Helping those who served: New veterans’ bus service in central Oregon

Whether it’s getting to a medical appointment somewhere in the tri-county area surrounding Bend or catching a ride to pick up a prescription in Klamath County, veterans in central Oregon are getting more options for travel, and the price is right, too: free. 

Cascades East Transit is offering the new service in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties and on the Warm Springs Reservation. Veterans Healthcare Transportation Service, or VHTS, provides rides for free to healthcare-related destinations. In Klamath County, where more than 7,000 veterans live, a similar service is offered by Basin Transit.

“This is a great example of regional partners coming together to improve the quality of life for those who have served, and we’re proud to be able to help,” said ODOT Region 4 Transit Coordinator Theresa Conley. The program is funded and managed through a partnership between the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and ODOT.

ODOT Veteran Transport Bus
One of the Basin Transit Service’s buses that will be used for transporting veterans for free to health-care related appointments honors Lt. David Kingsley, for whom Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls is named.

When the new service was announced on Veterans Day, Basin Transit Service Chair Erik Nobel praised Klamath County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot and BTS General Manager Adrian Mateos for pursuing the idea – one that was well worth the effort.

“This is just a small token [of appreciation] that BTS can provide – these free rides – for those who sacrificed for our country,” Nobel said.