February 23, 2016

Rolling With Pride

Wraps come off newly decorated LET bus



Avery and Grace

Avery and Grace Drake are perfectly fine with their friends and family seeing their smiling faces on the side of a Lake Erie Transit bus.

On Wednesday, the public transportation company for Monroe County unveiled the first of a series of three new wrapped buses featuring a community pride theme. The bus “Community Pride — City of Monroe” features photos of firemen, veterans, young athletes and citizens along with images of the Floral City including the River Raisin Centre for the Arts, the Custer status, Lo-ranger Square, the county court-house and downtown Monroe.

The Drakes were among the handful of people who are featured on the wrap. “I like it,” said Grace, 11, who is a sixth-grader at Custer Elementary School.

The Drake sisters are dressed in the Monroe Trojan basketball uniforms on the bus.

Avery, 13, said their mom, Leah Kuehnlein, works at LET and recruited them to be part of the new campaign.

Avery said she is proud of be-ing on the bus and is not worried about anyone seeing her face.

“We have been involved in the sports and in the community,” she said.

During a brief program before the bus unveiling, Joe Lybik, LET board chairman, talked about the history of the bus wraps, which began in 2008 with the “Spirit of Monroe” bus.

“We are proud to do this,” he told an audience of about 40 people.

Two other bus wraps will be unveiled in Frenchtown Town-ship and Bedford Township on Tuesday and Nov. 30 respectively.

Mr. Lybik said the project was a lengthy one but important.

“This started about five to six months ago,” he said. “The ‘Community Pride’ motto says it all. We wanted to demonstrate the importance of the millage communities.”

The organization partnered with Sheroian Associates in Lambertville to create the campaign. They asked community leaders for their input on images to use on the bus.

Mark Jagodzinski, general manager of Lake Erie Transit, said the wrapped buses typically last seven to 10 years. If the buses experience any wear and tear or damage to the im-ages, they can be fixed since the wrap was created in panels.

Currently, of the 32 buses in operation, nine of them feature wraps, which includes the three newest ones.

“We have no plans to do any wraps after this,” Mr. Jagodzinski said.

For Lake Erie Transit driver Mark “Whitey” Armstrong, seeing his face on the Monroe bus was an interesting feeling.

“It’s weird,” he said while taking a picture of himself on the bus. “I have family and friends who don’t believe I’m on a bus, so I’m going to show them.”

Mr. Armstrong, a New-port resident, has been driving a bus for the LET for about seven months. While he is traveling through the city, he might even catch a glimpse of himself while he is driving one of the other buses.

“It will be kinda of interesting to see myself while I’m driving by,” he said.