By JOSH VARDAMAN
Courier staff writer
---- — OTTUMWA — Since early November 2013, 10-15 Transit has almost been doing more transitioning than transporting in southeast Iowa.
The City of Ottumwa had been providing management services for 10-15 since 1992, but in early November 2013, it was announced that 10-15 was separating to become its own company. Now they manage all of their operations and 38 employees in house, which has created some hoops to jump through for interim Director Jay Allison and his crew.
“We’re still the same company we were except now we do things like payroll and bills ourselves,” he said.
When 10-15 was managed by the City of Ottumwa, all of the bills, payment of employees and other management tasks were handled by the City. Now 10-15 has to do it all themselves, and it has definitely been tiring for Allison and the other employees.
“We are still kind of trying to play catch up,” Allison said.
Since the separation was announced, 10-15 had to figure out how to set up vendors, bank accounts, employee plans like retirement and other things that businesses have to control for themselves. Luckily, though, they did not have to mess with the added stresses of finding a new building to work from. Their offices are still located where they were when the city provided management, at 2417 S. Emma St.
Although the transition period has been hectic and at times has seemed like they are working one step forward and two steps back, Allison expects things to slow down and become easier once they figure some things out and iron out some wrinkles.
“I give it a month or so,” he said. “When we get through January things will get smoother.”
Even with all of the catch up that 10-15 has been playing since making the transition into its own company, they are still finding ways to grow. They are currently working with the United Way and the City of Oskaloosa on proposals that would create a fixed route between there and Ottumwa. Once they can get FEMA concurrence with the plan and the Oskaloosa City Council approves, they should be able to take steps toward adding the route.
“That would be a huge opportunity for growth right at the start of our transition,” Allison said.
10-15 is also working on getting more well-known in the 11 counties they cover, so they can promote their services and increase ridership. Currently they provide service to Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Lucas, Mahaska, Monroe, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne counties.
In order to boost the recognition of 10-15, Allison said they have some promotional ideas that they could look at starting soon to try and make people in the 11 counties more aware. Now that the transitional phase is starting to become easier and things are taking shape, they can look to the future and what is the next step for the company.
“We’re very excited. It’s a new chapter in our book that we are beginning,” Allison said.
He also gave great thanks to Ottumwa Transit Director Dave Silverio, who has helped make the transition a little easier on Allison and all of the employees at 10-15 Transit.
“I would like to thank Dave Silverio for all of his help with the transition. I like to give credit where credit is due, and we wouldn’t be here without his help,” Allison said.
More information about 10-15 and how to contact for transportation can be found at their newly created website: www.1015transit.com.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh