial support of such contracting can be shared.

  7. Comment
    jwarriner ( Idea Submitter )

    The comment above that states that every vehicle should be accessible. In an ideal world that would be the perfect solution, however, our program relies on volunteer drivers that use their own vehicles. Unfortunately, many of them drive small vehicles or are somewhat older and cannot transfer clients. You are certainly right about the money part. Pots of money come and go- we are forever trying to raise funding for this program. We are a private non-profit- not a DOT agency, so we rely on a few vans and 350 volunteer drivers to cover a vast rural part of the state.No federal funding there.

  8. Comment
    Community Member

    Totally agree. Transportation for rural veterans will not change until the DOD & VA sit down with rural veterans to learn about the needs. In California the main transportation focus is on San Diego, Los Angels, San Francisco & Sacremento, DOD & VA must learn that rural veterans aslo have a very unique transportation need. Set down with us and see what our needs are, then lets work together to resolve the issues.

  9. Comment
    hrtreat

    Considering their resources, the DAV does a respectable job of providing transportation by van from rural areas to VA medical centers. The Transportation Dept. should find ways to give additional support to this DAV project; paying the volunteer drivers a small stipend would help. Publicizing the van schedules would help also as some veterans are unaware of the service.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      mobilitymanagementa

      I agree about the stipend. Also, expanding the service to provide curb-to-curb service for all veterans. The DAV could join forces with other transportation providers to increase the level of service for veterans as well as the general populace.

    2. Comment
      Brent Paulsen

      Publicizing DAV van schedules is a great idea. Do most DAV/VA transportation services run on a fixed schedule or on an as needed basis?

  10. Comment
    suzanne.oneill

    Sharing resources, especially for long-distance medical trips is very important because rural transportation resources are so limited and trips are so long. Help people in the field understand how to share resources by working across programs. For example, VA and Medicaid passengers riding on the same vehicle; or allowing for some payment to other programs to cover costs (whether a stipend to a volunteer driver or a fee for service).

  11. Comment
    Clifford Hymowitz

    Providing operating funding for agencies that provide an existing service will not meet the need. The agencies that provide services need operating assistance to enable them to contract out to utilize the capacity not being used by agencies that do provide transportation.

  12. Comment
    lwilke

    As mobility manager for a very rural county, I have developed a volunteer driver program which our county veterans services uses as well. One problem we have is that we can not double up rides with the public and veterans because of the vet admin. rules. If we could double up trips we could maximise the minimal funding we receive to expand our program into other rural communities in the region.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      mobilitymanagementa

      This sounds wrong to me for several reasons. First of all, Delaware County NY, the most rural county in NY, has been coordinating rides between the DAV and Medicaid. Second, especially if you're using volunteers, and if you're using tax-payer money, every effort should be made to coordinate rides to minimize volunteer burnout while maximizing services provided. Please keep us updated!

  13. Comment
    Clifford Hymowitz

    I am in total agreement that your sitation does not make sense. Would you provide me with the VA guidlines that prevents you from offering shared rides. Thank You