Almost 400,000 veterans live in Massachusetts, and the need for transportation support to access health care and other services is increasing, especially for aging veterans and those with long term injury. This resource sheet from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ Human Service Transportation (HST) Office has information for veterans and military families to learn about locally available transportation services. Click on the links below to learn about transportation services available to veterans in Massachusetts.
Here you will find links to resources on:
In addition to this information, it is also a good idea to check in with Local Veterans' Service Officers VSO) for assistance. Every city and town in Massachusetts has a VSO to help veterans learn about, apply for, and receive benefits for themselves and their dependents. To find the VSO serving your zip code, click here.
Massachusetts is fortunate to have an extensive public transit network serving most communities within the Commonwealth. Public Transit includes regularly scheduled fixed route services (buses, trains, and trolleys) and ADA Paratransit services for those eligible residents who can’t ride the subway or local fixed route buses due to a disability. ADA Paratransit Service is a shared ride service and must be scheduled in advance. Some transit authorities provide discounted rates or other special services for veterans. Many also provide expanded paratransit service and/or long distance medical trips to hospitals in Boston and Worcester from towns outside the MBTA service area. This brochure includes information about public transit services for veterans in Massachusetts. file size 3MB
- MBTA serves the Greater Boston area.
- Regional Transit Authorities serve most communities outside Greater Boston.
Examples of local public transit services helpful to veterans:
- Cape Cod: CCRTA provides Boston Hospital Transportation four days a week to 15 Boston area hospitals, including the VA. Advance reservation is required and the fare is $15 one way. A general public door-to-door Dial-A-Ride Transportation service is open to all residents and visitors for any purpose (medical, shopping, recreation, etc.) Fares are $3.00 one way or $1.50 one way for seniors and people with disabilities. Check the Boston Hospital Transportation schedule and the Dial-a-Ride schedule for more details.
- Greater Attleboro-Taunton: GATRA offers a Boston Hospital Bus, MedWheels, and Miles for Health long distance medical transportation programs, including access to area VA hospitals, for eligible residents of certain communities. Check GATRA's special services for more details.
- Montachusett Area: MART Shuttle service is available to veterans, as well as the general public, to medical facilities in Worcester and Boston, including Bedford VA, Boston VA (Causeway St.), Jamaica Plain VA, and West Roxbury VA. Veterans must schedule 24 hours in advance for complimentary services. See MART's shuttle schedules for schedule and fare details.
- MetroWest RTA: MWRTA operates a shuttle service for veterans, their families and others who need to travel to the VA hospitals in West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. The shuttle operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from the MWRTA transportation hub in Framingham, with a pickup at the Natick VFW Post as well. Fare is $2 each way. Visit Veterans' Hospital shuttle or call 508-820-4650 for additional information or to schedule a trip.
- Lowell RTA: LRTA offers a medical shuttle on Wednesdays for seniors over 60 and for people with disabilities who qualify for ADA paratransit service. Eligible people can ride from Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, or Tewksbury to the Bedford VA Hospital or the Lahey Clinic in Burlington for $12.50 round trip, and to Boston area hospitals for $25 round trip. For more details see LRTA paratransit services or call (978) 459-0152.
- Southeastern RTA: SRTA offers a medical shuttle to Boston-area hospitals from New Bedford on Tuesdays and Fall River on Thursdays. Veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities living in Fall River, New Bedford, Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, Mattapoisett, Somerset, Swansea, or Westport may ride for $25 round trip. Veterans should contact their VSO to reserve a seat.
- Beneficiary Travel: The Veterans Health Administration can authorize reimbursements to eligible beneficiaries for mileage costs, costs for special transportation modes, or, in certain circumstances, the costs of taxis or hired cars to access covered medical care.
- Automobiles and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants: The Veterans Benefits Administration offers a one-time payment for purchasing a new or used car to accommodate a veteran or service member with certain disabilities or to install adaptive equipment.
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Volunteer VA Hospital Transportation: Volunteer drivers provide transportation from home to a VA facility or VA authorized care (e.g. dialysis clinic). The transportation coordinator at each VA hospital takes trip requests and matches them to a volunteer driver, if available. For example, the Rhode Island DAV operates shuttles from Hyannis and New Bedford to the Providence VA Hospital.
- VA operated shuttles:
- Nathan Hale: Located in Plymouth and Middleboro, the Nathan Hale Center provides regular transportation services to the Brockton and W. Roxbury VA Centers.
- The New England Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America provides transportation for veterans who do not qualify for VA transportation, who cannot access VA transportation, or who find that their transportation plans have fallen through. The Chapter provides transportation to medical appointments in the Boston, West Roxbury, and Brockton areas, and appointments do not have to be in VA facilities. The Chapter is based in Walpole and will provide transportation to veterans in many parts of the state in a wide radius around Walpole. At least 48 hours notice is required. Call (508) 660-1181 for more information
- Soldier On: This nonprofit organization partners with Congressman Richard Neal’s office to provide medical transportation for veterans in and around Pittsfield, North Adams, Leeds, and Lennox to the Northampton VA, the Albany VA, the Pittsfield VA Outpatient Clinic, and other medical facilities when possible. Veterans can also transfer to other medical shuttles run by the Northampton VA. Service is available free of charge Monday through Friday with advance notice, and rides are provided by volunteer drivers. Call Congressman Neal’s office at (413) 442-0946 to schedule a trip.
- VetRides: This service transports veterans who live in Hudson, Maynard, or Stow to medical appointments in the local area or in Boston free of charge. To learn more or request a ride, contact Brian Stearns at (978) 568-9635 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Veteran Outreach Centers: In addition to counseling and referral, some outreach centers provide transportation services.
- The Veterans’ Workforce Investment Program (VWIP) is a statewide program that addresses the unique needs of veterans seeking employment, training, job counseling and related services. Veterans’ representatives are located in each Massachusetts One-Stop Career Centers and the VWIP program can provide transportation assistance related to finding a job.
These options are becoming more popular and are worth checking out.
- Mass RIDES hosts a carpool ridesharing service oriented to regular employee commutes.
- Ride Buzz is a non-profit ridesharing program based in the Pioneer Valley.
- Ride Share Directory is a directory of national and regional online ride share sites.
- Carsharing is an option for people who need to drive sometimes, but not regularly enough to justify owning a car. Carshare members can rent cars by the hour or by the day. Carsharing companies operating in Massachusetts include:
- Senior/Disabled Transportation: Many local transit and community agencies also provide van services for elders and persons with disabilities. Check with your local transit authority, Councils on Aging (COA) or local senior center (or call 1-800-Age-Info). Council on Aging or Senior Center van services often include transportation between members' homes and the senior center, food and pharmacy shopping, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Veterans who are eligible for certain benefit programs such as MassHealth (Medicaid) or Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) may also be able to access transportation services through those programs.
- Volunteer Driver programs, such as through the American Cancer Society or local elder services agency.
- Accessible taxis that can hold wheelchairs are increasingly available across the state. If none is listed for your area, contact your local transit providers and cab companies.
- Community transportation services in Massachusetts may be able to transport you or help you arrange your trips
- MassRIDES is the statewide travel options program, with information about carpooling, bicycling, walking, public transportation, teleworking, and vanpooling. Call 888-4COMMUTE
- Travel Training and Bus Buddy Programs: If you are unsure about trying public transit, several transit authorities and community organizations offer training to help you learn the bus system and be safe and comfortable. Bus buddy programs offer a peer volunteer who will travel with you one or more times.
- Trip Planning Websites: These can be useful tools to help you map out a trip. Some, like Google Transit, allow you to do point-to-point trip planning as a driver, pedestrian or user of public transportation.
- Mass211 website or call 211 to find information about local resources, including transportation.
- The Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services offers a range of services for veterans.
- MassVetsAdvisor provides information about benefits for veterans and their families in Massachusetts.
This list of healthcare transportation options may help you find transportation to your local and long-distance healthcare appointments.
- The Massachusetts Veterans Transportation Coalition is a collaborative effort to increase awareness of – and to improve – our veterans’ transportation options.
Massachusetts Veterans Transportation Coalition (MVTC)
- The Massachusetts Veterans Transportation Coalition has developed tools for Veterans Service Officers and other people who work with veterans to use to inform veterans of transportation services available to them. Hand these materials out to veterans, post them on your website, and hang them around town.
- Information for employers on hiring veterans
This report discusses state activities to help veterans access transportation in Massachusetts and across the country
This information is provided by Human Service Transportation Office