Veteran Receives Transit 'Patriot Pass'

, Daily Business Review

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A Miami man who sued after he was denied a bus and train discount for low-income veterans has won his battle.

Miami-Dade Transit issued a Patriot Passport on Wednesday to Raymond Rivera, allowing him to ride buses and Metrorail trains free of charge.

Rivera, who served two stints in the U.S. Army, was previously denied the pass because he could not produce a form indicating he received an honorable discharge. Rivera received an honorable discharge in 1996 after his first stint and a discharge "under honorable conditions" after his second.

Legal Services of Greater Miami Inc. filed suit on his behalf seeking a declaratory judgment that he was eligible for the pass and an injunction requiring Miami-Dade Transit to issue one.

After the lawsuit was filed, County Commissioner Esteban Bovo introduced legislation to expand the eligibility requirements for the Patriot Passport program.

A lack of transportation is cited by veterans advocates as a barrier to receiving health care, substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment, according to Legal Services.

"Just as it did when it created the Patriot Passport program, the County Commission has taken a positive step towards ensuring that our community's veterans are able to access the services that they earned through their military service," said attorney Liam McGivern, who represented Rivera.

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