Laketran Serves up a Surprise for 20 Millionth Rider

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Candid shot of Ona being surprised by Laketran trustees and staff


On Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 3 p.m., Laketran surprised Ona Labadie, a Dial-a-Ride rider, as the 20 millionth rider in the history of Laketran. Labadie was picked up from Game of Mentor, located at 7300 Palisades Pkwy, Mentor, OH 44060, where she is active in a summer senior bowling league.

Labadie, of Wickliffe, moved to Lake County from Euclid in 2012 to live with her son. She is a regular Dial-a-Ride rider who completed Laketran’s Seniors on the Go program to learn more about Laketran to become more independent after she could no longer drive.

“I was just watching TV all day at my son’s house and honestly started getting a little depressed so my daughter-in-law looked up Laketran online,” shared Ms. Labadie. “Then I got connected with Pat Pryatel and their outreach program and learned about how to ride Laketran.”

Labadie now volunteers at Eastlake JFK Senior Center’s kitchen and participates in Zumba, aerobics, Bingo and other social and recreational classes. Ms. Labadie enjoys using Dial-a-Ride to visit friends and to get to an occasional doctor’s appointment. She is also an avid bowler.

“It’s also helped my health considerably. Now that I’m much more active, I have reduced the amount of medication I take and my overall health is much better,” she continued.

Labadie lives with her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Wickliffe, who are thankful for the services that allow their mom to maintain her independence, although she can no longer drive due to her vision.

“After my Mom was no longer able to drive, she spent a lot of time at home. While I was at work and my wife was busy with the children, she seemed to just pass the days away. My wife decided to look into Laketran and local senior centers. These resources have changed my Mom’s life. She went from being depressed at home to a very active senior. She’s is so independent and can get wherever she needs to go without relying on our schedules,” explained Daniel Winkfield, son of Ona Labadie.

To celebrate the achievement, Laketran Trustees, staff and Commissioner Kevin Malecek surprised Ms. Ladabie on her pick-up with balloons and flowers and awarded her a certificate recognizing her as the 20 Millionth Laketran Rider, along with a $50 gift card, one year of free bowling donated by Game of Mentor, over $100 worth of area restaurant gift certificates donated by WINT 1330 AM and a $100 Laketran Smart Card to be used for future bus trips.

“Ona is the perfect role model for seniors looking to be independent and active. By taking advantage of Laketran’s Seniors on the Go program, Ona has access to recreation, medical trips, visiting friends, volunteering in the community and enjoying a quality lifestyle,” expressed Laketran general manager Ray Jurkowski.

Dial-a-Ride is a service that offers door-to-door, public transportation with advance reservations. The service serves Lake County seniors and people with disabilities.

Previous milestone riders include: Irene Dailyda, the one millionth passenger, in 1992; Anna Lusin, Laketran’s fifth millionth passenger, in 1997; Linda Rollins, Laketran’s ten millionth passenger, in 2003; and the one millionth Park-n-Ride passenger, Sean Conway, in 2005.

Laketran has been tracking ridership since 1985 when the agency first started running buses. In 2010, electronic fares boxes were installed in all buses to make passenger counting more efficient.

In 2014, Laketran served over 750,000 riders.

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Trustee Donna McNamee, Board President Brian Falkowski, Lake County Commissioner Kevin Malecek, General Manager Ray Jurkowski, 20 Millionth Rider Ona Labadie, Laketran Drive Ben Delaplane



Gabe Arnold
Author: Gabe Arnold