By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Veterans are now free to move about the county at a discount rate thanks to Omnitrans’ new veterans fare. A 50 percent discount on all bus passes (sbX, OmniGo, and regular bus routes) is offered to retired U.S. military personnel with valid ID. Veterans can receive their Military Veteran ID card from San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs, click here to access the application at www.sbcounty.gov/va or call 866-4SB-VETS.
“It’s our way of saying thanks to those who have served to protect our freedom,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham, himself a veteran of the US Marine Corps.
In addition, Omnitrans will provide free rides to uniformed active-duty military members, police, and firefighters. Omnitrans joins other Inland Empire transit agencies and over 1,000 businesses in San Bernardino County that offer veterans discounts including: Victor Valley Transit Agency, Mountain Transit, Pass Transit, and Riverside Transit Agency.
“This [fare change] will have a big impact on affordability for our veterans,” Osvaldo Maysonet said. Maysonet, a Veterans Specialist of 211 San Bernardino County and former Marine sergeant who served in the Iraq war, helped lead the new fare proposal after hearing concerns from fellow veterans about the need for inexpensive transportation. “We have many vets in San Bernardino County who are dealing with low income or no income. Access to affordable transportation will connect them with education, healthcare and employment opportunities and possibly help them to become taxpayers again,” (from Omnitrans.org).
Approximately 175,000 veterans live in the county according to San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs. To date, the San Bernardino County VA has issued over 4,000 Military Veteran ID cards that help ensure veterans are easily recognizable to area businesses that offer a benefit such as a discount, a free item, or preferred status.
With a county-issued Military Veteran ID card, veterans no longer need to carry a copy of their military discharge papers to prove their Veteran status, nor do they need to go to the Loma Linda V.A. hospital to apply for an ID card which may or may not be issued.
“This program has been beneficial to San Bernardino County businesses and, most important, our veterans,” Bill Moseley, County of San Bernardino Veterans Affairs Director, said. “We are grateful to all of our local businesses who have shown their support of our veterans community.”
The ID cards also assist those who may be eligible for federal monetary benefits that the VA helps veterans and their families receive. San Bernardino County VA secured $85 million in federal benefits for military veterans in the last fiscal year, the most of any county in California.
“The County of San Bernardino aims to ensure our veterans receive the recognition, honor and support they deserve. Thank you to the organizations that have stepped up to the plate and have shown their appreciation and humble gratitude through these valuable benefits,” Supervisor Josie Gonzales said.