Bus helps student cope with the unexpected

Omnitrans rider Reginald Reid relies on Go Smart and NexTrip to help with his commute between Pasadena and San Bernardino.

Life doesn’t always go as planned. And when the unexpected happens, public transit often plays an important role in helping people recover, move forward and pursue their dreams.

For the past four years, Reginald Reid has been a regular Omnitrans rider. He enjoys all kinds of sports, loves to cook, read, sing and play music. A student at both San Bernardino Valley College and Cal State San Bernardino, he studies electrical engineering and water technology.

Recently he faced an unexpected crisis when he lost his job and could no longer afford his apartment. He was left with little option but to move in with his parents in Pasadena. “It’s tough on my folks,” he says. “I do everything I can for them in terms of odd jobs and home repairs, but times are definitely hard. I’m graduating this fall and am completely focused on finishing up my classes and looking for job opportunities. At this point I’m willing to do just about anything to bring in an income.”

Each morning Reginald boards the bus at 3:00 a.m. in Pasadena for the first leg of his trip into San Bernardino. There is little room in his schedule for sleep these days, and he maximizes his time by doing as much studying as he can on the bus. “I’m dead tired,” he admits. “But I’m almost there. My motivation is knowing that it’s all for just for a little while longer. This hasn’t broken me, it’s just made me stronger.”

Because Reginald transfers buses between different systems, timing is critical for him. When Omnitrans rolled out its NexTrip Program technology at the end of January he was an early adopter. “It’s great having real time information on bus arrivals. It’s important to me because it affects each sequential transfer I have to take. It can be very tricky traveling between agencies. I always have to be very aware of when service ends so I don’t get stuck. With NexTrip I feel more secure because I know exactly when the bus will get to my stop.  Once I even got an alert on my phone that my bus was rerouted due to construction and that I needed to go to an alternate stop. It makes planning everything so much easier.”

Reginald says he doesn’t know what he would do without public transit, which makes it possible for him to finish his education and get on his feet again. He’s determined to make it all work. “I have a new sense of purpose.  If one door doesn’t open, I’ll just try another. I try to stay positive.”

-Juno Kughler Carlson

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