An innovative rural transportation project...
Lillian Presslor is 98 years old, but her volunteerism has yet to waver.
She has served as a board member volunteer for the Waveland Volunteer Public Transit Program from its inception 29 years ago. In that time, she has been trip scheduler, board secretary and president.
Over the years, Lillian has planned trips for passengers to go “antiquing” and find unique specialty shops. Sometimes while traveling on the road, they will make an unexpected stop at a yard sale or deviate from their route at a sign directing them to an outlying shop or farmers market. A favorite trip is shopping at a candy factory outlet in Frankfort at Christmastime.
Although the van from Waveland, dubbed the Omni Express, can no longer travel out of state, its passengers find plenty of other places to go. Once a month, they travel to Terre Haute and Lafayette for shopping, groceries and (the highlight) having a meal at a restaurant. Trips are often planned around restaurants that the passengers want to try.
About the Omni Express
In 1986, to address a lack of public transportation in its rural areas, Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs met with community leaders from the towns of Brookston, Clarks Hill, Hillsboro, Rossville and Waveland to seek support for low-cost public transportation in these communities.
With annual Federal and State support from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) using the Town of Waveland as a pass-through grantee, Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) funds and local commitment from these five communities, Area IV Agency gave birth to the Waveland Volunteer Public Transit Program.
In 1996 and 2008, the program grew to include the towns of Boswell and Flora, respectively.
To keep the program low-cost, local oversight and daily operations are performed entirely with trained volunteers, a unique feature in the State of Indiana. Area IV Agency places a transit vehicle in each community, supplies financial support for vehicle insurance and maintenance, and provides marketing, volunteer training and technical assistance. Passengers give donations to cover vehicle fuel.
In 2014, the Waveland Volunteer Public Transit Program provided 4,532 one-way passenger tips for 446 unduplicated passengers traveling 18,847 miles. Service was provided by 115 dedicated, trained volunteer board members and drivers.
Stan Minnick (shown at right) has been the Volunteer Transit Program Coordinator at Area IV Agency for more than 11 years.