West Haven VA To End Shuttle Service at Train Station

Starting Monday, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Haven will stop running a free shuttle to and from the West Haven train station.

The VA Office of General Counsel determined federal money cannot be spent on helping employees commute to work, VA Connecticut Healthcare System spokesperson Pamela Redmond said in an email to NBC Connecticut.

Some local lawmakers are raising concerns about what this means for veterans taking the train to their medical appointments.

“I am aghast and appalled that the VA has stopped this shuttle service because parking at the West Haven facility is so difficult,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) said.

Navy veteran Wayne Morgan does not rely on this shuttle because he says he parks in the VA parking lots.

“That’s a terrible decision,” Morgan said. “If you have veterans coming in on the train and they’re disabled, how are they supposed to be able to get over to the VA hospital?”

No veteran should be stranded at the station because of the service change, Redmond said in her email. Veterans can still make arrangements in advance of their appointments to be picked up for rides.

At an event announcing the funding approval for an elevator at the American Legion Post 71 in West Haven, Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford/West Haven) said she’s already drafted a letter asking the VA to reconsider its decision.

“With all of the focus on our VA, our federal health care system, all of the challenges that have existed across our country,” Slossberg said, “that they would turn around now and be what my grandmother would say, ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ and cut off access for our veterans to the very health care that we are trying to get for them.”

Slossberg said the train station was built close to the VA hospital to help veterans on the shoreline have access to health care.

As for employees who ride the train to work, Redmond said in her email that they are eligible for a monthly public transit fare benefit of $130.

Shuttle service will continue at two off-site parking lots at the Polish American Club (194 W. Spring St.) and Mantilla Parking Lot (325 Campbell Ave.).

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