DES MOINES, Iowa – Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority extends pilot program and allows veterans to ride for free until the end of 2018.
DART said veterans rode the buses 8,450 times during the month of May.
Veteran Charles Davis said he has been riding DART for 18 years. “It gets me where I want to go, and I can plan my trip a day early.”
DART Marketing and Communications Manager Erin Hockman said veterans are eligible to ride for free with at least 90 days of active duty and honorable discharge on his or her DD-214.
“We knew we had a lot of veterans using DART to get to work, to get to medical appointments, to do their shopping but we really didn’t know going into that program what the ridership will look like. When we saw the numbers and saw how many people were using it we knew that it would be beneficial to extend the program long term,” Hockman said.
Veterans will need to present a valid identification for the free ride. Valid ID’s include:
- Veteran Affairs hospital card
- Retired military service ID
- Iowa license with veteran status
- Veteran Affairs photo ID
Veterans who do not have a valid identification can go to the Polk County River Place and a VA staff member can create a photo ID.
“I think it is about time that they start recognizing the veterans now,” Davis said.
Hockman said a new route will be added later in August.
“We do have a service change coming up in August where we will be adding our first every crosstown route in northeast Des Moines. Being able to enhance service, particularly in an area in the community that is along the Veteran Affairs hospital We know we have a lot of veterans who travel throughout the community in that area and being able to do so without having to come downtown will really shorten their commute,” Hockman said.
Hockman said DART will continue to monitor how many veterans use its service.