Author Archives: Omnitrans

A faster way for UCR students to get to class from San Bernardino on public transit

If you’re a University of California, Riverside (UCR) Highlander commuting from the San Bernardino region, you may have an easier, faster way to get to school this quarter!

Omnitrans Freeway Express Route 215 departs toward Downtown Riverside from the San Bernardino Transit Center every 20/30 minutes on weekday mornings. You’ll arrive at the University and Lemon stop in Downtown Riverside in just 25 minutes – perfect for finishing up a last minute assignment or squeezing in some extra studying for that midterm!

Once in Downtown Riverside, connect to RTA’s new RapidLink Gold Line heading northbound, which takes you directly to the UCR campus. The new RapidLink line runs every 15 minutes Monday-Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. if you have afternoon or evening classes. Travel time to UCR from this point is 17 minutes.

You might already know that UCR students ride RTA FREE with the U-PASS program. But did you know that Omnitrans offers fare savings with 7, and 31 day passes available for students? Click here for details!

Welcome back to school, and have a great start to the new year!

Employee of the Quarter, April-June 2017

Getting passengers who face challenges and obstacles every day to trust you is no easy task. Elizabeth White has learned that her gateway to building a trusting relationship with clients is to initiate a sincere connection with a genuine smile. There is always a common bond that you have with another human being,” she says. “You have to find that link and use that to relate to somebody.”

The Omnitrans Board of Directors recently presented the Employee of the Quarter award to Elizabeth, who has “has excelled as primary Travel Training bus presenter, promoting special transportation programs and the entire Omnitrans family of services to senior citizens and people living with disabilities in a way that is easily understood and generates interest.”

This quarter, Elizabeth has been an exemplary employee, receiving numerous commendations for her success in connecting with diverse groups of people. She conveys the passion she has for empowering her Travel Training clients to ride the bus and reclaim independence in their daily lives. This has resulted in increased ridership and pass sales revenue for Omnitrans, and a fruitful manifestation of our agency’s mission to connect our community.

Employee of the Quarter Elizabeth White (second from left) with (from left) Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey, Board of Directors Vice Chair Pat Gilbreath, and CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham.

Elizabeth has been with Omnitrans for a year and three months as a member of the newly established Special Transportation Services (STS) department. Previously, she was employed by Vtrans, a defunct agency that operated special transit programs in the region.

Her experience spans far beyond this, however, with years of professional and personal understanding of her client base. “I’ve worked with people living with disabilities for over 20 years,” she reveals. “When I was in high school, I was part of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), where I was involved with the Special Olympics. I have grown up around cousins who are disabled, so it’s always been a passion of mine to help people with disabilities.”

Working with a cause that is near and dear to her heart, it is no surprise that Elizabeth has achieved positive results in her job. In her daily work, Elizabeth is able to channel her genuine desire to help people unlock their potential as lead presenter of the Travel Training bus, a program started by the Marketing department in 2012 to introduce new riders to public transit in a controlled but realistic environment.

After the group presentations on the Travel Training bus, individual trainings take place with potential new riders. “We have a waiting list of people interested in one-on-one training. I go out and do an assessment with them during which I make sure they can physically get to and from the bus stop. I also make sure that they are emotionally able to ride the bus; because it can be stressful for someone with disabilities to be inside the bus and feel as if they’re trapped.”

“I do the routing for them, I teach them how to read the bus book, how to use the Omnitrans app to do their own trip planning in the future, how to buy our passes, how to use the passes on the bus, and, once training has progressed far enough,  I make sure they can ride on their own. If they can, then that’s great and we’re finished.”

Elizabeth with fellow team members of the Special Transportation Services department.

STS clients are people who have lost or never had the freedom to self-sufficiently transport themselves. The mission for our Travel Trainers is always to empower the individual to get out and regain the power to ride public transit to school, work, or other destinations.

“I always tell people that STS’ goal is to keep people as independent as possible for as long as possible. We don’t want people to have to depend on someone else, so if they can ride the bus and get where they need to go, they regain the independence that they may have lost after an accident, when they lost their car, or whatever their situation may be.”

Although the ability to ride the bus may seem insignificant to some, it is infinitely noteworthy to others. Travel Trainers like Elizabeth are positively impacting lives every day. To their clients, learning to ride the bus or regaining that ability gives them a sense of autonomy and accomplishment, which to Elizabeth, is the most rewarding part of her job.

“[Passengers] feel so appreciative that they’ve figured out how to ride the bus because we helped them. To know that I changed someone’s life, even if just a small aspect of their lives – transportation – that is something that can open up an entire world of possibilities for someone who is disabled or a senior.”

Of late, Elizabeth has been instrumental in working with a four-complex senior housing development in Fontana. After presenting to 70 residents, they learned that Route 82 provided a one-seat ride between any of the four complexes and the Social Security Administration office in Fontana, a popular destination for them.

As a result of these presentations, seniors that participated in travel trainings have begun riding the bus and managers have invested in monthly bus passes for residents. Her work in the field has generated a new source of pass sales revenue, increased bus ridership, and an expanded network of opportunities to partner with other organizations to promote Omnitrans.

The work Elizabeth does for the STS Team and Omnitrans is valued,” says Director of Special Transportation Service Doug Stanley.  “As evidenced by the numerous commendations I receive from those she gives group bus demonstration presentations to, she is not just well thought of by the seniors and persons with disabilities we serve, but they are also appreciative of her attitude, demeanor and ability to connect. The key is to know your audience – and she does.

People who are not familiar with Omnitrans’ fixed route system do not realize how simple it can be to ride the bus to reach common destinations in our service area. It is our duty to disseminate that information and to make people aware. Then, they realize how easy it has been all along to reach their destinations via Omnitrans.

“That’s what our presentations do,” explains Elizabeth. “My goal is always to inform people and change negative perceptions that people may have about riding the bus. We want them to know that we care that their riding experience is pleasurable and that it’s a success for everyone when they ride the bus.”

Visit Buster and Old Blue at the Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion! Plus, Event Route Detours

Come hang with us this weekend in Downtown Ontario! Team Omnitrans will be back at this year’s Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion Friday-Sunday with Buster the Bus and Old Blue, our 1958 vintage GMC transit coach. Take a selfie with Buster and step inside for a throwback experience in our classic bus!

Omnitrans will be located at Euclid Ave. and B Street. The free, family-friendly event encompasses a large stretch of Downtown Ontario’s historic Euclid Avenue as the center of vintage automobiles and motorcycles, and a wide range of food and entertainment.  See you there!

EVENT DATES AND TIMES
Friday, September 15, 2017 – 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, September 17, 2017 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

BUS DETOUR INFORMATION
Detours for Routes 83 and 86 will be in effect during this event, along with several stop closures. See below for details.

Route 83
Northbound from Holt:

  • Left on Campus
  • Left on 4th
  • Right on Euclid, resume regular route

Southbound from 4th/Euclid:

  • Left on 4th
  • Right on Campus
  • Right on Holt
  • Left on Euclid, resume regular route

Route 86
Northbound from Holt/Campus:

  • Continue north on Campus
  • Right on 4th, resume regular route

Southbound from Campus/D Street:

  • Continue south on Campus, resume regular route

Omnitrans Extends sbX Service Hours

The sbX Green Line, the bus rapid transit line serving San Bernardino and Loma Linda, now begins service a little earlier in the morning, starting at 5 a.m., with extended service through 10 p.m. on weekdays!

The increased span of service makes commuting possible for those who work earlier shifts during the week, or for people who like to catch a late-night movie screening downtown.

“Longer hours on sbX help those working in the hospitality, healthcare and logistics industries,” said Omnitrans CEO P. Scott Graham. “Students taking evening classes and families wanting to take in a ball game or movie downtown will also benefit.”

Click here for updated route map, service frequency, and full schedule.

Omnitrans Connecting at Ontario International Airport Every 15 Minutes

Getting to Ontario International Airport (ONT) is about to get easier for travelers starting on Tuesday, September 5, 2017! Avoid the parking lot crowding, pricey ride hailing or car rental and get dropped off, or picked up, right at your terminal by Omnitrans’ Route 61.

When September service changes go into effect on Tuesday, Route 61 will service ONT every 15 minutes, seven days a week. Both Omnitrans bus stops are located along Terminal Way at Terminals 2 and 4, just east of the baggage claim areas. Riding the bus is convenient and cost-effective, with regular one-way fare for only $1.75.

“Ontario International Airport is a public treasure and it should be more readily accessible by public transit, particularly as we add air service and the number of passengers we serve continues to rise,” said Alan D. Wapner, Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) president and Omnitrans board member. “We are grateful to Omnitrans for increasing dependable and affordable service for air travelers, greeters and employees alike.”

Route 61 map. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Beginning at the Pomona Metrolink station, Route 61 runs through Pomona, Montclair, and Ontario, before ending at the Fontana Metrolink station (reverse for westbound.) The first bus arrives in ONT at 4:45 a.m., with the last bus departing at 10:45 p.m.

Omnitrans Route 80 also reaches ONT with hourly service seven days a week, traveling through Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga. For more details on how to ride and to plan your trip, visit www.omnitrans.org.

 

From a fun childhood hobby to a practical transportation mode

In the public transit world, we often see people combining different modes of transportation to get to their destinations – biking to the train station, walking to the bus stop, driving your car to meet your carpool group – but skateboarding and bus riding was a refreshingly different commute alternative!

As the new school year started earlier this month, we met Destiny Nunez at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. She hopped off the bus at the Chaffey Transit Center and got on her skateboard, zooming by her schoolmates as they all made their way across campus. The 21-year-old San Bernardino County native rides Omnitrans to school, where she is currently in her second year of art studies working toward a career in animation.

“Omnitrans has been my main transportation to get to school,” she shares with us. “I don’t have a car yet, but I don’t mind riding the bus. It costs much less than having a car would, and even when I do get a car, I will try to ride the bus whenever possible because it’s just better to do that for the environment due to car emissions.”

Choosing and committing to a college after high school can be a daunting task, but Destiny planned hers around transportation. Because of Omnitrans’ GoSmart program and the one-seat ride that would get her to school on Route 80, Chaffey was the obvious choice for Destiny.

“One of my questions was, ‘would I be able to get there?’ I don’t really rely on people to get me places, so when I looked at the bus route and saw that it was convenient, I thought it was great that service was provided. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to come.”

And while some young people would not be caught dead riding the bus, Destiny is laughing back at critics. “I do a lot of homework on the bus, since it’s about a 50 minute ride. It’s really quiet and easy to get work done, or even study quickly before a test on the way to school. It definitely opens up more time for productivity, and I really like that part of it, too, because school can get so busy – especially if you also have a job. I work as well, so I really try to utilize every free minute I have and riding the bus allows me to do that.”

In a world where all of our attention is funneled into our smartphones or other devices, riding the bus also provides an authentic connection to others. “There are nice people that you meet on the bus. It’s usually other schoolmates who have your same schedule, so you always see them on the bus or waiting at the bus stop. That’s really nice. I don’t think I would’ve talked to those people any other way. Everyone’s so busy that they don’t really have time to stop and chat unless you’re in the same situation. I also like chatting with people older than me on the bus because you learn a lot from them. It’s nice to have little conversations and interactions that are always uplifting,” shares Destiny.

Getting the most out of her commute is something that Destiny has mastered at this point. She has meaningful interactions on the bus, spends time catching up on homework or studying, but is also able to get some fun out of it by riding her skateboard to the bus stop, a leisure interest that she has carried into adulthood from her youth.

“I ride my skateboard from my house to the bus stop, so it gets me there faster than walking. I’ve been doing this since middle school, if not a little bit before that. I grew up around a lot of boys, and my cousin and best friend growing up got me into skateboarding because he thought it would be fun for us to do together,” she reminisces.

“We got some little, plastic skateboards and started watching all the skateboarders. We finally got real skateboards and from that point, it became an everyday thing for us. After that, we became hardcore fans, practicing tricks. It was so much fun and I still love it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing it!” she tells us before skating off for an Art Club meeting. Happy riding, Destiny!

Buses not in service on Labor Day

In observation of the Labor Day holiday, Omnitrans buses will not be in service on Monday, September 4, 2017. Our administrative offices and customer service call center will also be closed on this day. Regular office hours and bus service will resume on Tuesday, September 5.

Don’t forget that September 2017 service changes go into effect on September 5th. Plan your trips ahead of time with our Guide to September 2017 Service Changes!