Tag Archives: public transit

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!

Omnitrans Joins Community to Celebrate Start of Arrow Mainline Construction

We’re closer to getting aboard Arrow! Hundreds gathered near the historic Redlands Depot on Friday, July 19, 2019 to celebrate the groundbreaking of Arrow mainline construction! Omnitrans joined the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA), Redlands Passenger Rail Project, and community at large at the ceremony, which marked the start of the last major phase of bringing passenger rail to the region.

Once mainline construction is complete, the system will begin a testing phase before service launches in 2022. Omnitrans will be the operating entity of Arrow, while SBCTA oversees the current construction and development process.

“We believe that the Arrow will provide an attractive alternative to driving on our crowded freeways,” said Omnitrans Board of Directors Chair David Avila. “With convenient connections to multiple Omnitrans bus routes and Metrolink trains in downtown Redlands and San Bernardino, Arrow passengers will have easy access to all of Southern California.”

To learn more about the Arrow’s route, trains, and other important dates, visit RedlandsRailProject.com.

Photo Album: Arrow Groundbreaking Ceremony

Celebrating a 35-Year Journey at Omnitrans

Rudy H. was joined by colleagues and staff in the East Valley body shop to celebrate his 35th anniversary earlier this month.

In 1978, Rudy Hernandez was just a young adult in an apprenticeship at Omnitrans, trying to figure out a viable career path after high school. Three years later, that student program ceased, and Rudy had to seek an outside opportunity, but his sights remained set on Omnitrans. This month, Rudy celebrates a remarkable milestone – his 35th year working with the agency’s Maintenance Department.

“Omnitrans was always very supportive and encouraged me to continue my education, so I went on to junior college while working here in the student program,” says Rudy. “In 1981, the program ended after three years, so I went to work somewhere else. I worked there about three years, but there were a lot of airborne hazardous materials and chemicals at the worksite, and they did not take safety very seriously. I left after applying for a job opening back at Omnitrans and getting re-hired.”

In the late 1970’s, Omnitrans was an up and coming transit agency in the San Bernardino Valley. There was no bus wash in the bus yard back then – just water, a mop, and a broom. Depending on the direction the wind was blowing at that time of day, maintenance staff had to face the bus in the opposite direction to keep from being splashed as they hosed the buses at the end of their run!

“When I came back to Omnitrans in 1984 as a utility service worker, we now had a bus wash, a bigger crew and supervisors who were good leaders and trainers,” says Rudy. “Before that, there was less organizational structure and less guidance when it came to our tasks.”

Over the years, Rudy’s exceptional performance earned him job promotions to mechanic helper, and in 1990, he became an equipment mechanic, the position he has held since. He has always enjoyed doing work that is hands-on and gets satisfaction from finding solutions to new problems he encounters while working on buses. This is how Rudy defines his success and the reason why he has had a rewarding career with Omnitrans.

Although Rudy preferred a career working in the shop rather than pursuing a management role in the office, as a senior employee he has still had the opportunity to help guide and pass down first-hand knowledge and experience to new employees as they come into the shop and begin their own career journeys.

“Sometimes, younger employees come to work here, and they are so quiet that they may not even greet you,” says Rudy. “When I began working here, I attended a training session and the instructor told us to always greet people walking down the hall and to be welcoming. When you are cordial with your co-workers, that helps build relations and become family faster.”

“I developed that habit and have learned that it helps you become a team much quicker, but it takes gray hair to learn that,” laughs Rudy. “When I was younger, I was probably the same way, but eventually you realize that other people are just as important as you are. It’s one big machine and it takes everyone to keep it running.”

Maintenance Director Connie Raya (right) and Maintenance Manager Omar Bryant (left) presented Rudy (center) with a special award of appreciation for his years of service.

Rudy’s managers and peers describe him as a committed, diligent employee – so much so, that after 35 years at Omnitrans, he has a near impeccable attendance record, and never took a sick family day off despite having gone through several losses including his father and both grandmothers.

“Rudy is a reliable, trustworthy, and dependable team member,” says Maintenance Manager Omar Bryant. “He takes his work very seriously and has been a pleasure to work with over the years.”

“I have always been taught to go to work on time, stay focused, and do a good job every day,” says Rudy of his secret to career longevity. “When I had a paper route as one of my first jobs, we had to deliver each paper to each house within a certain timeframe. That’s where I learned the importance of timeliness. Show up on time and do a good job. It’s been that way ever since, and I’ll go out with that mentality.”

Congratulations, Rudy! Omnitrans is thankful for all your years of dedicated service.

Local Volunteers Team Up for a Community Bus Stop Clean-Up Day

Whether we are transporting our San Bernardino Valley residents from point A to point B, or coming together for a beautification day of service, “connecting our community” is not just an Omnitrans slogan – it’s what drives us.

Last month, Omnitrans has the pleasure of partnering with We Are The Change and their dedicated volunteers for a community bus stop clean-up day. More than 20 volunteers of all ages gathered on Saturday, May 18th with the shared goal of improving the cleanliness of the city.

A total of 12 bus stops were cleaned by the end of the day, with all trash picked up in the area surrounding the Waterman and Baseline intersection in San Bernardino.

“The volunteers were enthusiastic and worked hard to make the area look great,” said Omnitrans Development Manager Anna Jaiswal. “We are very grateful to We Are The Change San Bernardino and their leader, Luis Ojeda, for recruiting volunteers and organizing a successful clean-up day.”

We Are The Change is a grassroots project started by Luis Ojeda, a San Bernardino resident whose commitment to his city sparked a movement to take action for the betterment of our community.

“Thank you to all who participated, and to Omnitrans for providing water, snacks, and trash bags,” said Luis. “The volunteers were very motivated, and they all did a great job. This is a result of the love that we have for our city, and I invite everyone to be a part of the change.”

To get involved, follow We Are The Change on Facebook to stay up to date on future involvement opportunities. Local organizations and businesses may also become “Trash Busters” and formally join our Adopt-a-Stop program.

Rancho Cucamonga Resident Benefits from Lyft Ride Program

Written By: Ruby Sulca, Travel Trainer

The Special Transportation Services Department offers a variety of programs for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Richard F. (pictured left) is a thriving senior living in Rancho Cucamonga. He has participated in one of these programs, the Lyft Ride Program, for several years. The program gives Richard access to Lyft service to get to medical appointments, run errands, and visit family and friends at half the regular cost.

Richard has spent over 15 years teaching fellow visually impaired individuals how to use technology. He has taught computer courses, both in English and Spanish, throughout Southern California, and serves as an advocate for people with disabilities. Recently, Richard spoke at Capitol Hill on behalf of the visually impaired regarding fair pay for individuals with disabilities.

As a long-time public transportation user, Richard learned how to ride independently at age 15. He first found out about the Lyft Ride Program about three years ago, and became very interested in the discount offered to qualifying residents in our service area. Soon after, he began using Lyft to travel to various destinations.

Richard expresses a high level of satisfaction with the service provided by Client Relations Coordinator Cindy Inclan, and the rest of the Special Transportation Services team. He enjoys the independence and freedom he has gained through the Lyft Ride Program, which gives him the ability to come and go as he pleases at any time or day of the week.

“The Lyft Ride Program is a valuable tool that enhances the quality of life of individuals with disabilities,” says Richard. “You have to put forth the effort to keep your independence and succeed as an individual with a disability.”

The Omnitrans Ride Program offers credit for seniors and individuals with disabilities for both traditional taxi and Lyft service. Available service credit denominations are available up to $150 per month and are sold at a 50% discount. For more information about the Ride Program, please contact Special Transportation Services at (909) 379-7341 or email at ctsa@omnitrans.org.

$1 Summer Youth Fare Returns with an Additional Month of Summer Fun!

This summer, the sun will shine bright, and the rides will be cheaper. With more free time on your hands, Omnitrans makes it easy to get out and explore with $1 bus rides! Due to rising popularity among young riders, the Summer Youth Fare deal returns during June, July, and, new this year, August.

Riders 18 and under may take advantage of the summertime promotion on any Omnitrans route, including: Freeway Express, sbX, or OmniGo community circulators (regularly $1.75 for one-way rides) from June 1 through August 31, 2019. That’s one extra month of discounted rides to summer fun than in prior years.

The discounted fare is also available on smartphones using Token Transit mobile ticketing. To get started, download the free Token Transit app and go paperless. Pay using a debit or credit card then flash your activated pass on your smartphone to the driver when boarding.

Riders should be ready to show bus drivers proof of age or school ID card to confirm eligibility for discount, if asked. To plan your ride, use our online Trip Planner, type in your origin and destination, and you’re off to a summer adventure!

Click here for a list of fun summer destinations you can get to with Omnitrans!

Omnitrans Earns Top Industry Honors in Transit Safety and Security

Omnitrans accepts APTA Bus Safety & Security Gold Awards in Louisville, Kentucky. From left: Omnitrans Director of Operations Shawn Brophy, Director of Maintenance Connie Raya, Safety & Regulatory Compliance Specialist Terry Morocco, Fleet Safety & Training Instructor Kimberly Perkins, Maintenance Supervisor Victoria Chesney, APTA President & CEO Paul Skoutelas.

Omnitrans snags the gold! We are proud to be recognized by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for improvements made to the safety and security of our customers and employees. The Bus Safety & Security Excellence Gold Awards were presented in a ceremony held in Louisville, Kentucky on May 21.

“These awards recognize our team’s efforts to build a strong safety and security culture through constant vigilance and continual innovation,” said Omnitrans CEO P. Scott Graham. “The public entrusts us with transporting them safely and securely wherever life takes them, and that remains our top priority.”

Winning transit agencies were selected by APTA based on four criteria: project effectiveness; benefits accrued directly from the positive impact of the program; innovation; and project transferability that allows other transit systems to replicate the success.

“These award-winning public transportation programs are models of excellence in the areas of safety and security,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “The implementation of these initiatives demonstrates the ongoing commitment to improving safety and security for their passengers, employees, and communities in the public transit industry.”

On the security front, Omnitrans was lauded for its innovative creation of an amateur radio service that ensures our ability to communicate with emergency responders throughout our service area during emergency events, when cellular/mobile and landline telephone services are lost.  The Inland Valley Emergency Communications Service HAM radio group has grown from 8 members in 2015 to 22 members in 2019.

On the safety side, Omnitrans was commended for implementation of technology, equipment, and training program improvements which contributed to a 32% reduction in preventable accidents since 2012.  Efforts included the addition of audible turn signals on buses and new-generation mobility device securement equipment to all buses. Currently, Omnitrans is also piloting automated collision-avoidance technology.

Safety training innovations include a state-of-the-art bus driving simulator used by coach operator trainees to supplement classroom and behind-the-wheel training.  Omnitrans also employs two Fleet Safety Trainers who are DMV Certified Examiners, which streamlines the process to complete mandated DMV required testing needed to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License.

Omnitrans is appreciative of all the dedicated employees whose contributions have led to this prestigious industry recognition! Below is a video highlighting the improvements that garnered us this “nation’s best” award.

Jeremiah Bryant to Lead New Strategic Development Department

After 12 years of increasing responsibilities at Omnitrans, Jeremiah Bryant has been promoted to Director of Strategic Development at the transit agency.

Functions of the newly-formed Strategic Development Department will include service planning, development planning, stops and stations management, grant writing, and business intelligence analysis to help us better serve riders.

“We believe Jeremiah’s skills and experience will help Omnitrans strategically adapt to a rapidly changing landscape within transit and in the San Bernardino Valley,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham.

“I appreciate the investment Omnitrans places in its employees,” said Jeremiah. “Nearly 12 years ago, I joined Omnitrans and hoped to use my analytical abilities to aid the agency. Over the years, Omnitrans has invested in training, development and provided opportunities for growth.”

Bryant began his career at Omnitrans as a Marketing Analyst in 2007 and was promoted to Planning and Scheduling Manager in 2010.  He has represented Omnitrans on numerous regional committees and served as the Agency’s primary contact with the American Bus Benchmarking Group, a national industry peer group. He recently graduated from the inaugural Omnitrans Leadership Development Academy.

“I look forward to leveraging the investment the agency has made in me by leading the Strategic Development Department as we move to enhance Omnitrans’ service in the future,” said Jeremiah.

sbX Bus Rapid Transit Marks 5 Years!

Five years ago, Omnitrans launched the sbX Green Line serving Loma Linda and San Bernardino on April 28, 2014, as one of the first bus rapid transit (BRT) lines in the nation. It was the first of its kind in the Inland Empire.

Ridership on sbX has grown from an average of just under 42,000 passengers per month in 2014 to nearly 70,000 per month so far in 2019. In all, over 3.4 million trips have been taken aboard the silver sbX 60-foot articulated coaches.

“We’re proud of the success of sbX,” said Omnitrans CEO P. Scott Graham.  “It demonstrates that investing in speedier transit options and enhanced station amenities will attract customers.”

To take a ride on sbX, visit Omnitrans.org for Green Line map and schedule of operations.

National #GetOnBoard Day 2019

Representing California’s 35th District, Congresswoman Norma Torres (third from right) supports National Get on Board Day.

Today we celebrate National Get on Board Day, sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Get on Board Day is a national awareness and advocacy day highlighting the many ways public transit provides economic, social, cultural, environmental, and safety benefits for all Americans.

Get on board for public transit and sign the online petition to pledge your support for investments in public transportation in the United States!

A message from Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, representing California’s 47th Assembly District:

Why you should #GetOnBoard for public transportation (click to enlarge):