Dec. 9—Why it matters: Beaumont veterans can now ride city buses for free.
More veterans will have the opportunity to benefit from free rides on the Beaumont public transit system.
On Tuesday, the Beaumont City Council unanimously voted to expand the Qualified Zip Veterans Pass Program to waive Beaumont Zip transit fares for all veterans.
In September, the council voted to allow waived Zip ride fees to veterans in conjunction with the Southeast Texas Stand Down 2023 event. During that meeting, U.S. Army Veteran Mary Williams suggested the council consider allowing veterans to always ride public transit for free.
"On ( Nov. 7), Zip, formerly known as Beaumont Municipal Transit System, requested authorization to establish the Qualified Veterans Pass Program for qualified veterans to receive waived fares to both fixed route and paratransit transportation services," according to a memo to council form Assistant City Manager for Community Service Chris Boone. "The original proposal defined a qualified veteran as a person who served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces who has an eligible disability and/or received a Medal of Valor honor."
From there, the city worked on council's behest to expand the program to all veterans.
Zip will now partner with the Veterans Administration Office to confirm veterans' eligibility records, according to the memo.
"We want to make it as easy as possible to make sure that all veterans can take advantage of the program," Boone said, "We'll work with the Veterans Administration to again make it as easy as possible."
The memo states that each veteran who enrolls into the program will get a Veterans Pass free of charge. The passholder will show it to the bus driver before boarding to have their fare waived.
Williams spoke in favor of passing the amendment during a public hearing at Tuesday's meeting.
"Myself being a veteran of 21 years, this speaks really deep to my heart and I hope that we can finally get some transportation means for our veterans that are not able to maybe have their own personal vehicles and that public transportation will be available to them," Williams said.
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