Category Archives: Bus Ridership

sbX to Complement Route 2 VA Service

The sbX station at the VA Hospital in Loma Linda will feature color seals depicting each branch of the Armed Forces on glass panels.

When construction for the Omnitrans sbX is complete and service begins in early 2014, veterans and staff traveling to the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center (VA Hospital) will benefit from a new station at Barton Road and Benton Street.

Artist rendering of the structural monument that will be located at the sbX VA Loma Linda station.

Like all 16 stations along the 15.7-mile sbX corridor, it will include public art. At the VA Hospital, the station artwork pays tribute to our armed forces by displaying the seals of each military branch. There will also be a structural monument that will have an American flag and dog tags spiraling down the flag pole.

Currently, Omnitrans serves many our veterans in the region each day by providing them with dependable and affordable public transportation. Whether commuting to work or school, going to medical appointments, or traveling to veterans’ service organizations, Omnitrans is committed to meeting veteran ridership needs – and the future sbX service will do just that.

Richard Curtis, U.S. Army (Ret.)

“To tell you the truth, I’d rather ride Omnitrans than ride a car,” said Richard Curtis, U.S. Army veteran and former Vietnam POW. “The bus drivers are always courteous and friendly. It’s pretty efficient and I can always make my appointments on time.”

The new sbX service will reduce travel time along the corridor as it will stop at one-mile intervals versus fixed route service that stops approximately every one-third of a mile. Additionally, the specialized sbX buses will have traffic priority signalization technology that allows it to
communicate

Levi Lane, U.S. Navy (Ret.), served on the USS Kitty Hawk.

with traffic management systems so that as buses approach intersections, the signal will keep the green and yellow light on longer so that it can pass through safely.

Riders like Navy veteran Levi Lane, who combine public bus transit with cycling, will also benefit from the sbX line’s interior bike racks. “I bike or take Omnitrans wherever I have to go. It’s good to have the bus to fall back on whenever you need it,” said Lane.

Robin Bose, a 17-year Omnitrans Coach Operator, was a helicopter crew chief in the U.S. Army.

There will be two interior bike racks that will accommodate four bikes apiece. In addition, the front of the sbX bus has fold-up seats to accommodate up to four wheelchairs.

Employing Our Veterans

Once construction of the sbX line is completed, it will be turned over to Omnitrans for service and operation. Omnitrans is privileged to have 90 employees who are also military veterans. Just as they served our country in a variety of ways, these veterans are deployed in a variety of roles at Omnitrans,

Diane Caldera served 29 years in the Air Force and is currently a Major in the Active Reserve. She joined Omnitrans in 2005 as a coach operator and is now an Assistant Transportation Manager.

from Coach Operator to Equipment Mechanic, Department Director and more. One employee is currently on active duty and two are on active reserve. Omnitrans is proud to employ our veterans and looks forward to providing sbX service to veterans to the VA Hospital in Loma Linda.

–David Rutherford
David.Rutherford@omnitrans.org

Richard Curtis, Vietnam Vet & Omnitrans Rider

We caught up with Richard Curtis at a bus stop in front of the VA hospital in Loma Linda. He is an Omnitrans regular on Route 2. He rides the bus to his appointments at the Loma Linda VA hospital where he also volunteers as a 2nd Floor Concierge four days a week.

The tall quiet vet talked to us about the three tours he served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam where he was shot down three times. “I was a prisoner of war for about nine months in Cambodia, before I managed to escape. The guys that held us used drugs, and while they were high I managed to gain their confidence. I listened to them talk and learned how to speak Vietnamese. They wanted to just sit out the war and not have any problems. Basically if we didn’t give them problems, they wouldn’t give us any. I guess you could say I caught them slipping and took that opportunity to escape.

There were five of us, but we had to split up when they started looking for us. Three of us walked for three days until we were picked up by the Marines. The other two are still missing in action. Afterwards I was in bad shape. I was suffering from malaria and dysentery. I weighed like 119 pounds. I spent about 4 months in recuperation then flew back to Vietnam.”

“I come to the VA now because have problems with my vision. During the war, a rocket exploded in front of my chopper and it almost popped my eyes out. I was bleeding out my eyes and my nose. But the VA Hospital here gives outstanding care, and I come here often.”

Richard paused for a moment, nodding at a couple of the vets who were disembarking from the bus, then continued.

“To tell you the truth, I’d rather ride Omnitrans than ride a car. I really would. The drivers are always courteous and friendly on this route. There’s two buses that run the route back-to-back so it’s pretty efficient and I can always make my appointments on time. Sometimes I read, sometimes I shoot the bull with the other vets that are on the bus. I like Omnitrans.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

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Email Juno Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

October Bus Ridership Highest on Record

San Bernardino, CA–People climbed aboard Omnitrans buses in record numbers during October, with over 1.5 million trips tallied. Along with surpassing the previous top ridership month mark set in October 2001, the transit agency also set a new high for a single day on October 3 with over 68,000 boardings.The month began strong, boosted by promotional efforts tied to Southern California “Rideshare Week” (October 1 -5) which happened to coincide with spiking gasoline prices in California. Boardings jumped 17.5 percent in that first week compared to 2011.  In the end October 2012 finished 9.4 percent ahead of last year.

“We offered a free ride coupon online for Rideshare Week, the same as we have done since 2009,” said Director of Marketing Wendy Williams. “But this year coupon redemption nearly tripled.”

Even after gasoline prices eased and the free ride promotion ended, passenger boardings have remained brisk.  Omnitrans weekday ridership averaged 58,928 for the month.  November seems to be keeping pace with over 65,000 passengers transported on the first day of the month.

“I believe our record ridership demonstrates that people are looking for economical and environmentally friendly transportation.  When people try Omnitrans, they find out we offer great service—on time, friendly drivers, clean buses—and then they keep riding,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager Milo Victoria.

Route and schedule information is available online at www.omnitrans.org or by phone at 1-800-966-6428.

Top Five Ridership Months

Month/Year Fixed Route Ridership
October 2012 1,547,378
October 2001 1,543,869
October 2002 1,484,943
October 2008 1,466,470
August 2001 1,440,920

October Ridership 2008-2012

Month/Year Fixed Route Ridership
October 2012 1,547,378
October 2011 1,414,348
October 2010 1,268,644
October 2009 1,315,612
October 2008 1,466,470

October begins with record ridership

October kicked off the month with record ridership numbers. Omnitrans traditionally sees a jump in ridership during Rideshare Week, the first week in October due to free ride promotions being offered. However this year’s ridership is the highest the agency has seen in the past five years.

The average for the week was 65,951. This is 17% higher than an average weekday for last October and 14% higher than average weekday ridership in September. During FY2012, Omnitrans averaged 52,162 riders per average weekday.

Here is what daily ridership looked like last week on Omnitrans Fixed Routes:

Monday, October  1st                  66,175
Tuesday, October 2nd                65,597
Wednesday, October 3rd          68,377
Thursday, October 4th              67,726
Friday, October 5th                     61,883

Wednesday was an all-time Omnitrans record high.

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 Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Public transit trial gains a new rider for Omnitrans

Being a one-car family when you have to juggle appointments, schools and job can be challenging, but ridesharing can definitely make things a bit easier. Silas Molina, an Eligibility Worker for the County of San Bernardino, lives in Mentone with his wife Anne and their four children. For the past 2 1/2 years he’s been carpooling to the office in the morning with a co-worker, and his family has been picking him up in the afternoon.

When his co-worker went out on vacation a couple of weeks ago, Silas was forced to look for an alternative means of transportation. “It was impossible for my wife to drop me off in the mornings because she had to get the kids to school. My only other option was to take the bus. So I started riding Omnitrans.”

The experience was nothing like what he had expected. “I was intimidated at first,” he admitted. “I expected tons of people and long travel times. But it worked out really well. It takes me exactly one hour to get to work every day, and the bus has always been on time. The trip is pleasant, and I can read, listen to music or even work on my computer.”

In fact, his experience has been so good that Silas has made the decision to continue to use Omnitrans for the ride home once his co-worker returns.

“My wife and I calculated the expense and realized that it cost us $6 a day just for her to pick me up from work,” Silas explained. “And it’s also more convenient for her to be able to stay home with the kids in the afternoon. The bus has been a positive experience for me, and the one-hour ride isn’t bad. I’ll generally listen to NPR or take a short nap. It’s a good way to decompress from work before going home to be with my family. And you can’t beat the savings!”

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 Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Coupon Queen loves saving through Rideshare

While having a car is sometimes more convenient, the expenses involved in gas and upkeep are often overwhelming. As a result, it’s becoming more common for people to opt for public transit over expensive vehicle repairs when their cars have problems.

LaToia Jones, an eligibility worker for the County of San Bernardino, decided to let go of her old Ford Taurus when it broke down two years ago. She’s been ridesharing ever since, relying on a combination of riding the bus and carpooling with co-workers.

“I live out near Tyler Mall in Riverside, so I use both Riverside Transit and Omnitrans to get back and forth to work,” said LaToia. “I love Omnitrans because of the frequency. It generally runs every 15-30 minutes which makes it very easy to get where I need to go quickly.”

But it’s the savings that matters most to this county worker. “Driving the 91 was always ugly during rush hour and took forever,” said LaToia. “It used to cost me $80 to $100 a week in gas when I was driving. Now I pay that in a month. It’s a huge savings.”

Pinching pennies is a passion for this busy mom of two, who is always on the lookout for a great deal. “Couponing is a hobby with me, and I’ve gotten very good at finding free things online for my family and friends. Times are hard for everyone, so every little bit helps. I love saving money!”

Riding Omnitrans has not only been a boon to her budget, it’s also forged unexpected connections with regular passengers and coach operators along her route. One of the drivers shares her love of cooking and occasionally swaps recipes with her. “I told her I’d never had tamales before so she gave me the recipe to try. Once she even surprised me with a plate of cookies she’d baked for me,” LaToia said, smiling. “Things like that mean a lot.”

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 Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Rideshare saves money and grows friendships

Omnitrans employees Scot Huffman and Mark Crosby have been ridesharing for the past 4 1/2 years. Each of them saves around $100 a month in gas and having a friend along for the ride makes the time go by quickly.

“We eat lunch together on our breaks and one day the topic of ridesharing came up in conversation,” said Scot. “At first we weren’t sure we wanted to do it. But as it turned out, we were a great fit. We live in the same city and work similar hours. We also don’t have to go out of our way to drive to each other’s homes. My grandson and Mark’s son both go to the same preschool so it’s very convenient for us to meet there. It works out well.”

Mark, who is a member of the Omnitrans Green Team, also likes the fact they are helping the environment. “We’re putting one less car on the road and taking up one less space in the parking lot. And it definitely saves us money because it’s one less tank of gas a month that each of us has to buy and less wear and tear on our vehicles.”

Sharing the daily commute has also helped cement a friendship between the two men, who are now friends first and co-workers second. They share similar hobbies and interests, have gotten to know each other’s families and have even gone camping together.

Rideshare contests offered by the IE511 each year are an added bonus. Last year Mark won a $100 Best Buy gift card in the drawing. To learn more about how you can get involved with Rideshare visit http://www.ie511.org.  Pledge to Rideshare during California Rideshare Week (October 1-5) and you’ll be entered for a chance to win great prizes like an Apple iPad, overnights at a resort hotel, dinner for two, gift cards and much more.

Omnitrans FREE Ride Coupon
Celebrate Rideshare Week with a free ride on us! Simply download and print the Free Ride coupon from our website. Turn it in to your bus driver who will exchange it for one FREE Day Pass good for unlimited rides for one day only on our fixed-route buses between October 1 and 5. Visit our website at www.omnitrans.org for more details.