RideAustin rolls out new programs to help area veterans

RideAustin is introducing a new partnership that will provide veterans free rides to and from medical and mental health appointments.

“We want to do what we can to support our veterans,” said Bobbi Kommineni with RideAustin.

The partnership between Bluebonnet Trails Community Services and RideAustin will help those unable to access services.

Rides to healthcare facilities will be free for vets in Austin, Cedar Park, Round Rock Pflugerville and Williamson County. “As folks come back from their service they have various needs and transportation, in many ways, has become a barrier to them,” Kommineni said.

For at least the next year, the free rides will be offered to vets who qualify through Bluebonnet.

Drivers will transport vets to eligible health services locations. “Many veterans don't have access to the transportation they need to get to those appointments and so we're going to partner with Bluebonnet and provide transportation for those veterans,” said Kommineni.

A second program called Ride with a Veteran will run from Thursday to Sunday this week only.

“One of the things that we wanted to do is honor the many RideAustin drivers who are also U.S. military veterans,” Kommineni said.

Customers who want to request a veteran driver can opt in on their cellphone.

“We have our veterans button in the app and riders can request a ride with a U.S. military veteran as a way to say thank you for your service to our country,” said Kommineni.

RideAustin currently has about 150 veterans signed up to drive for their network.

The ride hailing company will match any tips given to drivers during the Ride with a Veteran program and donate the money to a local veteran charity.

RideAustin will also give $35,000 in contributions to Bluebonnet to keep the veterans medical program going.