Several weeks ago the El Paso VA made significant upgrades to its free Veteran Transportation Service.
The program began in 2015, and provides veterans a ride to and from their VA appointments. The program also brings veterans to outside locations, since the VA refers veterans to outside practices.
“The vans are ADA approved,” transportation coordinator Adrian Orozco said. “They can pick up nine ambulatory people, two wheelchairs and one power scooter.”
The new upgrade to the program came toward the end of October. “The computer program shows us more of the numbers and the capability of veterans being able to request rides via phone or computer,” Orozco said. VA officials say it’s similar to other ride sharing applications. “Once they log on it will show them step-by-step how to request a ride."
The drivers of the vans now have tablets that tell them which veterans need to be picked up, when they need to be picked up and the quickest route to the veteran’s home.
Veterans enrolled in the program will receive text messages and emails from the VA letting them know when the van is on its way and when it is outside their home.
“The ultimate goal is to take in as many veterans as possible,” Orozco said, “and to get them to their appointments on time and to bring them whenever possible on a daily basis, Monday through Friday.”
The program is available to all veterans, as long as they live within a 50-mile radius of the VA.
VA officials say more than 1,200 veterans are enrolled in the program and provide about 18 to 24 rides a day; however, they hope the new upgrade will bring more veterans into the program.
“If anyone is looking for a ride don’t hesitate to call us at the office,” Orozco said. "It’s a free service.”
If you would like register call Veteran Transportation Services at 915-564-6114