Dave Schroedle, Mechanic, MV Transportation Batavia
Mechanics Keep Paratransit Vehicles Rolling Year After Year
Teamster Steward Runs 'Smooth Operation' in Batavia Repair Shop

Dave Schroedle jokingly refers to his mechanic’s uniform as a “Superman suit.” After three years on the job at MV Transportation in Batavia, the name seems to fit.

Schroedle, a Teamsters Local 727 steward who has more than 30 years experience in his field, is an “A” mechanic -- the highest-ranking technician in the four-union member shop that keeps Pace buses and paratransit vehicles on the road.

Local 727 represents about 200 paratransit drivers, bus drivers and mechanics at MV Transportation in Batavia, Niles and Carol Stream.

What do you like most about working here?
“Every day is different, and you have to ready because anything can happen on any given day. When I started working here, I’d been a mechanic for almost 30 years, but the only qualification I didn’t have yet was my CDL-B license. I got my CDL license on Jan. 13, 2009, and the very next day, we got a call about a breakdown, so I had to hop in a bus and go. We have to be at the ready at all times because you never know when you’ll get a call and have to spring into action.”

What did you do before coming to MV?
“I worked as a mechanic for Hummer for 15 years. Nobody in the country knows more about commercial Hummers than I do. I know those vehicles inside and out.”

Tell me about the fleet of vehicles you have to maintain.
“Each MV location has its own fleet of vehicles and its own repair shop. Here, we have nine El Dorado Easy Rider coaches. Those buses seat 30 people and four wheelchairs. Then we have 20 paratransit vans that seat 16 with four wheelchairs. The drivers put about 100,000 miles on them every month.”

100,000 miles per month on every vehicle? Wow.
“Yeah, we’re always cycling buses in and out of the shop. It’s constant work. The ratio for spare vehicles is tight around here. Whether we’re doing a repair or maintenance, we’ve got to have a quick turnaround -- but nothing’s rolling out of here if it’s not 100 percent. Safety is a top priority.”

How often do you have to tune up the vehicles?
“We put every vehicle through a routine ‘B’ maintenance every 3,000 miles – we change the oil, check the tires, the whole nine yards. Because we are doing regular maintenance so often, it’s easy for us to fix things before they become bigger problems. It’s much easier to replace a radiator when it’s starting to show signs of breaking than to wait for it to blow out on the road. When that happens, you’re not just replacing the radiator, you have to pay for a tow and it can be a real hassle for the drivers and the customers.”

“Our shop at MV Batavia has the fewest breakdowns of any MV location in the state, and I think it’s because we are so vigilant about routine maintenance.”

How do you keep things running smoothly in the repair shop?
“We have great communication. We tell the drivers to come talk to us in person if there is anything wrong with their vehicles. That kind of communication is really important to making all of our jobs easier. Everyone in the shop knows what every other person in the shop is working on every day. We have a great system in place. Here in the shop, everything rolls. It’s a smooth operation. “

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