Author Archives: Omnitrans

Stay cool while riding Omnitrans this summer

If you’ve spent some time in the Inland Empire, you know that the heat can be pretty unforgiving this time of year. This July is no exception, with the first heat wave of the summer about to hit, pushing temperatures into the triple digits.

It’s important to take precautionary measures in this type of weather, especially while riding public transit. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you ride Omnitrans this summer:

  • Stay hydrated – Walking to the bus stop, or even waiting at the bus stop, when it is blistering hot can dehydrate you. Be sure to drink plenty of water before you travel, and carry a water bottle with you. If connecting at the San Bernardino Transit Center, the lobby provides water refilling stations. Contrary to popular belief, iced teas or iced coffee beverages dehydrate you. Water is your best best!
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure – Shade is your friend! Direct contact with the sun will not only overheat you, it can also cause painful sunburns or heat-related illnesses. Wait for the bus under the shelter if possible, and if not, create your own shade by wearing a hat, visor, or carrying an umbrella to shield you from the rays. Applying a protective coat of sunscreen to your skin will also help you avoid sun damage.
  • Dress lightly – In more than one sense of the word, dress lightly. Light colors help block the sun’s radiation, whereas darker clothing absorbs the heat. Lightweight fabrics are also the best option when it’s scorching hot over non-breathable synthetic fabrics, so opt for comfort over style.

Additionally, take advantage of NexTrip for real-time bus arrival information or plan your trip ahead of time with our Trip Planner to reduce your wait time at the bus stop. Below are local cooling centers in the inland region that welcome you to cool down.

Bloomington
Bloomington Branch Library
Served by Route 29

Chino
Chino Senior Center
Served by Routes 81, 85, 88

Chino Hills
James S. Thalman Chino Hills Branch Library
Served by Routes 88, 365

Colton
Hutton Community Center
Served by Route 1

Luque Center
Served by Route 19

Fontana
Don Day Neighborhood Center
Served by Route 82

Heritage Neighborhood Center
Served by Route 67

Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Center
Served by Route 82

Fontana Lewis Library and Technology Center
Served by Route 14, 67, 82

Grand Terrace
Grand Terrace Branch Library
Served by Route 325

Highland
Highland Sam J. Racadio Library
Served by Route 15

Highland Senior Center
Served by Routes 3, 5

Loma Linda
Loma Linda Senior Center
Served by Route 19

Mentone
Mentone Senior Center and Library
Served by Route 8

Montclair
Montclair Senior Center
Served by Route 85

Ontario
Ontario Senior Center
Served by Route 61, 86

Westwind Community Center
Served by Route 81

Ovitt Family Community Library
Served by Route 61, 86

Redlands
Joslyn Senior Center
Served by Route 19

Redlands Community Center
Served by Route 8, 15

Rialto
Carter Branch Library
Served by Route 22

San Bernardino
Ruben Campos Community Center
Served by Route 14

Rudy C. Hernandez Community Center
Served by Routes 1, 7, 15

Norman F. Feldheym Central Library
Served by Route 2

Howard M Rowe Branch Library
Served by Route 7

Paul Villasenor Branch Library
Served by Routes 3, 14

Fifth Street Senior Center
Served by Route 14

Upland
Upland Public Library
Served by Route 83, 85

Yucaipa
Yucaipa Community Center
Served by Route 310

Omnitrans Hires Suzanne Pfeiffer as HR Director

(San Bernardino, CA)  Suzanne Pfeiffer has joined Omnitrans as Director of Human Resources, bringing over 30 years of human resources experience in both the private and public sectors.  She fills a vacancy created by Marjorie Ewing, who is retiring after 19 years at Omnitrans.

Pfeiffer most recently served as Chief Human Resources Officer at C-TRAN, the public transit agency in Vancouver, Washington.  At Omnitrans, she will oversee a department of 11 employees and is responsible for the agency’s personnel policies, recruitment and training, benefits administration, labor relations and Workers’ Compensation management.

“I’m really excited to be here and look forward to continuing my career in transit at Omnitrans,” said Pfeiffer.

Prior to working in the transit industry, Pfeiffer held HR positions at Foothill-DeAnza Community College District, Antioch Unified School District, Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, and Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund, Inc.

Pfeiffer attained an MBA with an emphasis in HR from Columbia Southern University.  She earned a BA in Business Administration and Management with an emphasis in Personnel Administration from California State University – East Bay.  Her professional certifications include PHR (Professional in Human Resources), SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional) and CBP (Certified Benefits Professional).

Pfeiffer is also an adjunct professor for the College of Online and Continuing Education at Southern New Hampshire University teaching Human Resource and Organizational Development courses.

Hide, Lock, Take: Fighting Auto Theft with Awareness

Many of our transit passengers leave their vehicles parked at one of our many Park & Ride locations before hopping on sbX or the bus to complete their trip. The Omnitrans Safety & Security team is taking action to help Omnitrans passengers avoid being victims of vehicle burglary by following three easy steps: Hide, Lock, Take.

Every two minutes, a car is broken in to in the United States, resulting in a reported 721,000 auto thefts nationwide each year. Of those thefts, over 80% had the keys left in the car. To combat this problem, Hide Lock Take (HLT) was started in 2004 with the Dallas Police Department and the Central Business District. Since then, those organizations with “Hide Lock Take” awareness have lowered vehicle crimes 40-90%.

New signs installed in Omnitrans parking lots remind passengers to practice these vehicle theft-prevention methods.

FACTS:

  • Every year there are 721,000 auto thefts nationwide.
  • It’s illegal to leave your car running unattended 80% of auto thefts occur when keys are left in the car.
  • Criminals will watch a car for days before acting.
  • Criminals look for shopping bags, electronics, & purses. Most cars can be opened in 3 minutes with a coat hanger.

TIPS:

  • Park your car in well-lit areas and nearest to street or entrance.
  • Remind yourself and others to Hide Lock Take.
  • Identify your valuable by making it with a number on it.
  • Always call security and never approach a suspicious person.

Vehicle crimes are at an all-time low but the criminals are not. The reason is you! As you become aware of your belongings and lock your cars, you prevent vehicle related crimes. Take part of the Hide Lock Take program at work, home, and everywhere else!

Omnitrans buses not in service July 4th

In honor of Independence Day, Omnitrans buses will not be in service on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. Administrative offices in Montclair and San Bernardino, as well as the customer service call center, will also be closed on this day.

Service and regular office hours will resume Thursday, July 5th. Omnitrans wishes you, your family, and friends a safe and happy holiday!

Premium Shelters Successfully Installed in East Valley

Premium bus shelter installed in San Bernardino.

The shelters are located at the eastbound and westbound Route 14 stops on 5th Street @ Medical Center Drive in San Bernardino, just outside the Omnitrans East Valley administrative building and bus yard.

Thanks to your feedback about what would enhance your Omnitrans riding experience, we are excited to unveil the first premium bus shelters! Two shelters have been successfully installed by our Stops & Stations team adjacent to the East Valley facility on 5th Street @ Medical Center Drive.

Last year, Omnitrans awarded a contract to Tolar Manufacturing of Corona, Calif. to provide premium bus shelters that enhance the passenger experience by providing additional amenities.

Premium bus shelters include solar-powered lighting, a digital clock and real-time arrival sign, bench, large trash can, branded windscreen, advertising kiosk, and a bicycle rack. The new shelters were purchased using capital funding obtained by the agency, to be specifically used on bus stop enhancements.

“The premium shelters are designed to enhance the customer’s experience at the bus stop,” says Omnitrans Development Planning Manager  Anna Jaiswal. “They are unique because unlike our standard shelters, they have electronic signage telling customers when the next bus will arrive, a larger trash can to help keep the stop clean, and a bike rack to improve bike-to-bus connections.”

Additional premium shelters will be installed at high ridership bus stops as funds become available.

Celebrate National Dump the Pump Day 2018 with Transit & Donuts!

The time has come to dump the pump, leave your car at home, and TRY TRANSIT! Join the rest of the country on Thursday, June 21, 2018 and participate in the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) 13th annual Dump the Pump Day.

The 2018 National Dump the Pump Day encourages you to ride public transportation instead of driving a car. Inspired by high gas prices in June 2006, this national day emphasizes that public transportation is a convenient travel option that also saves you money and can benefit your health and the environment.

According to the May APTA Transit Savings Report​​​, individuals in a two-person household can save an average of more than $10,134 annually by taking public transportation and downsizing to one car.

Join the Party!
Omnitrans will be at the San Bernardino Transit Center from 6:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. that day with Krispy Kreme donuts and freshly-brewed Starbucks coffee (one per rider) for all with a valid transit pass who dump the pump on that day. Passes from regional connecting transit agencies will be accepted, including RTA, Mountain Transit, VVTA, Pass Transit, and Metrolink.

Get your breakfast, spin the prize wheel for a chance to win bus passes, and hang out with Omnitrans while reducing your carbon footprint!

Try Transit! Get Your Bus Pass for Dump the Pump 2018
Paper passes are available for sale at our main office in San Bernardino, various retailers, and at the Omnitrans eStore! Or, go paperless and get a digital bus pass on your smartphone using Token Transit. Discounts are available for seniors, persons with disabilities, Medicare recipients, youth, and veterans.

The San Bernardino Transit Center is located at 599 W. Rialto Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92401.

Passenger gains new lease on life through biking and riding

From racing as a teenager growing up in San Bernardino and Highland, to riding to and from class as an adult, bicycling has been a life-long hobby for eight-year Omnitrans passenger Adrian. A fun, leisure activity has since evolved into a practical mode of transportation that has made a meaningful impact in his life, and we are pleased to have been along on his ride.

“I used to bike race when I was younger,” Adrian tells us while waiting for Route 4 at the San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC). “I stopped when I got a car and started working. At 43, I needed a career-change and I began taking courses at San Bernardino Valley College.”

“Because of the unlimited student rides with GoSmart, I started riding again regularly. When Omnitrans started allowing bikes on the bus, it made getting around so convenient. I can go anywhere that I want now without walking!”

This was not always the case. Suffering from high blood pressure, Adrian was told that living past 40 was not possible. He refused to become dependent on the drugs that regulated his heart disease, and was determined to make a change that reunited him with his passion – bikes.

“I used to weigh 260 pounds,” recounts Adrian. “I quit drinking and started to make changes toward becoming healthier. I thought, ‘Wait a minute.’ I used to love riding and racing mountain bikes. I straightened myself out and thought about what I used to do before all this mayhem,” he says.

Adrian now studies water supply technology at Valley Colleges and is interested in a career at a water plant. He is drawn to the scientific aspect of the field, the job stability, and flexibility. Riding the bus helps him complete assignments before class or squeeze in extra study time before an exam.

“Sometimes I ride the 11.5 miles from my house to Valley College, but if I need to relax, or read an article before class, I do that on the bus ride,” says Adrian. “By the time the bus arrives at the transit center, I am done and ready to ride over to class.”

Adrian takes advantage of low-cost bike maintenance at the Bike Hubitat at the SBTC. Using skills learned along the way, he now helps friends with their own bike maintenance and has become an enthusiast of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance.

“It can get very pricey to maintain bikes,” says Adrian, who enjoys giving back to the cycling community when he is not with his teenage son or working toward his educational goals. “I’ve taught myself to work on them myself. The Bicycle Hubitat here at the SBTC also helps me with bike repairs, so I don’t have to waste money on expensive tools that I’ll only use one time.”

Adopting this alternative mode of transportation definitely has contributed to the betterment of Adrian’s life. He credits biking for bringing some of his youth back into his life and keeping him active and focused. His health has improved, and he even was successfully taken off of high blood pressure medication! “I’m grateful that Omnitrans has been a part of that journey,” he says.

“Now, when drivers on the road cut me off, or yell at me to get out of the way, I always end up catching up to them at a red light and look at them through their window. The look on their faces is pretty funny, as if they are asking themselves – ‘how did he catch up to me so fast!?’” he laughs.

Fontana Days Run prompts detours on June 2, 2018

The 63rd Annual Fontana Days Run comes back Saturday, June 2, 2018. Three Omnitrans routes will be detouring around the runner’s path between 6 a.m.-11 a.m. Please plan accordingly if you travel on Routes 10, 14, or 82.

Route 10 – along Sierra Ave. between Lytle Creek and Seville Ave.
Eastbound from Orange:
Left on Nuevo
Left on Valencia
Right on Juniper
Left on Foothill
Right on Citrus
Right onto 210 Freeway (EB)
Exit Alder
Right on Alder
Left on Base Line, resume route

Westbound from Base Line:
Right on Alder onto 210 Freeway (WB)
Exit Citrus
Left on Citrus
Left on Foothill
Right on Juniper
Left on Orange, resume route

Route 14 along Sierra Ave. between Lytle Creek and Seville Ave.
Eastbound from Sierra Ave:
Right on Arrow
Left on Mango
Right on Foothill, resume route

Westbound from Foothill:
Left on Mango
Right on Arrow
Left on Sierra Ave., resume route

Route 82 along Sierra Ave. between Lytle Creek and Seville Ave.
Eastbound from Metrolink:
Straight on Nuevo
Left on Arrow
Right on Juniper
Left on Foothill
Right on Citrus
Left on Summit, resume route

Westbound, left on Beach:
Left on Curtis
Right on Citrus
Left on Foothill
Right on Juniper
Left on Orange, resume route

Discounted $1 Summer Youth Fare Returns in June and July!

Getting around town will be a little cheaper for San Bernardino Valley youth this summer, thanks to a discounted fare on Omnitrans buses! Riders 18 and under will pay just $1 per trip June 1 through July 31, compared to the regular single-ride cash rate of $1.75.

Riders have a choice of paying cash on board or paying by phone using the Token Transit mobile app. To download the free app, customers can text TOKEN to 41411.

“Using the mobile app eliminates the need to carry cash or have exact change,” said Omnitrans spokesperson Wendy Williams.  “Riders can purchase by phone in advance, then save their passes in the app wallet until they are ready to board.”

The summer discount is good on all Omnitrans bus routes including 26 local routes, three freeway express routes, five OmniGo community shuttle routes and the sbX bus rapid transit line in San Bernardino and Loma Linda.

Students who appear to be close to age 19 should be prepared to show bus drivers proof of age or a high school ID card to prove they are eligible for the discount.

To help make your summer the best one yet, we’ve compiled a list of favorite summertime destinations! Click here to view our Summer Youth Fare guide to summertime fun.

Personalized routing assistance is available by phone at 1-800-9-OMNIBUS (800-966-6428) or online using our Trip Planner. Enjoy!

Employees of the Quarter, Keith Lembach and Dan Olaru

sbX Field Supervisor Keith Lembach believes that safety is not just the Coach Operator’s job – it should be everybody’s priority. It is his commitment to passenger safety that earned him the recognition of the Omnitrans Board of Directors as our Employee of the Quarter, in partnership with Body Shop Technician Dan Olaru.

“I always ask people, ‘How many people do you want to see injured today?’ says Keith. “If the answer is more than zero, you need to go home. It’s all of our jobs to promote safety.”

Employees of the Quarter Keith Lembach (center left) and Dan Nelu (center right) are recognized by (from the left) CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham and Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey at May’s meeting.

Prior to joining Omnitrans two and a half years ago, Keith had acquired 37 years of valuable transportation experience. This includes years driving private charter buses and trucks. As a trucker, he accumulated two million accident-free miles – a remarkable feat in safe driving.

Just prior to Omnitrans, Keith served as safety manager for a transportation company. Seeking to turn around their dissatisfactory safety record, the company asked him to takeover as director of the program.

A desired change in career led Keith to Omnitrans, where he enjoys being out in our service area and interacting with our drivers and passengers. “I enjoy that every day is different. You can’t script this job. Every driver is different, every passenger is different,” he shares.

While driving sbX one day, Keith heard a loud crash near the back of the bus. Immediately, he paused the bus and noticed that a bike had slid all the way to the front of the bus from the bike holding area.

“I walked back and told the passenger that the bike had to be secured onboard. He said that it had been strapped in properly, but that the Velcro straps weren’t strong enough to hold the bike and that it fell out of the storage area,” he explains.

sbX Field Supervisor Keith Lembach begins his day at 5:30 a.m., helping to start the coaches and monitoring bus pullouts as service begins for the day. He checks for mechanical and farebox issues and helps them get resolved as service on the street is a time-sensitive matter.

Keith methodically assessed the bike straps and noticed that they were worn out and unable to hold the bike in any way. During subsequent ride checks, he noticed bikes tipping, falling, or coming completely unstrapped out of the metal racks. He saw the potential danger to passengers and to their property, and took a proactive approach to mitigating the hazard.

“Keith came into the Maintenance office in the body shop and talked to the supervisors about the trouble that he’d run into on sbX with bike racks,” says Body Shop Technician Dan Olaru.

“They asked him to come see me. From there, we walked the bus and he told me what he wanted to achieve. About a week later, I started work on a prototype, which I finished in the same day. We installed it on a bus, and about a month and a half later we were ready to create bike racks for the entire sbX fleet.”

By trial-and-error, Keith and Dan determined the exact measurements of the new sbX bike storage racks. They readjusted heights several times to ensure bikes of all sizes fit without issue. Once the final prototype was tested, no matter how fast the bus accelerated or stopped, the bikes were not going anywhere.

Dan, a 20-year employee of Omnitrans and now two-time Employee of the Quarter, methodically employed his creativity and self-taught skill to design, build, weld, and install a new solution to better serve our bike-riding passengers. He used existing parts from the old bike racks and implemented them into the design of our new, unique bike racks, minimizing the cost of the project.

Dan works to repair minor damage caused to a panel on the rear side of the bus. After sanding the area, he will fill the dents and scrapes, smooth them, and prime the panel before adding a fresh coat of paint.

“In 1989, I was approved for a visa to move to the United States from Romania which was under communist rule,” reveals Dan. “When I arrived, I worked for an asphalt company and then was hired at Omnitrans in 1997. I knew a little bit about body work from doing that on the side, but this is where my skills got much better.”

Now one of two body shop employees, Dan recalls a time in which there were six workers in the body shop. “Whenever we had a little downtime, I used to practice,” he recalls. “I learned a lot of what I know over the years by observing others and asking the right questions.”

“Dan’s ability to install the new racks with minimal changes to the bus is a work of art,” says Maintenance Supervisor Keith Hunt. “Each time, Dan goes above and beyond what was asked of him. We truly appreciate his work ethic and can-do attitude!”

“It’s a different thing to take on every day – challenging things,” says Dan. “But I like that. The challenges are why I am where I am in my career today. I like to see things that I’ve created with my own hands be implemented and approved of by the people around me and by our passengers.”