Vets Shuttle Now Includes Kansas City

At the Topeka Veterans Administration Luncheon recently are from left to right: Michael Leachner, Darrell Spencer, Roger “Skipper” Brown, Myra Jowers and Carl Jowers. All are veterans although non-veterans have volunteered to be shuttle drivers as well.

Local citizens have signed on to take veterans to doctors appointments for free at two Veterans Administration Medical Centers in Kansas.  And plans are in place to pick up any veteran along the Hwy. 69 corridor from Fort Scott northward.

To register for a shuttle seat, the veteran must

·         Have an appointment at a VA Medical Center between 9 am and 1 p.m. for the day they schedule their shuttle seat.

·         Call 785-925-0261 or email [email protected] to schedule their seat. All seat reservations must be scheduled by 5 p.m., the day prior to their appointment.

The Fort Scott VA Shuttle service is coordinated by Carl Jowers, who commander of the local American Legion Post 25.

Shuttles are provided on Mondays and Tuesdays from Fort Scott to Topeka VA Medical Center; and Wednesdays from Fort Scott to Kansas City VA Medical Center.

Veterans must have an appointment scheduled between 9 am and 1 pm on the day they ride the shuttle.

“The vet should mention that they are a shuttle rider, when calling for a VA medical appointment,” Jowers said.

The shuttle will depart from the designated spot in Fort Scott,  Pete’s 66 Convenience Store, across from Briggs Automall on Hwy. 69 and will return to Fort Scott after the last veteran has completed their appointment. The departure time is based upon the time of the first appointment of the day at the VA Medical Center day. Riders will be notified of the shuttle departure time the evening before their ride.

“The departure time depends upon the time of the appointment of the riders,” Jowers said.” If there is a 9 a.m. appointment, then the shuttle departs at 6:15 a.m. for Topeka or 6:45 a.m. for KC.  If the earliest appointment isn’t until 10:45 a.m., then the departure time is adjusted accordingly. It didn’t make sense to me for a driver to pickup a rider at 6:15 a.m. to arrive in Topeka at 9 a.m. for a 10:30 a.m. appointment.”
“As the shuttle coordinator, after the reserved seating has closed out at 5 p.m. for the next day’s schedule, I decide on the shuttle’s departure time and convey this information to both the driver and the rider. It’s extra work on my part, but I think it’s a better use of time for both driver and rider.”

The shuttle does not accommodate wheelchairs or pets. Only certified service dogs are permitted on the shuttle. Oxygen tanks are not permitted on the shuttle. Oxygen concentrators are allowed.

Veterans living along Highway 69 may be picked up at the Casey’s Convenience Store in Pleasanton.

“We are going to make a pick up spot at McDonald’s in Louisburg at the intersection of Hwy. 68 and Hwy. 69 for either the Topeka VA or the Kansas City VA,” Jowers said.

“The Ottawa pickup location will be at Love’s Truck Stop at Highway 68 and I35, going to Topeka,” Jowers said.

” Veterans scheduling rides must be at one of our predetermined stops to ride the shuttle,” he said. “This is a shuttle service, not a taxi service. We have to plan for a group. If a person calls and is at a specific spot, they can ride the shuttle. They have to have a seat reserved.”

The VA shuttle holds five passengers and riders must preregister for a seat by calling 785-925-0261. Seats on the shuttle are open to any area veteran on a first come, first served basis.

Family members may not ride with the Veteran on the shuttle. Those veterans who need a caregiver to accompany them must have a signed note from their doctor attesting that the veteran requires a caregiver to accompany them to and from their appointment.

“Drivers have to pass a comprehensive VA medical and background investigation,” Jowers said. “It’s the same process as if you were being hired by the VA. We’ve had quite a few people step up and two more are awaiting background clearance.”

The list of shuttle drivers is: Roger and Faye Brown, Darrell Spencer, Steve Dean, Michael Martin, Michael Leachner, and Danny Graham. Jowers and his wife, Myra are back-up drivers.

Currently, one veteran a week is using the shuttle to get to their medical appointments, Jowers said.

“While at this time, there are not a lot of riders, I think that this will change as vets become aware of the service and begin making use of it,” Jowers said.





One thought on “Vets Shuttle Now Includes Kansas City”

  1. I keep getting told that you will pick up in the Shawnee, Ks area. True?

    Post Service Officer
    Shawnee American Legion Post 327

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