In the News

A healthy ride for AV veterans

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Washington, August 30, 2018 | Chris Jusuf (202-225-1956) | comments
August 30, 2018

LANCASTER - The Antelope Valley Transit Authority implemented the addition of a new stop on the 786 Commuter Route, which now services the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center.

To celebrate the new service, which provides greater access to health care for local veterans and active duty service members, Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, joined a few representatives from various branches of the armed forces Wednesday morning on a trip aboard the bus down to the VA facility, at 11301 Wilshire Blvd.

"I'm grateful for the commitment of the Antelope Valley Transit Authority with regards to assisting our veterans. Ensuring that our local heroes receive the medical treatment they need from the VA is a passion of mine," Knight said. "This new service being offered by AVTA will allow many veterans to travel to the West LA Medical Center for treatment without having to worry about finding a ride."

Rep. Knight and the veterans, along with regular commuter passengers on their way down to Los Angeles, enjoyed a comfortable ride and free Wi-Fi on AVTA's air-conditioned 45-foot bus. The agency operates a fleet of 30 commuter buses, making daily trips from Lancaster and Palmdale down to Los Angeles, Century City and the San Fernando Valley. With the Antelope Valley's large veteran and active duty military population, the connection to the largest veteran facility in the VA health care system provides a much-needed transportation solution.

U.S. Army veterans Juan Blanco and Ken Felton, U.S. Marine Corps veterans Kevin Sanders and Lester Gilbert, and U.S. Air Force veteran Tom White joined Knight on the trip.

"This trip has been great, and very educational in helping us to better serve our veteran clients at MHA. In addition to helping them find housing and other resources, this bus service to the VA will definitely help us in getting them to the health care services they need," said Felton, who is also a field representative for Mental Health America.

The AVTA governing board approved the service change at its July 24 meeting. The service changes went into effect. Aug. 20.

"The Antelope Valley has a rich history associated with military service, and the health and welfare of our local veterans and active duty military continue to be a priority for us as a board," AVTA Board Chairman Marvin Crist said. "Making sure that they have a convenient and affordable transportation option to the VA is one way we can show our gratitude and appreciation for their service to our country."

With a cost of $10.50 round-trip, veterans and active duty personnel with military I.D. or an AVTA-issued military card can take the bus from Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park in Lancaster at 4, 4:30, 4:50, 5:20 and 5:40 a.m. and the Palmdale Transportation Center at 4:15, 4:50, 5:10, 5:35 and 6 a.m. Returns trips to the Antelope Valley will depart the VA at 3:18, 3:48, 4:28, 4:48 and 5:25 p.m.

In the event that health care services extend beyond the time frame of return departures, AVTA and the Veterans Administration will work together to ensure that patient has transportation back home to the Antelope Valley.
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