Local veterans seeking care at the VA Bedford Healthcare System will soon have access to free door-to-door ride service with the launch of the MeVa Transit’s VA Bedford mediMeVa.
The mini bus service begins Jan. 2 and runs Wednesdays and Fridays by reservation, with one trip to Bedford in the morning and one return in the afternoon.. Bob Snow, Rowley’s MeVa Advisory Board member championed the new service.
“Being a Marine veteran, Rowley’s representative to the MeVa advisory board and a member of the Paratransit Committee, I was excited that MeVa’s operations team was able to turn this idea into service so quickly. I was proud to join my fellow board members in voting to start the VA Bedford mediMeVa in January to help our region’s veterans who have given so much in service to our country.”
The MeVa Transit Advisory Board unanimously approved the mediMeVa service last Thursday.
The idea of service to VA Bedford came through conversations between MeVa and Vision Committee members of the Merrimack Valley Veterans Collaborative. Each month, the Veterans Collaborative brings together veterans service officers and other community organizations that serve veterans. They observed a transportation service gap for Veterans and their families who required access to the VA Bedford Healthcare System.
AgeSpan Community Outreach Program Manager Christina Penna, who oversees the Veterans Collaborative thanked the bus company for “providing more transportation options for our deserving veterans.”
Veterans will be picked up at their homes or other origination point within MeVa’s service area and ride with others to Bedford. Hours are flexible and will vary depending on the appointment times of the riders. Veterans and families may register by calling the miniMeVa office at 978-469-6878 option #3. Reservations must be made at least one week in advance and no more than 14 days in advance.
Patrick Kirby, public affairs officer of the VA Bedford Health Care System, said the offering “not only improves access to medical appointments, but also enables veterans to take advantage of the VA’s many community-building offerings. From our free produce market, recreational therapy classes and healthy cooking classes, these programs help strengthen the bonds between Veterans and provide holistic support beyond healthcare.”