Allie Dobski, ADEC’s transportation manager, is huddled with a few of her team members at the side of Bus 55.
“Okay, ready?” she asks.
In a deft move, she and three of her colleagues peel an opaque paper backing from a 5-foot-long decal sheet. They then slowly and evenly lower the front of the sheet to adhere the decals to the white, painted metal of the bus in a one-chance-to-get-it-right moment. She and her team use wide, flat scrapers to apply even pressure for the decals to set correctly.
“That’s the best one yet!” Allie says.
They pull the sheet away to reveal the decals: an emblazoned ADEC logo, the words “choice” and “possibility,” and ADEC’s website. The transportation department has been looking at ways to increase visibility while in the community, and this was a simple and effective solution in Allie’s eyes.
“The idea of the decals on our transportation buses was to show the community how far we truly go to meet needs, literally,” Allie says. “ADEC transportation has routes running as far as Millersburg, Nappanee and the Michigan border. We wanted the community to see who we are and how far were willing to go.”
The decals were crafted by Premier Signs in Goshen, who ADEC has worked with in the past to create nearly all decals used on our vehicles, according to Jeff Schrock, ADEC’s vice president of operations, transportation and maintenance. He says all 10 of ADEC’s buses in transportation will eventually have the decals added to them. Currently half have been applied.
“With the addition of decals to our transportation buses, we’ll be showing the community every day that we serve people in every corner of the county,” Jeff says. “Our transportation buses travel more than 171,000 miles each year; that’s a lot of community awareness!”
ADEC provides transportation to 117 people who are living at home with family or guardians, according to Allie. Transportation recently conducted a survey of the families / guardians of riders and found that 66 percent of those responding say they would not have another way to transport their loved ones to day programs. Another 30 percent say they likely could provide their own transportation for their loved ones, but it would greatly affect their work schedule.
Allie explains that some families view ADEC’s transportation as an opportunity to give their loved ones a sense of responsibility, and that it’s a vital part of that person’s daily life.
“We have a client who lived in Elkhart — almost in Osceola — with her mother. Sadly, her mother passed away unexpectedly, and the client then moved in with her brother who lived in Nappanee. Her brother called ADEC transportation worried about changing his sister’s routine and if we even came out that far to do transportation,” Allie says. “Luckily, because of how wide range our transportation routes are, we were able to still pick her up, same days, no changes and take her to ADEC Plaza! It felt so good to say: ‘Don’t worry, we got you!’”