“If not for Route 66, I would have gone crazy,” laughs Soraya, transit advocate and new resident to the City of Rancho Cucamonga. “It really made my life easy.”
After her family relocated from Shanghai, China to California for business earlier this year, Soraya awaited paperwork finalizations to have the ability to drive in the US. Luckily for her, Omnitrans provided a network of destinations for her to acclimate to life in a new city, plus a plethora of connections to the broader Southern California region via Metrolink.
“The bus has been my main mode of transportation for all purposes,” explains Soraya. “Grocery shopping is always an adventure getting on the bus with the bags of groceries. The bus also takes me to classes at the local community center here in Rancho Cucamonga, or to the Metrolink station to head toward Los Angeles.”
Prior to moving to the US, Soraya relied heavily on public transit, so that is not entirely new to her in California. Still, moving from a densely populated place like Shanghai to California’s Inland Empire was a bit of a culture shock.
“The main difference that I see is that not as many young people use public transit here,” says Soraya. “Every time I ride the bus, I see older people, but I wish more young people would ride the bus! I assure you that the mobile apps to track your bus make it easy, and it is much better than driving.”
Some people often are taken aback by Soraya’s enjoyment of using public transit. But having lived in China, she says that riding public transit is a way of life. Californians prefer to do their own driving as our road’s traffic patterns continue to show us, but Soraya encourages all to give transit a try, at least for some of their commute.
“I love the fact that all the Omnitrans drivers I have encountered have been friendly since the very beginning,” she says, thinking back to the first time she hopped on an Omnitrans bus. “They were patient and kind enough to explain how payment works. In general, it has been a very positive experience and I am thankful for the courteous drivers and the team behind the scenes that makes it happen.”
While Soraya does supplement her travel with Uber and Lyft connections, she is a strong advocate of public transit use. She shares that one day, she met three ladies waiting at the bus stop. They were friendly, elderly ladies with walking aids, but even then, they appreciated the sense of independence riding the bus provided them. If they could do it, so could younger people, she thought.
“If you would like to go somewhere and be around other people, take the bus. If you want to catch up on some reading, take the bus. If you want to save some money and reduce stress, take the bus. There are so many positives to using public transportation,” says Soraya.
“Being new to this country, I’d rather be looking through the window and seeing what’s out there, than to be astray trying to find parking lot and navigating traffic in a car.”