Tag Archives: omnitrans wheelchair rider

Yucaipa Resident Sets Example for Future Student Generations

Omnitrans rider Marco B. enjoys the friendly faces of our coach operators, who help connect him where he needs to go, such as 20-year OmniGo driver Bonnie Strudevant.

Marco B. (pictured above) and Omnitrans go way back – he has been a regular on the bus for 16 years! One day, while connecting at the San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC), his electric wheelchair was running low on battery power. Marco feared that he would not be able to make it from the sbX platform into the vehicle.

While on the sbX platform at the SBTC, he met two members of the Omnitrans marketing staff and asked for assistance charging his wheelchair to complete his travel. A few weeks later, we caught up with Marco at the Yucaipa Transit Center, where we learned more about his experience, and how Omnitrans fits into his daily life.

Every day, Marco relies on Omnitrans for his transportation needs. He says the bus is his “go-to” whenever he wants to cruise around and talk to people as he heads to the city library or his favorite community park. “I love feeling the breeze as I head to the bus stop and enjoy looking at the mountains while riding the bus,” says Marco.

Marco does not let the fact that he is confined to a mobility device hold him back. He often travels from Yucaipa as far as San Bernardino for school and medical appointments. Recently, he moved from uptown Yucaipa, where he frequently caught OmniGo to connect with Routes 8 and 19 at the Yucaipa Transit Center.

To catch Omnitrans near his new residence, he travels two long blocks to the nearest stop, but he does not mind this commute at all. In fact, he is now cheerful about being outside and making friends with fellow transit riders – a far cry from his days as a middle and high school student.

As a teenager, Marco experienced severe bullying, which motivated him to make a difference. Now, he is passionate about providing a safe place for people who are experiencing bullying. He believes that we need to be a good example for the next generation.

In 2015, he founded the group Free Bullying Zone with his friend, Thomas. Together, they reach out to students throughout the Inland Empire, spreading anti-bullying messages, and Omnitrans is happy to help them get there!

First bus ride leads to lifelong friendship

Do you remember your first Omnitrans bus driver? Herman does. In fact, coach operator Frank Uribe made him feel so comfortable that they are now lifelong friends.

“The experience changed everything for me,” says Herman, whose diabetes has left him confined to a wheelchair. “For three and a half years I was bedridden and never left the house.”

His wife Patricia reaches over and squeezes his hand. “It was a hard time for us. I had to fight to get Herman an electric wheelchair. And he was extremely nervous about taking public transportation and being at the mercy of strangers.”

But when they boarded Frank’s bus together for the first time, the driver’s friendliness and humor immediately put them at ease.

“He made Herman feel so normal and got him excited over traveling on the bus. He made it a great experience and really cared about us. Now we go out of our way a lot of times just to take Frank’s bus and say hello. I think he should be nominated for Employee of the Year!” says Patricia. She and Herman give Frank a big grin and he laughs.

“I have to say they are one of my favorite passengers,” Frank admits with a smile. “They are always complimenting me and the other drivers and writing up commendations for us. They really are a great couple, and they make my job a pleasure.”

-Juno Kughler Carlson
junocarlson@omnitrans.org

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