Monthly Archives: April 2012

Detours scheduled due to Loma Linda Triathlon

Physically-challenged athletes will compete along side their able-bodied counterparts – and raise much-needed funds along the way – at the upcoming 2012 Loma Linda University PossAbilities Triathlon. The Triathlon takes place on Sunday, April 29th from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. For more information on this event please click here.

Omnitrans bus routes 2, 9 & 19 will need to detour during this event and several bus zones will be inaccessible. Please review the details below and plan accordingly.

THE FOLLOWING ROUTE DETOURS ARE IN EFFECT
SUNDAY, APRIL 29TH BETWEEN 6:00 AM & 10:00 AM

Detour for Route 2 (Southbound)
From – Anderson
Left – 10 Freeway (East)
Exit – Mountainview
Right – Mountainview
Right – Redlands Blvd.
Right – Anderson
(Layover at the first stop after turn)

Detour for Route 9 (Eastbound)
From – Barton Road
Left – Waterman Ave.
Right – Redlands Blvd.
Right – Mountainview
Left – Barton Road
(Continue Route)

Detour for Route 9 (Westbound)
From – Barton Road
Right – Mountainview
Left – Redlands Blvd.
Left – Waterman Ave.
Right – Barton Road
(Continue Route)

Detour for Route 19 (Eastbound)
From – Barton Road
Left – Waterman Ave.
Right – Redlands Blvd.
(Continue Route)

Detour for Route 19 (Westbound)
From – Redlands Blvd.
Left – Waterman Blvd.
Right – Barton Road
(Continue Route)

 
INACCESSIBLE BUS ZONES DURING THE TRIATHLON
SUNDAY, APRIL 29TH BETWEEN 6:00 AM & 10:00 AM

Route 2 (Northbound & Southbound)
Redlands/Anderson (#5502-5512)
Anderson/Academy (#5503-5562)
Anderson/University (#5505)
Anderson/Anderson (#5506)
Anderson/Prospect (#5507)
Anderson/Taylor (#5510)
Anderson/Stewart (#5511)

Routes 9 & 19
Waterman/Barton (#5191)
University/Barton (#5135-5190)
University/Yardley (#5137)
University/San Juan (#5138)
University/Evans (#5139-5187)
Campus/Prospect (#5140-5186)
Barton/Campus (#5141-5185)
Barton/Anderson (#5142-5184)
Barton/Benton (#0063-0072)
Barton/LomaLinda (#5144-5182)
Barton/Mountainview (#5145-5182)
Van Leuven/Mountainview (#5146-5179)
Mountainview/ Mission (#)
Redlands/Mountainview (#5177)
Mountainview/Cottonwood (#5178)
Mountainview/Prospect (#5180)
Mountainview/Barton (#5181)
Rosarita Dr./University (#5189)

Coach Operator gives passengers a reason to smile

When he was a little boy, Reginald Jamerson loved riding around on a toy school bus his parents had bought for him. His family used to joke that that he would grow up to be a bus driver one day.

“I know it sounds corny,” laughs 26-year-old Reggie. “But even as an adult I never forgot the fun I had with that little bus. I worked for a while as a security guard and later as a bingo floor clerk at San Manuel. But when I heard that there was an opening for a coach operator at Omnitrans I just had to apply. After I went through the training program, I was hooked all over again. I’ve been driving for the agency about 3 years now. “

For Reggie, the best part of his job is the passengers. “I meet a lot of people every day, and it keeps the job interesting. I make a point of greeting all my passengers when they get on the bus or pay their fares, and thank them for riding when they leave. If I can put a smile on someone’s face and make them have a good day, I will. You always want people to have a good experience. For all you know, the person boarding your bus might never have ridden before, and you’re their first impression. “

Recently Reggie was going out of service for the evening when he noticed an unusually high number of passengers who had been left behind at a Route 14 stop because the bus had been at full capacity. With permission from dispatch, he turned around, loaded the passengers, and then ran the route all the way to Fontana.

“Those late evening trips are always so full, and I didn’t want anyone to get stranded or miss their connection. People were really nice and thanked me over and over. One woman told me she had been worried because the battery on her wheelchair was almost drained and she hadn’t known what she was going to do. It felt good to be able to help.”

Another time Reggie observed a woman in a wheelchair coming up the street when he was at a stop. “For some reason, I got the feeling she was trying to make the bus. Now most of the time, people try to signal you and let you know, and I try to wait for them. But this woman wasn’t doing anything other than run her wheelchair full blast up the sidewalk. I lowered the ramp. She made it to the stop and flew right by me. I thought I was mistaken at that point, but she turned around and came back. Turns out she was going so fast she couldn’t stop quick enough! We laughed and she thanked me for waiting for her.”

What’s the hardest thing about being a coach operator? “Other cars,” said Reggie without hesitation. “People always think buses are slow and are constantly trying to pass you or cut you off. You have to constantly be aware of what’s going on around you. Safety is a huge part of our training, and we’re taught to stay alert to the space around us at all times and pay attention to what could be a potentially impatient driver.”

Reggie has a passion for public transit and eventually hopes to move up in the agency and become a field supervisor. He goes to school part-time and recently switched his major from pediatrics to accounting. He says it’s not as big a switch as it sounds, since pediatrics is very science and math heavy. In his down time he coaches basketball for the City of Redlands at the Redlands Community Center.

His parents still remember the little toy school bus that first inspired Reggie, and his dad proudly brags on his son to anyone who will listen. “My dad has started taking the bus a lot now that his car is having problems. Whenever one of the other drivers picks him up, he always goes into these stories about me and how his kid is a bus driver.” Reggie shakes his head smiling. “I always hear about it the next day.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Burger Mania – a Full-Service Fast-Food Restaurant

Burger Mania crew (l to r) Dimitrios Douvikas, Maria Delgado and co-owners Dina and Vasily Katsafados

Customers arrive as early as 6 a.m. at Burger Mania to order any of a variety of egg breakfasts, from hash browns to bacon, sausage, ham, steak and polish sausage. There’s even a burger patty and eggs dish. A combination of American and Mexican cuisine rounds out the menu for lunch and dinner.

Construction activities for the Omnitrans E Street Corridor sbX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project have been in full swing since February at the intersection of North Mall Way in San Bernardino, but that doesn’t stop the regulars, 80 percent of whom co-owner Dina Katsafados said she knows by name.

With only 25 parking spaces, soon the ‘Mania faithful will have another way to get there, with a transit station to be built just 200 feet from the entrance.

Dina Katsafados manages the store with her husband Vasily. They bought the former Del Taco building at 930 S. E St. in 2009, with the intent of it becoming a fixture in the community. The couple has made the city their home and even hosts a classic car show on the fourth Saturday of each month in their parking lot.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was 8,” she said. “I bused tables, cleaned floors, I did it all, for just about every type of fast-food and sit-down restaurant. Fast food lacks personality, that hospitable feel. I wanted to do something different and make it my own, so I found a niche in the market – a full-service experience at a fast-food price.”

–David Rutherford

Editor’s Note: Each month, the sbXpress newsletter will include a profile of a business in the construction zones along the corridor. If you would like to be considered for a profile, please contact us via email at sbXnews@omnitrans.org or call the project helpline (855) sbX-NEWS.

Burger Mania co-owners Vasily and Dina Katsafados

Omnitrans rider’s inspirational life

When she was 12-years-old, Krystle Wheeler’s mother handed her money and a bus pass and told her to go have fun at the mall. “I am the oldest of five children,” laughed Krystle. “I think she just needed to get one of us out of the house. But I’ve have been riding the bus ever since.”

Now 26, Krystle is a student at Crafton Hills College where she is studying speech communication with a minor in math. Her plan is to earn a Masters of Divinity degree and become a United Methodist pastor. The process requires approximately 7 years of study, and applicants must also pass a credit check, criminal background check, a 3-part psychological exam and a written doctrine exam. Krystle is undaunted by the prospect.

“I really feel this is what I need to be doing with my life right now,” said Krystle. “I had taken a break from school for about 5 years. When I started up again last August, Omnitrans had started the Go Smart Program which allowed me to ride the bus for free with my student ID. I took it as a sign that this I where I needed to be. When I was going to school before, there were times I would panic because I didn’t have money for bus fare that week and had to stay home from class until I could afford it. Now I know I can go every day.”

About four years ago, Omnitrans played another important role in Krystle’s life when she decided to donate one of her kidneys to a total stranger. “I was listening to a Pro-Wrestling show on the Internet and heard about a wrestler who needed a kidney. I began researching how many people in this country need a kidney each year and found the numbers ranged in the tens of thousands. I knew I wanted to help and contacted the National Kidney Registry to find out how I could donate one of my own kidneys. I used Omnitrans to get to all the doctor’s appointments to get my bloodwork and preliminary testing done. I even rode Omnitrans to the Greyhound station so I could get to Scripps Hospital in San Diego where the surgery was performed.”

Krystle spent two days in the hospital and was off pain meds after two weeks. She doesn’t know who the woman is who received her kidney, but is happy that she was able to make a difference and would do it again if she could. Does she worry about what will happen to her if her remaining kidney becomes damaged? “Not at all,” says Krystle. “I would do it again if I could. I’m in excellent health. Generally kidney donors are in better shape than most of the population because of the extensive testing they have to pass. And in the rare instance where a donor has a problem with a remaining kidney, they get moved to the top of the donor list.”

Omnitrans has been with Krystle through every important stage of her life from her first mall excursion as a child to reaching out to save a stranger’s life to returning to school to pursue divinity studies. She encourages more people to take advantage of public transit and offers these words of advice to new riders. “Be safe, be aware of your surroundings, but enjoy the ride. I can’t think of anywhere else you can pay $4 to go everywhere you want to for an entire day.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

4th Street fence construction to prevent jaywalking

Construction crews have begun preparations today to install a fence along 4th Street which will maximize pedestrian safety by preventing jaywalking.

Today the city is expected to turn the traffic lights at 4th & G Streets and 4th & F Streets to flashing red which will essentially act as a stop sign for traffic.

The project is scheduled to be completed sometime around the end of April.

In San Bernardino, fines for jaywalking start at more than $200 and can go much higher depending on circumstances. For your safety, please use designated crosswalks and avoid walking through construction areas.

BUSINESS PROFILE: Pete’s Finishland

Daniel Trongale and his mother, Sandy DeDoes, owners of Pete’s Finishland

The aroma of fresh wood hits the nose as one walks into the furniture store at 1064 North E Street. Throughout the building are showcases of Mission, Old English and other styles of high-end unfinished wood furniture.

Such is the experience at Pete’s Finishland. Like the face of San Bernardino, many changes have occurred in and around the store during the past 54 years – the expansion of the company’s clientele into remote areas of San Bernardino Valley and the current transformation of E Street to a transit corridor, with the construction of the sbX Bus Rapid Transit Project.

Three things, however, have remained constant about Pete’s Finishland: quality products, loyal employees and a high level of customer service. In 1957 the late Pete DeDoes opened a small, unfinished wood furniture store on 9th Street and Waterman Avenue and became a master finisher. He moved the business to its current location the following year.

In 1979, he established Casual Living and Dept. 56 at 1036 N. E St. Casual Living offers high-quality patio furniture, and Dept. 56 collectible lighted villages.

The economy has gone through ups and downs during their long tenure. Current owner Sandy DeDoes and her late husband Pete, considered shutting down their specialty furniture business more than once throughout the years. They didn’t, mainly because of one guiding principle.

“Pete always said, you don’t close a business when you have loyal employees whose families depend on their income,” recalled Sandy DeDoes. “We’ve lived by that mantra ever since.”

Sandy plans to retire at the end of the year and can now shut down a portion of the business on her terms, thanks in part to the loyal employees and family. Her son will take over and run Pete’s Finishland.

You can visit Pete’s Finishland at 1064 North E Street in San Bernardino.

–David Rutherford

Editor’s Note: Each month, the sbXpress newsletter will include a profile of a business in the construction zones along the corridor. If you would like to be considered for a profile, please contact us via email at sbXnews@omnitrans.org or call the project helpline (855) sbX-NEWS.

Omnitrans to install 100 new solar lights at bus stops

Omnitrans has purchased 100 solar light fixtures to install at selected bus stops throughout its service area.

The lighting fixture attaches to the top of an individual bus stop pole and illuminates an area of about 6 feet around the base.  No push button activation is required.  It comes on automatically at dusk and turns off in 6 hours.  Each day it recalibrates itself to turn back on about 2 hours before sunrise.

If you know of a particular stop where lighting is need, please let us know by posting the location and stop number in the comments below.

Omnitrans fits this student’s on-the-go lifestyle

From shopping and visiting friends to going to school or out to a movie, Teresa Hernandez finds that Omnitrans fits her on-the-go lifestyle. The 34-year-old student is working towards her clerical/office certificate at San Bernardino Valley College where she is currently taking classes in psychology and health. “Psychology is probably my favorite subject,” said Teresa. “I like figuring out how people think and what makes them do the things they do. It applies to everything. Being able to read people is a great skill to have at any job.”

For the past five years, Teresa has been a regular Omnitrans rider. Her favorite trips include shopping destinations like Inland Center Mall, Starbucks, Sterling Movie Theater and K-Mart. “I love riding the bus,” said Teresa. “It’s comfortable, I can easily get wherever I need to go, and I like the independence it gives me. The bus driver on Route 2 is friendly and very nice. When someone like that recognizes you as a regular and smiles and says hello, it can really make your day.”

As a college student, Teresa is able to take advantage of the The Omnitrans Go Smart program which provides college students with unlimited bus rides on any route, at any time with their student ID. With the money she saves with Go Smart, Teresa is able to do things she loves to do like shop or socialize with friends.

“Every Thursday morning a small group of us meet at Molly’s Cafe here San Bernardino for breakfast.  A lot of my friends ride the bus like me, so it’s an easy destination for us. The food is great–they have everything you could possibly want to eat. It’s a fun way for us to catch up with each other.”

Do you have a favorite bus destination? Tell us about it! Email Juno Carlson at juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans provides experience for Job Corps intern


Omnitrans has been proud to host several interns from the Inland Empire Job Corps program in San Bernardino. The program offers no-cost education and career technical training to people ages 15 to 24 to help them improve the quality of their lives and teach them the skills they need in order to find meaningful jobs.

Nineteen-year-old Rosa Silva, our most recent intern, works in the call center where she provides assistance and information to Omnitrans passengers. “It’s an interesting job,” said Rosa. “You never know who will be on the other end of that phone. It might be someone who wants to file a complaint or commend a driver. A lot of the time it’s someone who needs help with directions and knowing which routes to take. Yesterday I took a call from a lady who needed Access bus info. Her 15-year-old daughter had recently gone through brain surgery and didn’t have long to live. She needed the bus to get her to her doctor appointments at the hospital. It makes you realize how important the bus service really is to people.”

A year ago Rosa was doing packing and maintenance work for a warehouse. She disliked the job and felt there was little room for advancement. Through Job Corps, she has been able to gain office and computer skills, become certified in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and work towards her business certification. The program also opened the door for the internship opportunity with Omnitrans.

“Job Corps has made a huge difference in my life,” said Rosa. “And I’ve learned so much through my internship at Omnitrans. I really enjoy working the call center and would love to continue to do this as a full-time job.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Rider Alert: Bus Stop Removals on Hospitality Lane

SbX construction has started on Hospitality Lane on the north side of the street. There are two different construction zones: Hospitality & Tippecanoe to Carnegie and Hospitality & Waterman to Diners Court. Like E street, the curbs & sidewalks are going to be removed so there will be no pedestrian access to the buses. The nearest stop in the Tippecanoe to Carnegie is at Harriman adjacent to the health club. The nearest stop in the Waterman to Dinners Court will be at Hunts Lane which is Soup Plantation and County Hall of Records.

Please follow all safety precautions and, please, no jaywalking or walking through construction areas.