Monthly Archives: May 2012

Coach Operators reach out to autistic students

Omnitrans coach operators Marianne and Larry Rose recently gave a presentation to a class of autistic students at Colton High School. The students asked many questions and were very interested in the daily schedule of a bus driver. They also learned how they can ask a bus driver for help if they can’t find their parents or a policeman.

As parents of an autistic son, Marianne and Larry stressed the important role public transit will play in the future for these students. They finished up the talk by distributing goodie bags, which were a huge hit.

Thank you, Marianne and Larry, for reaching out to make a difference in our community!

 

Couple pays it forward to bus drivers

Most of the time we hear from people if something has gone wrong. Husband and wife, Herman and Patricia Alderidge, make a point of telling us when things are going right.

Every week or so this, couple comes into the Omnitrans office with a list of coach operators who have gone above and beyond. “Omnitrans means everything to us,” said Herman, whose diabetes has left him confined to a wheelchair. “For three and a half years I never went anywhere–never left the house. I became depressed and it was very hard on both of us. We’ve been together since we were 15-years-old and for the first time I couldn’t go with her when she went out.”

Patricia finally convinced Herman to try traveling on the bus with her. At first he was nervous. It was hard being out in public again and feeling like he was at the mercy of his surroundings. But time with his wife was a huge incentive. Now he’s completely comfortable on the bus and likes getting out, meeting people and traveling to different destinations. The freedom and independence it gives him makes him feel like his old self again. And he and his wife can once more enjoy being out as couple, something they both treasure.

“The drivers have been so good to us,” said Patricia. “One of them recently recommended a car show that he thought we would like. We went that weekend and had a lot of fun together. He’s actually one of the names on our commendation list today.”

The couple has grown so fond of certain drivers that they go out of their way to catch their buses. A trip home that should only take 2 transfers turns into 4 so that they can see their favorite coach operators. They are very aware of how difficult the job can be and notice when the drivers have a smile and a kind word or go above and beyond with their passengers.

“They have to put up with a lot from people,” said Patricia. “And we want to make sure that they are recognized for the good they do.” She makes sure to write each coach operator’s name and good deed into the little notepad she keeps on her to make sure she remembers to commend them.

What about those drivers who might be feeling a bit grumpy one day? “Everybody has a bad day once in a while,” said Herman. “I keep a bag of lollipops on me. If I can’t get them to smile, that always does the trick!”

- Juno Kughler Carlson

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

Omnitrans CEO Milo Victoria thanks Patricia and
Herman Alderidge for their support of coach operators.

Mother and daughter coach operators

Thirteen years ago, Charline Center realized she was stuck in a dead-end secretarial job that was never going to bring in the money she needed to support her young family. When the opportunity arose, she decided to join Omnitrans as a coach operator. It felt like a perfect fit.

“I like what I do, and I’m mechanically inclined,” said Charline. “When I was younger I always wanted to drive something big and had even thought about being a truck driver for a while. I’ve also done a lot of customer service work, so I’m comfortable dealing with the public. It’s interesting now having been here so long because I can see the changes that have taken place in passenger’s lives. The kids that used to ride are all grown up now and are going to college or having children of their own.”

Four years ago, Christina was inspired to follow in her mother’s footsteps when Charline brought home an application and encouraged her to apply. She went in for the interview but unfortunately didn’t get the job. A year later, she received a call-back from the agency and this time she was accepted.

“As it turned out, the timing was perfect. I was going through some major life changes and was ready for something new,” said Christina. “My mom is my biggest supporter and she gave me a lot of advice based on her own experience. We talked about the importance of keeping a professional work attitude and holding yourself accountable for your actions. She also warned me against getting pulled into gossip or drama.”

It’s advice that Christina has taken very much to heart, and over the past three years she has received several commendations for her good work. Her goal is to one day move up into dispatch, or maybe become a supervisor.

Family means everything to both women. When she’s not working, Charline is an active board member for her 16-year-old son’s soccer team. Christina’s daughter Zoe is also a big priority. The two drivers arrange their schedules to make sure the preschooler has as much time with her mother as possible.

Working the same job has definite advantages for the two women, who frequently swap stories about their day while fixing dinner. “The rest of the family gets so jealous, saying here comes the bus talk again. It’s funny,” laughs Christina. “But we understand each other in a way no one else in the family possibly can because we work the same job. We get it.”

- 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

Bike and bus a winning combo

“Riding my bike and using the bus saves me a ridiculous amount of money in gas,” says Anthony Calles. A culinary arts student at Chaffey College in Chino, Anthony works in the dietary department at San Antonio Hospital. He would like to become a cook for the hospital and eventually go on to open his own restaurant. He hasn’t yet decided on his niche, although barbeque or grill style is among his favorites types of cuisine.

Anthony has been using Omnitrans to help him get to school and work for the past two years. He feels the combination of riding his bike and the bus gives him the best of both worlds. It means he is never stuck and has the flexibility to bike between stops. He can also take the bus for longer legs of his trip and use his bike for shorter jaunts–like grabbing food from a restaurant a few blocks away.

The biggest challenge he faces is that each bus only has two bike racks. If they’re full, he has to decide what he wants to do based on his time schedule. Sometimes it’s as simple as biking to the next stop to see if another bus has an opening. If he has the time, he might bike all the way to his destination. If he’s in a hurry, he can secure the bike for the day and hop the bus. He looks forward to the arrival of the new Omnitrans buses, which will be equipped with three-bike racks.

As a student, saving money is very important to Anthony. He is a huge fan of the Go Smart college pass program that gives him unlimited bus rides with his student ID. “During my first year riding the bus I was paying $35 for student bus fare every month. Now Chaffey students pay a $7.50 transportation fee every semester and can ride anywhere they need to go with just a student ID. It’s so worth it.”

- 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

Google Transit mobile app makes trip planning easy

Looking for bus route information while you’re on the go? Google Transit makes it easy with its free trip planner app for mobile devices. The user-friendly app can pinpoint your current location and let you know immediately which bus stops and routes are close by. In addition to Omnitrans routes, you can also view information on the Metrolink, RTA and other transit agencies.

Visit  Google Transit online for more information
Open m.google.com/maps in your phone browser to download app

Omnitrans passenger wins an Apple iPad 3

Marice woke up early one morning around 4:00 and decided to check her email. She came across her Omnitrans newsletter and read about the Ecomotive Prize Drawing we were featuring on our social networks. She clicked the link, submitted her entry and then promptly forgot about it.

“I was so surprised when I found out I had won,” laughed Marice. “I’ve never won anything in my life! It’s an amazing feeling. And it means even more to me because I got it from my bus company. We love  Omnitrans and use the bus to travel everywhere–work, school, wherever we need to go. In fact, my husband and I rode the bus to come here and pick up the prize today!”

Marice is an on-call substitute main duty aid at her children’s school, where she also volunteers. She loves reading and is especially excited over the iPad’s e-book capabilities. “What’s wonderful is now when I’m on the bus I will always have my choice of things to read. And if I don’t want to read, I can watch a movie or listen to music. I can do anything!”

Her husband is thrilled for her. “Out of all of the family members, she has always been the most technology resistant. Now she’s thinking about all the possibilities it opens up. She’s planning a trip to visit a childhood friend and is already talking about using the iPad to Skype with our kids while she’s gone.”


Congratulations, Marice. And thanks for riding Omnitrans!

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

Let them know you want GoSmart at CSUSB!

Attention CSUSB students! SAVE GO SMART for CSUSB!

The GO SMART free bus ride program ENDS JUNE 30th, 2012. If you want to see this program continue for the 2012-13 school year, please make your voice heard. Tell why this program is important to you and other students.

Contacts:
Commuter Services
909-537-7433
Email: Rideshare@csusb.edu
https://www.facebook.com/CSUSB

ASI Associated Students Inc.
909-537-5932 or 909-537-5930
Email: asi-pres@csusb.edu
https://www.facebook.com/asi.csusb