San Luis Obispo, CA - Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23) has announced that the Central Coast Volunteer Veterans Shuttle, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will begin offering volunteer shuttle service for veterans with appointments at the Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo VA clinics.
Capps requested the VA support a shuttle service for veterans using its northern clinics, and has worked with the VA's Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System for years on a public-private partnership approach to add additional transportation options for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County veterans.
"This announcement is wonderful news for our Central Coast veterans. We have a sacred obligation to them and this shuttle service will help make their lives a little easier. Vets Express and Ride-On Transportation have done remarkable work in our communities to address the gap in services, and I'm honored to have help ensure they will be receiving support from the federal government to continue their essential work," said Capps.
"It's absolutely a blessing that people saw the need and the people have responded," Greg Shearer, Founder of VetsExpress.
"We are so excited to have a partner that will help us provide more rides for the same amount of money. Particularly since the program has grown so much we are happy to have partner" said Mark Shaffer, Executive Director, Ride-On Transportation.
"The Central Coast Volunteer Veterans Shuttle's availability remedies a long term transportation problem for our region's veteran heroes of missing out on VA Clinic medical appointments due to lack of personal resources. Our transportation project has been and will continue to be an ongoing collaboration between two separate entities, the private sector of local Military Service Organizations initiated by the DAV, and the VA government sector. Our combined efforts illuminate what two caring regional entities can achieve through partnering," said Milt Baston, San Luis Obispo, DAV Memorial Chapter Commander.
The VA has purchased four vans for use by the volunteer shuttle drivers, and will cover the vans' fuel and maintenance costs. The VA will also provide a full time staff member to manage the program starting in November. VetsExpress will continue to provide the volunteer drivers.
The Central Coast Volunteer Veterans Shuttle (CCVVS) will begin operating on October 15, 2012, Monday-Friday. Veterans will need to arrange for shuttle service through their local VA Clinic five business days prior to their appointments. For San Luis Obispo VA Clinic appointments, phone (805)543-1233 and for the Santa Maria VA Clinic call (805)354-6000.
A summary of the routes of the new shuttle vans are included below.
Alpha Van: Departs from Paso Robles Vets Hall, travels North to San Miguel, west to Cambria, east to Shandon, south to Atascadero, arriving at San Luis Obispo clinic.
Bravo Van: Departs from San Luis Obispo Vets Hall, travels West to Morro Bay, east to Santa Margarita, south to Arroyo Grande, north to Santa Maria, arriving at Santa Maria clinic.
Charlie Van: Departs Santa Maria Clinic, travels North to Nipomo, west to Guadalupe/Casmalia, south to Orcutt, arriving at Santa Maria clinic.
Delta Van: Departs Lompoc Vets, travels northwest VAFB, northeast to Lompoc, east to Buellton/Solvang, north to Santa Maria, arriving at Santa Maria clinic.
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