Omnitrans held public meetings at its San Bernardino facility Wednesday to gather comments regarding a proposed fare policy change. The new policy would provide a discounted fare for Veterans and a free fare for Active Duty Military and Uniformed Police and Fire Officers.
Veterans Specialist Osvaldo Maysonet was on hand representing VetLink, an organization which helps connect veterans, active military, and their families with the services and destinations they rely on every day.
“This proposal will have a big impact on affordability for our veterans,” he said. “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.”
Maysonet pointed out that there is a huge pride factor in being acknowledged for your service. “Somebody recognizing you for your military service without you having to ask—it really feels good. The Veterans Committee is very appreciative of this kind of public recognition. We’ve seen the great example with RTA, and how the number of veterans using public transportation continues to climb thanks to their discounted fare.”
He strongly believes that the Omnitrans proposed fare policy will help also raise general awareness of public transportation among local veterans.
“Many of them have never considered taking public transit before,” Maysonet explained. “This will make them consider it and encourage them to become regular riders. And they will tell others. We love sharing with our brothers and sisters about perks that we receive because we’re vets. That spreads like wildfire.”
Omnitrans Service Planning Manager, Jeremiah Bryant said that the public comment response to the proposed fare has been overwhelmingly favorable. “The feedback we’ve gotten from the community is that our military men and women deserve this. They feel it is a small way we can give back to those who have given so much to our country.”