Former Standish Max employees commute in bus owned by fellow worker
STANDISH — For years, Bill Daniels and his Standish Max Facility co-workers, didn’t have that far to drive for work.
But with the closure of the local facility months ago, Daniels and his friends have a much farther distance to drive.
Facing a drive of more than 80 miles one way to one of three State Prisons in Saint Louis, Daniels and 22 of his co-workers now ride a bus that fellow worker bought.
“We leave about 12:15 p.m. We pay $6 a day when we ride. It only runs on the days that he works,” said Daniels about the 15 passenger bus. “We have about 22 people that are involved, (but) we can fit 15 in there.”
The bus which has a custom-made “SMF On Tour” sign on the back window, starts in the AuGres Area, and makes various stops as they make their approximately one and a half hour drive to the small town, which is about 15 miles south of Mount Pleasant.
Daniels said that the group has always been car-pooling, but that they have always been looking for a larger vehicle.
“At first we were always trying to figure out who worked on what days,” said the Sterling man. “We wanted to get a bigger van.”
With the long drive down and back to work, Daniels said that the group helps each other tolerate the long drive.
“We tolerate it. It’s good that we (have) that bigger group,” he said. “We all get along and we’re always joking.”
Along with balancing a full-time job with family responsiblities, some former SMF employees now also have nearly three hours of traveling to handle every day.
“Spouses don’t see each other as much. I don’t get to see my daughter as much as I did,” Daniels said. “A lot of parents don’t get to see events. A lot of parents went to third shift just for more family time.”
Though they have a long drive to work every day, Daniels said he and his co-workers don’t want to people to think that they are complaining.
He said they just want to be spending their money closer to home.
“All of our business is going to Forward gas station west of Midland.” he said about the gas station where they get out, stretch, and buy snacks while on their way to and from work. “We want the public to understand that we feel it just as bad as they do.”