Tag Archives: omnitrans san bernardino

Omnitrans and Partners Host Girl Scouts Classroom to Career Day

Following a successful event in 2018, Omnitrans proudly partnered with the Women’s Transportation Seminar of the Inland Empire, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, Metrolink, and the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council to host a Classroom to Career event for middle school girls from Rialto, Colton, and Grand Terrace.

The Classroom to Career Day in February spotlighted potential transit industry career paths for students, with emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mechanics (STEM) curriculum. Like last year, the day began at the San Bernardino Transit Center. Fourteen women working in various roles at Omnitrans led a tour that showcased the transit center’ s features, and its role in connecting our community through the multimodal options offered.

The Classroom to Career program takes girls into the community to meet with professionals and be exposed to career paths related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), areas in which females are traditionally underrepresented. Omnitrans staff from various departments including Planning, Operations, Maintenance, and Rail Operations served as tour guides for the day.

At the tour’s conclusion, students boarded a Metrolink train for a short ride to the Santa Fe Depot, where they learned about the region’s transit network and heritage at the San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum. They participated in a hands-on STEM activity that stimulated their minds to envision what the future of transportation looks like from their perspective.

“As middle school girls prepare for the transition to 9th grade, an intentional educational roadmap is key,” says Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Vice President of Development Knew Hawley. “This preparation is essential to their success, not only to make strategic choices in their high school education, but as a jumping off point for higher education and lucrative careers. Classroom to Career opens doors into new experiences and provides positive adult and peer interactions that bolster these girls during a pivotal season in their lives.”

“Omnitrans is committed to being a positive and impactful asset to the community we serve,” said Omnitrans Marketing Manager Nicole Ramos. “It was a pleasure to further build on this partnership after a successful inaugural event last year, which has expanded to transit agencies in other regions of Southern California.”

In honor of #NationalGirlScoutDay today, Omnitrans tips its hat to this generation of girls and all the work they do to benefit the broader community, including serving all girls, no matter what. So, the next time you take a bite out of a delicious Girl Scout cookie, know that by supporting them, you are supporting their efforts to make the world a better place.

Employee of the Quarter Vickie Chesney

For Maintenance Shift Supervisor Victoria Chesney (known to co-workers as Vickie) accomplishing tasks successfully is simply “all in a day’s work,” which is why she was surprised to learn that she was Omnitrans’ Employee of the Quarter.

“I did not see that one coming at all,” reveals Vickie. “I’m very grateful and humbled. I’m just here doing my job, doing what I get paid to do.”

Vickie, 19-year member of the Omnitrans family, began her career as a Utility Service Worker, then climbed the ranks to Mechanic Helper, Mechanic, and presently Shift Supervisor. Throughout her various roles, her objective has remained consistent, which is to make pull out (to have available the number of vehicles needed to execute service operations) and have all buses in the yard, with no mechanical difficulties.

“I appreciate our dispatchers, but if I don’t hear from them, that’s a good thing for us,” she jokingly says. However, Vickie’s job doesn’t start and end in the mechanic shop. She is a dedicated asset to Omnitrans who volunteers countless hours, many outside of her normal work duties, to serve on several internal and national committees to advance the agency and industry, including:

  • Omnitrans Bus Roadeo Committee, VIP Chairperson
  • American Public Transportation Association (APTA) International Bus Roadeo Committee
  • Southern California Regional Roadeo, Maintenance Chairperson

“Idle hands are the devil’s hands,” she laughs. Vickie’s leadership on these committees helps ensure each Roadeo event is a well-received success that positions Omnitrans in a favorable light to employees and peer agencies involved.

The Roadeo competition, in which bus drivers and mechanics put their skills and knowledge to the test, is near and dear to Vickie. “When I was a mechanic, I competed in the local Roadeo and we won first place, so we got to compete at the regional and the national Roadeo,” she recalls. “Once I was promoted to supervisor, there was an opportunity to serve on the committee. Our director was kind enough to let me participate and I’ve been involved since.”

A benefit of Vickie’s involvement is the network she has built within the transit industry, which adds value to Omnitrans. “One of the advantages of serving at the national level is that you get to see what other agencies are doing,” she shares.

“You see the commonalities, and because this industry is non-competitive, other agencies are more than willing to share their best practices, successes, and failures with you. It’s a collaborative environment that helps us all succeed to better serve our community at the end of the day.”

From left to right: Maintenance Manager Omar Bryant, Board of Directors Vice Chair David Avila, Maintenance Shift Supervisor Victoria Chesney, CEO/General Manager Scott Graham, and Deputy General Manager Erin Rogers.

Additionally, last quarter, Vickie was chosen to serve and represent Omnitrans as a subject matter expert for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). ASE is a professional certification group for mechanics and shops within the automotive repair and service industry in the United States and in parts of Canada.

“We have a specialty group within the transit community for all aspects of bus repair,” she explains. “There are eight ASE tests total under the transit bus series, covering every facet of the bus from compressed natural gas engines, brakes, to heating ventilation and air conditioning. We come together at workshops and contribute questions to the test that all mechanics in the country must pass for certification.”

Additionally, Vickie has served as chairperson of the Omnitrans Vehicle Improvement Partnership Committee, an internal committee in which she takes coach operator feedback, from their viewpoint, and implements it on the maintenance side to enhance bus operation and safety of our drivers and passengers alike.

Last quarter, Vickie also collaborated with the Procurement department to develop a paint and body supply contract. “We’ve been working with procurement to get vendors in place to supply our paint and body shop materials,” she says. “By securing vendors under contract, instead of issuing general purchase orders on an as-needed basis, we have more fixed control on receiving supplies in a timely manner, and Omnitrans saves on the cost of materials.”

Vickie’s commitment, accomplishments, and collaborative nature have all led her to this recognition. In typically humble fashion, she states, “I would like to recognize my crew that I work with daily. These are the guys who have their hands on everything and work on the buses, so any success in our department is because of the guys on the floor.”

As for what lies ahead, Vickie looks forward to growing with Omnitrans. At this time, she is working toward a bachelor’s degree, is a member of Omnitrans’ Leadership Development Academy Manager’s track and will be applying for promotional opportunities should they arise.

“I’m very thankful to work in an organization that fosters an environment where we can pursue different opportunities,” she says. “There’s an altruistic component to what we do as a public service. We’re fortunate to be in a position where we help people get to where they need to go, a lot of whom would otherwise not have transportation.”

Employee of the Quarter Nicole Ramos

In a career built on public service, Marketing Manager Nicole Ramos understands and prioritizes our community’s needs, which is why the Board of Directors has recognized her as Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter.

Throughout Nicole’s 18-year career with Omnitrans, our rider’s needs for information and the way that it is delivered and consumed has evolved tremendously, most recently with the advent of social media and smartphones.

Last quarter, Nicole spearheaded a project that closed a gap in our customer communications: the lack of timely rider alert notifications in case of irregular bus detouring while in service. Working with her team and inter-departmentally with Planning, I.T., and Operations, a solution to the age-old problem was reached, at last.

“The rider alerts project had been in the works in some capacity for about three years,” recalls Nicole. “There were a few things we tried, however, there was no effective flow of information that stuck. We had many meetings with Operations and I.T. but could never come up with something that was realistic for everybody that didn’t require a lot more work.”

Determined not to let this task fall by the wayside, Nicole reached out to her network of transit agencies for potential solutions. While at a roundtable discussion with other mid-sized agencies the 2018 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Marketing & Communications Workshop, Nicole posed the question and peer agencies shared success stories of similar rider alert notification systems.

Nicole then determined that publishing alerts to a Twitter account using pre-made alert templates would be the most viable solution for all involved and absolve the agency of additional costs. During this time, the transit operations software used by our Dispatch team in Operations was updated to a new version that allowed detours logged internally to be published to a public-facing Twitter feed. The timing could not have been more perfect to explore this idea.

“The impending software update would allow dispatchers to create notifications almost automatically using the data entered to populate a template published on Twitter. All they had to do was hit a couple of extra buttons in their process. Because of its ease, we got the buy in from dispatch, which was key,” says Nicole.

“Marketing Specialist Jose Hernandez played an integral role in this project. After waiting on necessary system upgrades and fine tuning our alert templates with help from the Planning team to make this as seamless as possible, we were able to begin testing before going live. We certainly appreciate Operations department leadership and Dispatch Supervisor Christina Gaeta for adopting this and pushing the implementation forward.”

It took many months of problem-solving and work behind the scenes, but the rider alerts notification system is now up and running with a Twitter feed that lives embedded on our Alerts webpage. “Although small, this is an important step that brings us back to what we are supposed to be doing as an agency, which is better serving the customer,” says Nicole.

Nicole was one of several women working at Omnitrans to participate in this year’s Classroom to Career Day. During the first portion of the event, local middle school students learned about the transit industry and potential career paths as they toured the San Bernardino Transit Center facility.

Additionally, Nicole played a major role in last fall’s American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG) Annual Meeting, during which Omnitrans hosted over 60 peers from the transit industry. Aside from overseeing hotel venue logistics, event photography, and attendee communications, Nicole also leveraged her existing community partnership with the Auto Club Speedway to lower costs associated with hosting an evening social networking mixer for attendees.

“Nicole contributed in many ways to ensure a successful meeting that projected a positive image of Omnitrans to peer agencies,” says Director of Marketing Wendy Williams. “The work Nicole put in exceeded her core responsibilities and required many extra hours outside of her regular schedule.”

As a recent graduate of the Leadership Development Academy, Nicole looks forward to the future, but reflects fondly on her years at Omnitrans.

“It’s been a great experience,” she says. “I get to do what I enjoy doing, but in a way that benefits the community at large. There’s stability and flexibility. Although sometimes you put in many extra hours, you are also encouraged and allowed time to have work-life balance. A lot of people who work here have done so for a long time, and that says something about the agency.”

“I appreciate working with and being able to lead a hard-working and creative team, and hopefully positively impact them as they move through their own careers.”

Employee of the Year Omar Bryant

Effective team leaders go beneath the surface of extensive job knowledge or industry expertise and tap into their innate ability to inspire and motivate, even under unexpected circumstances. This is a special quality that Maintenance Manager Omar Bryant has, helping him earn the title of Omnitrans Employee of the Year for 2018.

“I feel humbled and honored to receive this award,” says Omar. “I just do my best to support my boss and my staff, so the recognition was a bit of a surprise. For those of us in maintenance, the goal is to make pull-out of buses to meet the community’s transit needs every day. There are people out there who rely on us, so that’s what our focus is all about. Some days it’s not so easy, but we all work together as a team to achieve that.”

As the manager overseeing our East Valley maintenance shop of six supervisors and 50 employees, including mechanics and utility service workers, Omar is directly responsible for the reliability and cleanliness of our bus fleet of over 200 buses. It is a large task that requires him to not simply be knowledgeable about every moving part of a 40-foot bus, but also to effectively lead people in a department that works around the clock.

From left to right: Deputy General Manager Erin Rogers, Board of Directors Vice Chair David Avila, Maintenance Manager Omar Bryant, CEO/General Manager Scott Graham, and Director of Maintenance Connie Raya.

In October of 2017, after a sudden tragedy left the Maintenance department without a director, Omar was asked to step in and take over in the interim. He seamlessly assisted the General Manager and Deputy General Manager to keep the department operating smoothly and working toward agency goals and objectives.

“It was a challenging time for Omar and the rest of the department. However, he showed tremendous leadership and was able to keep the team motivated,” says current Director of Maintenance Connie Raya. “He is a great natural leader with a can-do spirit, who stepped up and displayed his loyalty to his team and agency during a difficult time.”

Department operations had to carry on amid these circumstances. One of the agency’s 2018 strategic initiatives called for repower of 63 buses. By repowering our existing compressed natural gas (CNG) buses with near-zero emission engines, Omnitrans has the ability to delay the mandated purchase of electric buses to further strategize purchasing and infrastructure needs before beginning to electrify our fleet.

Omar was responsible for overseeing the repower project – from writing purchasing scopes to order the engines, swapping out transmissions, and finally, installing the new near-zero engines on buses. The transition from one fuel technology to another is not something new for Omar, who started his career with Omnitrans as a Utility Service Worker before promoting upward to his current position. Throughout the years, bus fuel has shifted from diesel, to CNG, bringing us to the present – the early stages of electric battery buses.

“Learning the new technologies has been a positive experience. Although transitioning from a new technology to another has its pains, it’s what we need to do. Our air quality is better than it used to be in the past, so despite the costs and the growing pains, it’s a good thing to do,” he says.

Omar is also one of few employees hand-chosen to participate in the inaugural Manager’s track of the Leadership Development Academy, which develops future leaders as part of Omnitrans’ succession planning efforts. Omar has spent the past year working with his peers and our leadership program consultants to sharpen his managerial skills and broaden his understanding of the organization, preparing him for future upward mobility.

This Employee of the Year recognition has been years in the making. When Omar began his career journey as a 20-year-old recently out of mechanic school, his ambitions lied in working with earth-moving equipment. Nearly 28 years later, he remains committed to Omnitrans and connecting our community.

“When I started, I thought I’d be a mechanic for the rest of my career. I never foresaw that I would be in a leadership position, but the opportunities came, and I went for them. That is what is so great about working at Omnitrans. If you are willing to put in the work, you are trained and supported to grow in your career.”

Omnitrans is proud to commend Omar on an exceptional job well done and earning the Employee of the Year award. We appreciate his extraordinary commitment to the agency and to ensuring that our community has clean, reliable, and safe transportation to connect them from point A to point B.

Thank you for a great ride in 2018!

As we look back on the past year, we want to thank you for contributing to our success this year.

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year from all of us at Omnitrans!

Omnitrans buses not operating on Christmas Day 2018 or New Year’s Day 2019

The holidays are just around the corner! As you plan your travel this month, keep in mind that Omnitrans buses will not be in service on Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25. Bus service will resume on Wednesday, December 26. Our administrative offices and customer service center will also be closed on Tuesday, December 25 in observance of the holiday.

The following week, buses will not be in service on Tuesday, January 1, 2018, New Year’s Day. Our administrative offices and customer service center will also be closed on this day. Bus service and office hours will resume on Wednesday, January 2.

Thank you for another wonderful ride this year. Omnitrans wishes you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a happy new year!

For all the latest info & news, plus real-time bus arrival times via NexTrip, download the official Omnitrans mobile app for FREE on the App Storeor Google Play!

Bus detours scheduled in San Bernardino on Veterans Day 2018

Several Omnitrans routes will be detouring temporarily in San Bernardino on Sunday, November 11, 2018 as we honor our veterans during the City of San Bernardino 18th Annual Veterans Day Salute & Parade.

Streets closed during the parade include D Street, 2nd Street, Sierra Way, 7th Street, and 8th Street. Detours will be in effect from 7 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. for the routes listed below.

Remember to plan ahead if your route is affected by this route detour.

Route 1
Northbound from San Bernardino Transit Center:

  • Right on Rialto
  • Left on Sierra Way
  • Right on 2nd
  • Left on Allen
  • Left on 3rd

Southbound from Sierra Way:

  • Left on 3rd
  • Right on Allen
  • Right on Rialto
  • Left into San Bernardino Transit Center

Route 3
Eastbound from San Bernardino Transit Center:

  • Right on Rialto
  • Left on Allen
  • Left on 3rd
  • Right on Sierra Way
  • Left on 5th

Route 4
Westbound from Arrowhead:

  • Left on 5th
  • Right on Sierra Way
  • Left on 3rd
  • Right on Allen
  • Right on Rialto

Route 7
Northbound from San Bernardino Transit Center:

  • Right on Rialto
  • Left on Allen
  • Left on 3rd
  • Right on Sierra Way

Southbound from Sierra Way:

  • Left on 3rd
  • Right on Allen
  • Right on Rialto
  • Left into San Bernardino Transit Center

Route 11
Northbound from San Bernardino Transit Center:

  • Right on Rialto
  • Left on E St.
  • Right 9th St.
  • Left on D St.

Southbound from D St.:

  • Right on 9th
  • Left on E St.
  • Right on Rialto
  • Left into San Bernardino Transit Center

Route 15
Eastbound from San Bernardino Transit Center:

  • Right on Rialto
  • Left on Allen
  • Right on 3rd

Westbound from 3rd:

  • Right on 9th
  • Left on Allen
  • Right on Rialto
  • Left on San Bernardino Transit Center

Meet the Omnitrans summer interns!

In between pool sessions this summer, these four individuals can be found interning at Omnitrans! We are proud to provide these driven students with an enriching experience that will give them job skills that only can be obtained outside the classroom, setting them up for career success.

Get to know our interns:

Cynthia C., Rail Operations Intern

Cynthia C., Riverside, CA
Rail Operations Intern
Biochemistry major at University of Redlands

So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Omnitrans?
So far, I enjoy how willing to help everyone is. I feel like everyone around me genuinely wants me to succeed, learn, and help me move forward. There is a strong community here at Omnitrans.

What are your career goals?
I plan on staying involved with business administration throughout my career.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
This internship is exposing me to the administrative office and the working world on a professional level.

Gabby S., Marketing Communications Intern

Gabby S., Beaumont, CA
Marketing Communications Intern
Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations at California State University, San Bernardino

So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Omnitrans?
I enjoy working alongside the Marketing team: Nicole, Janice, and Jose. Their willingness to teach me new things everyday has made this experience very rewarding. Working at Ominitrans has helped me learn to network and overcome obstacles in the marketing field.

What are your career goals?
My goal is to start as an Event Marketing Specialist and work my way up to a Senior Marketing Manager. I also have plans to attend graduate school and obtain my Master’s Degree in Business Marketing after a few years of work experience.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
Interning at Omnitrans has allowed me to get my foot in the door for marketing and has allowed me to network with other organizations/businesses with confidence. This internship has helped me understand communication practices intertwined with marketing and how to properly execute an idea and make it come to life. Daily, I take on new tasks and get the most out of this experience with the quality events and materials being produced here at Omnitrans.

Kathryn L., Transit Planning Intern

Kathryn L., San Bernardino, CA
Transit Planning Intern
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) major at San Bernardino Valley College

So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Omnitrans?
I appreciate working alongside the dedicated professionals in the Planning department. Each of them have taught me something unique to their position and I enjoy learning from them.

What are your career goals?
My goal is to work in planning, specifically transit or city planning.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
This internship is allowing me to learn and grow in more ways than I expected. I’m finding new and creative ways to fine-tune my GIS skills with the transit planning tasks given to me which I know will prove beneficial in the future. Thank you, Omnitrans!

Kevin B., Rail Operations Intern

Kevin B., Claremont, CA
Rail Operations Intern
Master’s in Transportation Science at UC Irvine

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
I enjoy being able to work in the field in which I hope to have a career someday. It’s great to be surrounded by people who share my passion and to absorb the knowledge they share. I’m glad to be able to work on a start-up railroad to see first-hand what goes into such a large project.

What are your career goals?
This fall I’ll be attending UC Irvine for their Transportation Science Master’s program and following that I plan to complete San Jose State’s Transportation Management Master’s program. I hope to have a career within a public transportation agency where I can work to enhance and expand public transit.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
My internship is a fantastic way to get my foot in the door in the transportation industry. It’s especially exciting to be working on the Arrow project and being able to see what it takes to start a railroad from scratch. This experience is invaluable to me.

To apply for open internship positions or full/part-time jobs, visit our Careers page.

Stay cool while riding Omnitrans this summer

If you’ve spent some time in the Inland Empire, you know that the heat can be pretty unforgiving this time of year. This July is no exception, with the first heat wave of the summer about to hit, pushing temperatures into the triple digits.

It’s important to take precautionary measures in this type of weather, especially while riding public transit. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you ride Omnitrans this summer:

  • Stay hydrated – Walking to the bus stop, or even waiting at the bus stop, when it is blistering hot can dehydrate you. Be sure to drink plenty of water before you travel, and carry a water bottle with you. If connecting at the San Bernardino Transit Center, the lobby provides water refilling stations. Contrary to popular belief, iced teas or iced coffee beverages dehydrate you. Water is your best best!
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure – Shade is your friend! Direct contact with the sun will not only overheat you, it can also cause painful sunburns or heat-related illnesses. Wait for the bus under the shelter if possible, and if not, create your own shade by wearing a hat, visor, or carrying an umbrella to shield you from the rays. Applying a protective coat of sunscreen to your skin will also help you avoid sun damage.
  • Dress lightly – In more than one sense of the word, dress lightly. Light colors help block the sun’s radiation, whereas darker clothing absorbs the heat. Lightweight fabrics are also the best option when it’s scorching hot over non-breathable synthetic fabrics, so opt for comfort over style.

Additionally, take advantage of NexTrip for real-time bus arrival information or plan your trip ahead of time with our Trip Planner to reduce your wait time at the bus stop. Below are local cooling centers in the inland region that welcome you to cool down.

Bloomington
Bloomington Branch Library
Served by Route 29

Chino
Chino Senior Center
Served by Routes 81, 85, 88

Chino Hills
James S. Thalman Chino Hills Branch Library
Served by Routes 88, 365

Colton
Hutton Community Center
Served by Route 1

Luque Center
Served by Route 19

Fontana
Don Day Neighborhood Center
Served by Route 82

Heritage Neighborhood Center
Served by Route 67

Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Center
Served by Route 82

Fontana Lewis Library and Technology Center
Served by Route 14, 67, 82

Grand Terrace
Grand Terrace Branch Library
Served by Route 325

Highland
Highland Sam J. Racadio Library
Served by Route 15

Highland Senior Center
Served by Routes 3, 5

Loma Linda
Loma Linda Senior Center
Served by Route 19

Mentone
Mentone Senior Center and Library
Served by Route 8

Montclair
Montclair Senior Center
Served by Route 85

Ontario
Ontario Senior Center
Served by Route 61, 86

Westwind Community Center
Served by Route 81

Ovitt Family Community Library
Served by Route 61, 86

Redlands
Joslyn Senior Center
Served by Route 19

Redlands Community Center
Served by Route 8, 15

Rialto
Carter Branch Library
Served by Route 22

San Bernardino
Ruben Campos Community Center
Served by Route 14

Rudy C. Hernandez Community Center
Served by Routes 1, 7, 15

Norman F. Feldheym Central Library
Served by Route 2

Howard M Rowe Branch Library
Served by Route 7

Paul Villasenor Branch Library
Served by Routes 3, 14

Fifth Street Senior Center
Served by Route 14

Upland
Upland Public Library
Served by Route 83, 85

Yucaipa
Yucaipa Community Center
Served by Route 310

Premium Shelters Successfully Installed in East Valley

Premium bus shelter installed in San Bernardino.

The shelters are located at the eastbound and westbound Route 14 stops on 5th Street @ Medical Center Drive in San Bernardino, just outside the Omnitrans East Valley administrative building and bus yard.

Thanks to your feedback about what would enhance your Omnitrans riding experience, we are excited to unveil the first premium bus shelters! Two shelters have been successfully installed by our Stops & Stations team adjacent to the East Valley facility on 5th Street @ Medical Center Drive.

Last year, Omnitrans awarded a contract to Tolar Manufacturing of Corona, Calif. to provide premium bus shelters that enhance the passenger experience by providing additional amenities.

Premium bus shelters include solar-powered lighting, a digital clock and real-time arrival sign, bench, large trash can, branded windscreen, advertising kiosk, and a bicycle rack. The new shelters were purchased using capital funding obtained by the agency, to be specifically used on bus stop enhancements.

“The premium shelters are designed to enhance the customer’s experience at the bus stop,” says Omnitrans Development Planning Manager  Anna Jaiswal. “They are unique because unlike our standard shelters, they have electronic signage telling customers when the next bus will arrive, a larger trash can to help keep the stop clean, and a bike rack to improve bike-to-bus connections.”

Additional premium shelters will be installed at high ridership bus stops as funds become available.