Author Archives: Omnitrans

Classical musicians play the San Bernardino Transit Center

Every day, an average of 5,000 passengers come through the San Bernardino Transit Center as they travel to work, home, health care appointments, and other destinations throughout the region. On Wednesday, February 22nd, however, customers were in for a special treat as the transit and classical music worlds collided for a special afternoon.

San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Ana Maria Maldonado and violinist Laura Rosky-Santori brought a taste of the arts and local culture to the transit center for two hours as they performed for riders, staff, and passers-by as part of the Fine Arts Lunch program.

“This was made possible through a two-year grant from the James Irvine Foundation,” says Anne L. Viricel, executive director of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra. “The grant seeks to test whether public perception of San Bernardino may improve through its fine arts community.”

Through the following months, musicians will conduct intimate public performances such as this at least three times each month in well-traveled areas around the city. 

Ana, who began playing the cello in the sixth grade, has been a performer in San Bernardino since 1980 after relocating to Southern California to attend graduate school at USC. She decided to make this home and now teaches at cello lessons and music theory classes at different universities including Cal State San Bernardino and Chaffey College.

“The symphony here has really fine players and Southern California is a really good place for classical musicians. We’re so glad we got this grant, so that we could get out and perform for the community,” says Ana.

Mary, an Omnitrans rider, was pleasantly surprised to arrive at the transit center to the live performance. “I’m a classical music devotee, so this is a real treat,” she enthused.

For Santiago, another Omnitrans passenger, the soothing sounds of the cello and violin took him back to a pleasant moment in his childhood. “It brings back memories of my uncle who used to play music for me and my family when I was six or seven years old,” he said. “This is beautiful.”

A sizeable crowd gathered over the two-hour period, with transit regulars and local community members stopping by during their lunch hour to enjoy the talents of our local artists. Omnitrans had a promotional booth with information and giveaways, much to the attendees’ delight.

“Omnitrans is always happy to partner with wonderful organizations like the San Bernardino Symphony to bring positive experiences to our community. Our goal has always been for the SBTC to be a true community space, so this event was a great fit,” explains Omnitrans Marketing Manager Nicole Ramos.

Tips for riding on a rainy day

Heavy rains are expected throughout Southern California this weekend. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when riding Omnitrans on rainy days. Safe travels!

  • Don’t forget your umbrella. It’s been a wet winter in Southern California, so hopefully you already have yours readily available. Staying dry is key! Look around at all times to make sure you haven’t left it behind at a bus stop, or inside the bus.
  • Stay visible. Make sure that motorists and other pedestrians are able to see you while you are walking to, from, or waiting at the bus stop. Wear warm, bright clothing so that you are clearly seen in the cloudy weather.
  • Plan ahead. Because of road conditions during inclement weather, the bus may be running behind schedule. Follow us on Twitter @Omnitrans for any reported detours and download the official Omnitrans app (available on Google Play and iTunes) for real-time NexTrip bus arrivals info.

Employee of the Quarter, October-December 2016

Director of Operations Diane Caldera, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Christina Diaz, Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham, and Board of Directors Chair Sam Spagnolo.

When asked to attend the Omnitrans Board of Directors meeting in February to be officially recognized as the Employee of the Quarter, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Christina Diaz was appreciative and humbled, but a little apprehensive.

“I don’t like all the attention,” a modest Christina reveals. “I just want to come to work and do the best job that I can. That’s how I like to prove myself.”

Christina’s passion for the work that she does led her to this achievement. She does not seek pomp and circumstance, or praise. She would rather let her strong work ethic speak for itself – and it has.

When she’s not leading a new class of coach operators through their five-week training period, Christina is working on tasks to improve our fleet safety. She currently also sits on the Accident Tracking and Prevention Committee and is an alternate representative on the Accident Incident Review Committee.

Over the last quarter, Christina has: become the first in the Training department to complete the Leadership Action Plan program, the University of the Pacific Transit Management certification, and developed an employee proficiency form that has improved the Operations department’s CHP and DMV audits of over 400 coach operators. She has also volunteered to attend the DMV Employee Testing Program (ETP) examiner course in Sacramento later this year. Gaining this certification saves the agency money and resources by having an ETP examiner on-site to administer the tests for coach operator commercial driver licenses.  

As involved as she is within her department, Christina’s enjoyment comes from interacting with new coach operator students in the training room.

“I get to be a mentor as well as a coach,” Christina smiles. “This is what I tell students when they come through the door: ‘I don’t teach you how to drive, you already know how to drive. I am just going to add to what you already know.”

Christina’s approach to training is not to simply teach from a manual, but to pass on knowledge that she has gained through experience, and share it with future drivers to enrich their own job performance. This is what makes her look forward to another day at the office.

“I enjoy interacting with our trainees and being exposed to different types of personalities. It helps me learn to work with different individuals. The agency relies on me to execute what needs to be done, and if I can contribute to that greater goal of the agency by instructing new drivers, then I am happy,” she tells us.

Fleet Safety and Training team at the 2016 Omnitrans Bus Roadeo: (left to right) Charles Molloy, Christina Diaz, Norma Zamora, Don Frazier, Kim Perkins, and Steve Sisneros.

Before joining Omnitrans in 2013, Christina had been a driver at other transit agencies. When the time came for a change, she found an opportunity in Training that was suitable to her skills and experience. She describes this as the agency “taking a chance” on her without knowing her, for which she is grateful.

In her three and a half years with the agency, her proudest moment is having been an integral part of the sbX launch in 2014. “I was here since its inception,” Christina says proudly. “Even though I was new here, I got to be involved in the process from the beginning, learning how to drive the 60-foot articulated buses, and passing that on to operators who had not driven them before,” Christina shares. “That was a milestone – to launch the region’s first bus rapid transit line – and I got to be a part of it. I made history with the agency!”

Christina’s mindset is that fostering mutually beneficial relationships with coach operators is crucial. “Someone once told me that if you have a know-it-all attitude, and you believe there is nothing else that anybody can teach you, you’re in trouble. There is a lot to learn, always.”

She continues, “I am always asking a lot of questions! We are all part of one agency, and the more that you’re aware and knowledgeable of other departments and facets of the agency, the better that you can do your job. Knowing more allows you to understand the broader picture of what we do for our public.”

Christina’s pride and dedication are not lost on anybody, especially her supervisor, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Don Frazier. “Christina has been a true leader in the Training department. She has volunteered for tasks continuously and has worked many days off to make sure that tasks are covered,” says Don. “Christina has definitely proven to be not only an excellent instructor, but an overall great employee to the agency.”

Moving forward, Christina wants to continue to exceed expectations. “My goal is to continue to fulfill the needs of the agency and to meet the demands to the best of my ability. I also want to continue to grow and learn as much as I can.”

“I take such pride in this job, which is something that I haven’t always done before. I didn’t always care about my uniforms looking neat and pressed,” she laughs. “But now at Omnitrans, I go as far as taking them to the cleaners, because that’s how proud I am to be here.”

Bus detours in Chino on Saturday, February 4

Due to the Russ Miller Memorial 5K Run and Community Walk in Chino on Saturday, February 4, 2017, four Omnitrans routes will temporarily detour from 6:00 a.m. until approximately 12:00 p.m.

The affected routes and changes are:

Southbound Route 81

  • Continue straight past Central
  • Left on Third
  • Left on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Southbound Route 83

  • From Central and Edison
  • Left on Edison
  • Right on Monte Vista
  • Right on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Southbound Route 84

  • From Mountain and Riverside
  • Right on Riverside
  • Left on Third
  • Left on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Southbound Route 85

  • From Central and Riverside
  • Right on Riverside
  • Left on Third
  • Left on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Southbound Route 88

  • From Riverside
  • Right on Third
  • Left on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Omnitrans Introduces “Don’t Touch the Driver” Safety Campaign

In partnership with WeTip, Inc., Omnitrans is introducing a new safety information campaign, “Don’t Touch the Driver,” on its buses and at transit centers to remind the community that any violence against bus drivers may be a felony offense.

“Driver assaults are infrequent at Omnitrans. Unfortunately they are trending upward. In partnership with WeTip are taking a proactive role to protect our employees and customers,” said Omnitrans Security & Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Mark Crosby.

Campaign materials feature a simple graphic and the information that any assault against a bus driver may result in arrest and prosecution. Anyone who has information that leads to the arrest and conviction of someone responsible for such an incident is eligible to receive a WeTip reward of up to $1,000.

WeTip, Inc. offers an anonymous nationwide crime reporting hotline, 1-800-78-CRIME (1-800-78-27463). Operators are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to take information on crime, including any related to public transit. Calls are completely anonymous.  Tips may also be submitted online at www.wetip.com.

“Don’t Touch the Driver” decals are being placed in each Omnitrans bus, and signage also will appear at transit centers and on the agency website.

Onboard Customer Satisfaction Survey Is Here!

Share your opinion and help us better serve you! Passengers aboard our local Omnitrans routes, sbX, and Access now have the opportunity to provide feed back about our service. A customer survey is being conducted by Redhill Group Inc. now through the end of February. As an incentive, Omnitrans riders are being entered into a $500 cash drawing upon participation in the onboard survey.

If you are approached by a friendly survey staffer, feel free to answer a few questions for them. A translated survey is also available for our Spanish-speaking passengers to express their opinions. The results of this survey will be utilized in a broader study that will help us learn what we’re doing well and in what areas we have opportunities to refine our service. The feedback gathered will help us make enhancements to the Omnitrans experience, which will improve how we serve our community!

John S. and Paul O. of Redhill Group, the team surveying our onboard passengers.

Purchase Your Omnitrans Commemorative Toy Bus!

Due to popular demand, we are now selling commemorative Omnitrans toy buses while supplies last! The buses were created to celebrate our 40th Anniversary and are custom designed to replicate our newer bus model. The plastic buses are 9” long and can be used as a toy or displayed in your home or office desk as a collector’s item.

This hot commodity is going fast! To obtain yours today, please visit our Omnitrans Store online, or purchase them in person for $10 at the San Bernardino Transit Center or our administrative office main lobby located at 1700 W. 5th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92411.