JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Two local agencies, One Call and Patriot Services Group, are working together to help meet the transportation needs of veterans across the First Coast, especially those who are homebound.
On Tuesday, On Your Side met Navy veteran Dennis McDowell who is legally blind and homebound, or unable to drive on his own.
McDowell, 78, relied on the city bus and friends to get around, but that has changed.
"I found out that you can only have so many friends, most of my friends are dead," said McDowell.
JTA is now working with McDowell to meet his needs, but his story caught the attention of Patriot Services Group, which is now expanding its transportation service for veterans.
"We just visited with the city's military affairs and veterans, and we are starting to pilot a program to broaden our reach to not just homeless veterans but underserved like the gentleman," said Jeremy Smith.
Smith, a Marine, said Patriot Services Group opened its doors six months ago and has already served 300 homeless veterans with more than three-thousand rides. He said the goal is to reach those other veterans who are underserved.
"So for the first 30 to 60 days, we are going to test this program with the city," he said.
It is a collaborative effort with One Call, a workers comp company. It developed a rideshare partnership with Lyft called Relay ride. Patriot Services Group now uses that program to help veterans.
"This program works so well in workers comp, it absolutely applied to other areas like for veterans," said Linda Colsen, Vice President of Customer Care at One Call. She said her agency is now working with the different veteran organizations around the country.
She said the One Call Partnership with Lyft has already provided almost one million rides nationwide.
"It solves a need that veterans face today when it comes to getting to the VA or getting to other medical providers," said Colsen.
Here's how it works: The veteran contacts a veteran service organization and that organization coordinates with One Call to fill the request.
It does not involve the use of an app or a credit card.
The partnership between Patriot Group Services and One Call has been successful and they see it growing as they expand to meet the needs of the veteran community.