Spagnolo New Chair of Omnitrans Board, Dailey Vice Chair

New Omnitrans Board Chair Sam Spagnolo (left) and Vice Chair Ron Dailey.

New Omnitrans Board Chair Sam Spagnolo (left) and Vice Chair Ron Dailey.

Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Pro Tem Sam Spagnolo takes the helm of the Omnitrans Board of Directors on July 1, 2015.  Loma Linda Council Member Ron Dailey was elected Vice Chair at the June 3 Board meeting.  Both will serve a two-year term.

Spagnolo succeeds outgoing Board Chair Alan Wapner, Mayor Pro Tem of Ontario.  The 20-member Omnitrans Board consists of the County Board of Supervisors and elected officials representing each of the 15 cities Omnitrans serves.

“I appreciate the opportunity to guide the Board to ensure that Omnitrans operates effectively and efficiently to deliver vital transportation services to our communities,” said Spagnolo.  “All people in the San Bernardino Valley benefit from improvements to our public transportation system, including infrastructure projects like the new San Bernardino Transit Center opening in September, to enhance regional connectivity and expand transportation options.”

Spagnolo joined the Omnitrans Board in 2011 and was elected Vice Chair in 2013. He has chaired the Board’s Operations & Safety Committee since 2014 and served on the Plans & Programs Committee since 2011. Spagnolo was elected to the Rancho Cucamonga City Council in 2004.  He also serves on the League of California Cities on the Employee Relations Policy Committee and as Vice President of the Inland Empire Desert Mountain Division, rising to President in September. He is Chair of the Inland Empire Task Force, and Vice-Chair of the Foothill Freeway Corridor Design Authority. Spagnolo is a retired Fire Captain with thirty-five years of service, retiring in 2003.

Dailey joined the Omnitrans Board in 2010, also serving on the Board’s Administrative & Finance Committee in 2010 and 2011 and on the Plans & Programs Committee from 2011 to present. He was first elected to the Loma Linda City Council in 2010.  Dailey is Dean of the School of Dentistry at Loma Linda University, where he has worked since 1975.

Omni Profile: From Coach Operator to Trainer

Steve SisnerosName: Steve Sisneros
Joined Omnitrans: 2002
Previous positions: Coach Operator, Coach Operator Instructor
Promoted: April 2015
New Position: Fleet Safety and Training Instructor

“Having been a Coach Operator, I understand what’s it like to be out there every day as a driver. And as a former Coach Operator Instructor, I know how to teach and evaluate students to help them succeed. I guess you could say I’ve been on both sides of the table.

“In some ways it allows me to approach things with a fresher perspective. For a lot of our seasoned trainers, it’s been 10 or 12 years since they were coach operators.  A lot has changed since then–especially in technology–and that brings new challenges.

“Take cell phones, for example. Before, people would just pay their fare and find a seat. Now you have passengers who are talking on the phone or trying to text while they are at the farebox. A action that normally takes seconds now can take minutes while they fumble for their fare. It slows down the line of people waiting to board and can put you behind schedule. Sometimes it’s a doctor call or something that can’t be helped. It’s important for our coach operators to know how to politely handle that situation. It could be as simple as asking the person to step aside or take a seat while the other passengers board, then come up and pay their fare once they have their money or pass ready for the farebox.

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First day on the job. The training staff give Steve’s cubicle the traditional TP welcome.

 

“Controlling a coach and becoming familiar with the different quirks of each vehicle is relatively easy. Learning to manage passengers is a skill that can take a lifetime to master.

“As a training instructor, I want to keep  classes interesting and applicable to situations coach operators will run into on a regular basis. There’s a lot of material they have to absorb and skills they must become proficient in. My job is to help them succeed. Part of the reason I wanted to become a trainer was so that I could help make a difference in other people’s lives.

“I guess the most surprising moment for me so far was when a class I had been working with graduated. I was sending them on their way out the door, when one of them turned around and asked if they could hug me. I laughed and said sure. One by one they each came up and gave me a big hug. It still makes me blush, but it showed me that they appreciated my part in their training. It was a very humbling and unexpected experience.”

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Omnitrans buses not in service July 4th

Omnitrans buses will not be operating on July 4th in honor of Independence DayBUSINESS OFFICES CLOSED JULY 3RD
Omnitrans administrative offices will be closed on Friday, July 3rd, but buses will continue to maintain their regular schedules.

NO BUS SERVICE JULY 4TH
Omnitrans coach operator Marie Breaux celebrates the 4th of July with a special hatThere will be no bus service on Saturday, July 4th in observation of Independence Day. Buses will resume their normal schedules on Sunday, July 5th.

NO FIREWORKS ON BUSES
Planning your July 4th celebrations? Please be aware that, for the safety of our passengers, the transportation of fireworks is not permitted on any Omnitrans vehicle.  We wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday!

 

San Bernardino Transit Center photo tour

The San Bernardino Transit Center will open in September, and crews are hard at work on all the final details. Here’s a behind-the-scenes photo tour of this new facility so far.

San Bernardino Transit Center - Photographer Janice Kuhn

Solar panels installed on the roof of the San Bernardino Transit Center power the building. Omnitrans is applying for LEED Gold status of the facility.

The San Bernsardino Transit Center - Photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

The transit center will include connections between the sbX Green Line and 12 of Omnitrans’ other bus routes (including the new 290 freeway express route), as well as other regional services such as MARTA Over-the-Mountain routes and the VVTA BV-Link.

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Lobby entrance. Public hours for the Transit Center building will be 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Meridian fencing and designated crosswalks are in place at the transit center to prevent bus-pedestrian accidents.

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Seating outside the lobby entrance

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Lobby with view of the customer service desk. The lobby will have TV screens featuring customer information for all routes as well as Metrolink, MARTA, and VVTA information.

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The customer service desk, located in the lobby, will be open from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

View of outside of the security monitoring station from the lobby

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Inside the security monitoring station, security guards have a full view of most of the grounds. Cameras placed throughout the transit center property are monitored 24/7.

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Patrons can enter the L-shaped lobby from multiple directions. They also have access to public restrooms.

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Public water fountains in the lobby offer purified water as well as a dispenser to fill up water bottles.

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

The public men’s bathroom off the lobby

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

The public women’s bathroom off the lobby

The San Bernardino Transit Center - Photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

The drivers’ bathrooms are very similar to the public bathrooms. In addition to sinks and toilets, these bathrooms include lockers and a shower.

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

The drivers’ break room, still under construction. The area beyond the glass is a small patio with a zen garden

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

The sink area in the drivers’ break room

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

A Zen garden on the patio outside the drivers’ room features bubbling, recirculating fountains and drought resistant plants

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Back patio outside drivers’ room. The slotted awning and dividers run all along the side of the building.

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

The serene outdoor areas around the building feature seating as well as drought tolerant plants and trees.

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Plaza in front of the building

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Large walkways are lined with tall lights that keep the property well lit in the evenings. Omnitrans hopes to partner with a developer for transit-oriented development in the vacant field at the corner of E Street & Rialto

San Bernardino Transit Center - photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

One of the art features of the transit center is a large, working sundial sculpture .

The San Bernardino Transi Center - photographer Janice Kuhn

Brilliantly colored drought tolerant plants brighten the landscape

San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG)  oversaw the design and construction of the project. The constructions manager is Parsons Brinckerhoff and the contractor is Kemp Brothers.

By late 2016, SANBAG is expected to complete the extension of Metrolink service to the Transit Center site. The Metrolink platform will be adjacent to and accessible from the Omnitrans bus waiting areas. Future Redlands Rail will also connect to this transit center around 2021.

For more photos of the San Bernardino Transit Center visit our Flickr page.

Station Conversations: New start for a lucky man

Many of our bus passengers have fantastic stories to share about their lives. Take Refugio Salazar. I caught up with him at the sbX Civc Center staton in downtown San Bernardino.

Refugio is going back to school to get his GED and then plans to attend Valley College.

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“I’d like to train as a car mechanic,” he tells me. “I used to work on cars all the time, and I’m pretty good at it. But now the diagnostic equipment is all computerized, so I need to get familiar with that.”

As we talk, I tell him I write stories about our passengers. His eyes light up and he laughs. “I’ve got a story for you. I’ve almost died twice in my life.”

“The first time I was just three-years-old,” he continues. “I was out in the yard and my father was mowing the lawn. The lawnmower blade hit an old silverware spoon that was on the ground. It flew up in the air and lodged in my skull. My parents were scared to death. The doctors told them I would likely have some brain damage since the edge of the spoon was just touching the brain when they extracted it.”

He shrugs and smiles. “I beat the odds though, and never had a problem with that. As you can see, I’m doing pretty well.”

“How did you almost die the second time?” I asked curiously.

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“I was transporting produce in a truck down Mount Baldy Road when I suddenly lost my brakes. I was going about 50 miles per hour and coming up on a steep curve with no way of slowing the vehicle. My choice was to either crash into the side of the hill or take my chances making that curve at high speed,” he shakes his head, remembering. “I choose the curve.”

“As I made a hard turn into the curve something amazing happened. The truck swerved, tipped onto the shoulder and then stopped. It just stopped. For no reason.” Refugio pauses, a look of wonderment on his face. “I’m convinced that someone was looking out for me that day. For some reason God chose to save me.”

“It sounds like you’re a very lucky guy,” I told him.

He nods and smiles broadly. “I am. Life’s good. I’m engaged to my fourth grade girlfriend. I love everything about her, and she loves everything about me. We’re very happy together.”

An sbX vehicle pulls up to the station, and Refugio waves as he climbs aboard.

I wave back. You meet the most interesting people on the bus.

Winners of our #bikeomni Instagram contest

We had a lot of fun with our #bikeomni Instagram contest and enjoyed looking through all the entries. Congratulations to our three prizewinners!

Grand Prize winner Carlos Almaguer’s bike was giving him problems, so when his girlfriend heard about our contest, she urged him to enter. The odds of winning looked good, so he thought he’d give it a shot. Now he’s the proud owner of a Canondale Quick 6 bicycle from Don’s Bicycles of Redlands and Rialto. He also won three 31-day bus passes that he plans to give to his mom. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog article featuring Carlos.

winner 1

Second Place winner Justin Herchenroeder will be attending Chaffey this year. His dream job is being a park ranger. He loves science and the environment and is a proud Eagle Scout. Justin won a $75 gift card to Don’s Bicycles and two 31-day bus passes.

winner 2

Our third place winner Yolanda Jimenez had been going through some tough times recently and was feeling pretty unlucky. It was her son who finally convinced her to enter the contest, hoping that she would win the new bike. Although she didn’t get the bike, she’s happy to win a $25 gift card to Don’s Bicycles and a 31-day bus pass.

winner 3

We want to thank Don’s Bicycles of Redlands and Rialto for their generous prize donations and for partnering with us on the contest. You can visit them online at http://donsbikeshop.com.

Dump the pump; treat yourself to transit!

dump the pump 2015

Do you feel like you deserve more spending money and more time to yourself? Maybe it’s time to dump the pump and treat yourself to public transit!

You see, while you were getting cut off by that aggressive driver this morning, our passengers were reading, surfing the web or listening to their favorite tunes.

While you were fillling up your gas tank, our passengers were treating themselves to lunch, movies or mall shopping with the money they saved by taking the bus.

And when you were circling that parking lot looking for a decent parking space, our passengers were being dropped off in front of their destinations.

Remember that $150 monthly insurance bill you got in the mail yesterday along with the $200 California car registration you forgot was coming due?  Our passengers were opening the 31-day pass they had bought online for $55 or less.

#dumpthepump

Thursday, June 18th is national Dump the Pump Day–the perfect time to ditch the car for the day and give public transit a try. What are you waiting for? Join the ranks of smart riders who choose the bus for their daily commute.

Of course, part of the fun of trying something different is posting a selfie to share with friends. We’ve got you covered! Follow this link for a Pledge to Ride certificate that you can pose with for your photo. You can even join people all across the nation who are posting selfies to the Dump the Pump event page.

Enjoy the ride!

dump the pump 2015

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org