DES MOINES, Iowa – Veterans ride for free on Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority for the month of May.
Polk County Veterans Affairs and DART partnered together to honor veterans' service to our country with the free rides.
DART Communications Manager Erin Hockman said this is the first-time veterans are offered free rides for the full month of May.
“Our goal really is to just provide a good service to veterans to ensure they can get to where they need to go around the metro. We are hoping that veterans will take advantage of the program. We will see what the ridership looks like and then determine if we can offer a more long-term program from there,” Hockman said.
Veterans with at least 90 days of active duty service and honorable discharge listed on their DD-214 are eligible. Veterans will need to show a valid identification when boarding.
Valid IDs include:
- Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital card
- Retired military service ID
- Iowa license with veterans status
- Veterans Affairs (VA) photo ID
Polk County Administrator for Veterans Affairs Rebecca Buch said the free rides will allow veterans to get to medical appointments easier, help keep a job and secure housing.
“If you know that you can get up and go to a bus stop and don’t have to worry about the weather or any other conditions, yeah that’s an important thing. A lot of our veterans are maybe a little disabled and stuff, so it’s nice for them to be able to just hop on the bus and go,” Buch said.
Hockman said last year DART offered free rides on Veteran’s Day and received positive feedback.
“One veteran who uses our system for example, a young woman. We spoke with her last year around Veterans Day and she suffers from PTSD, so she does not drive and uses DART to get everywhere where she needs to go,” Hockman said.
Hockman said DART will collect data and track how many veterans use the free service during May.
In addition, another who boards a DART bus in May with a bike can ride for free. Each bus fits up to two bikes.